People have camped out in front of stores since when?!

I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  For many people this traditionally a time of year for spending time with friends and family, and for being thankful for the blessings in your life.  I hope that was how it was for you!

Thanksgiving also acts as the de facto start of the holiday shopping season:  Black Friday.  Early store openings, leaked ads, door-busting deals, retailers competing tooth and nail with one another for consumers’ scarce holiday dollars, and consumers competing with one another — sometimes violently — to rid themselves of their holiday dollars.

I’m not going to be hitting any in-store sales on Black Friday.  Crowds and lines are too much for me.  The night before Christmas — which I’ve done before in a panic — is bad enough.

For some, though, Black Friday is quite the elaborate event.  People have begun to line up at the doors of key stores like Best Buy days in advance of Black Friday to secure their place at the front of the line for the great deals.  Tents popped up and grills were fired up as early as last Thursday (maybe even earlier) this year.  Some even make good friendships with their line buddies.

How much is your time worth?
Nelly Gutierrez, a woman in Florida, is being paid to stand in line for someone else wanting some Black Friday deals.  She does it because “times are tough for her right now.”  (I think this is great, because work is work.  Good on her.)

Jason Tutt, a person also from Florida who works from home, has been an early-liner for years.  He knows what he’s looking for, knows how much he expects to save, knows that he will use the items he’s buying, and generally seems to enjoy the time he spends.

These two people — and no doubt many others — have already count the cost of their time, and have made the judgment that it’s worth it.  I’ve written about this before:

Retailers can’t buy the kind of publicity generated by pictures and videos of people standing in line outside their doors for days.  Stores are all for consumers doing this.  “Start a week earlier next year.”

If stores won’t discourage this practice, then it’s at least up to us as consumers to think carefully about how we’re spending our time.

If the time is wasted without a second thought, then the Black Friday deals were no bargain at all.

John Wedding

Husband. Father. Web publisher. Musician. John has blogged at Mighty Bargain Hunter since 2005, helping people to recognize the good deals in life.

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  1. I completely agree. I can’t believe people started camping out so early, and I wasn’t pleased to see that Black Friday deals have now become Thanksgiving deals. This year they started at 8 p.m.; what time will they start on Thanksgiving next year?

    I used to love the holidays, but the commercialism and push to put out the Christmas displays in late August, which happened at Costco this year, have really dampened my enthusiasm for the holidays.

  2. I love the woman who is getting paid to stand in line! I think that is the ONLY way I’d ever go shopping on Black Friday. I won’t even venture to the grocery store on that day. My mom and I did make it out for Small Business Saturday – I was bound and determined to get my $25 credit from American Express!!!

    • John Wedding says:

      @Elizabeth: The article didn’t say how long she stood in line, but if it was just for an evening, that’s not bad money at all.

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