It’s Black Friday – I Slept In!

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The following post is by MPFJ staff writer Travis. Travis is a customer blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services, and also appears weekly at Enemy of Debt.  Travis candidly shares his personal journey to pay off $109,000 of credit card debt and the tips he’s learned along the way. As a father and husband, he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family.
My watch said 10:30pm as my brother-in-law and I took our place at the end of a short but growing line outside a national electronics retail store on Thanksgiving evening in 2005. My computer was in desperate need of replacing, and the store had a laptop as one of it’s Black Friday door busters.  On that chilly November evening, we stood in line overnight, and were both rewarded with one of the 30 laptops they had on hand for the sale. 

As I made my way to the check out lanes, I saw a Nintendo Gameboy display.  My son loves video games, so I tucked one under my arm.  It took us another ninety minutes to get through the checkout, and when it was all over I was so exhausted that I felt like death warmed over for days.

Although we used the computer for a few years, it lacked the features I really wanted, and the Gameboy barely got played.

The following year, I was ready to take my Black Friday shopping to a new level.  Together with friends, we spent Thanksgiving afternoon scouring the ads, compiling a list of stores we wanted to get to, what items were at each store, and what time each store opened.  Finally, we created a shopping schedule, sometimes breaking up into teams when there were multiple stores opening at the same time.
My wife and I wanted to get digital cameras for the kids, and one of the department stores had them as a door buster.  Rushing through the isles looking for the cameras, I ran across the Barbie Dream House.  I remembered our daughter had mentioned it once or twice, so I threw one into the cart.  While waiting in the slowest moving check out lane ever, I saw a chair massager that I decided my wife had to have.
The Barbie Dream House turned out to be not so dreamy, and the chair massager spent most of it’s time massaging a shelf in our storage room.

The retail success of Black Friday is built upon impulse buying.  A shopper may come into a store for a specific item, but purchases additional things because the perception is that every item on sale on Black Friday is a “must buy.” 
For a person with a history of abusing credit like myself, shopping on Black Friday is just not a good idea.

Since we enrolled in our Debt Management Program, we’ve become much more selective about what we buy as Christmas gifts.  Looking back at our Black Friday purchases, we couldn’t think of a single one that we have been 100% satisfied with.  We also can’t afford to make impulse purchases that seem like a good idea at the time.
Too many foot massagers and dream houses have ended up on garage sale tables.

I’d rather spend my time researching gifts that my family really want, making educated purchases getting the best price I can from the comfort of my home office chair.  Not rushing through a store with hundreds of other sleep deprived shoppers at 4am.  When it comes to Black Friday  I decided to take the advice I’ve heard many times when it comes to preventing impulse buying.  I slept on it.
Or more correctly, I slept through it. 

How about you all? Did you go shopping on Black Friday this year?  Have you ever bought something on Black Friday that you regret?

    ***Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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