Shelley Widhalm

Black Friday Angst

In Being Thankful, Black Friday, Shelley Widhalm, Wanting Stuff on November 27, 2011 at 7:00 am

As I looked through the Black Friday ads on Thanksgiving Day, I got caught up in wanting the things I don’t have.

Though I have a list, I keep it in the back of my mind as the things I really don’t need – until yesterday. I admired the piles of stuff – a diamond dachshund pin, glittery jewelry, cute jackets and clothes, clothes and clothes – as I flipped through magazine-sized ads glorifying the merchandise, singing the ooh, la, la, hmm, oh song of coveting.

I want a new TV set, because the DVD player in mine sounds like a tractor when I hit play.

I want an iPhone because everyone else has one.

I want new clothes because I’m bored with mine – I haven’t bought much in the past few years in my effort to budget on a journalist’s income.

I want more shoes – need you ask.

And I want this little black dress that I know won’t fit me – I had seen it on a clearance rack, but it was a size small and I’m five-eleven.

Wanting things is not the point of Thanksgiving.

Being thankful is, obviously.

At the dinner table, we did the round robin of listing our thanks. I mentioned the fact that I have a job, my love of writing, my dog, my family and friends, and a couple of coffee shops that I frequent – yes, I’m addicted to caffeine.

As soon as I started flipping through the ads, I forgot about being thankful. I got caught up in the consumerism of wanting this and desiring that. I didn’t bother with a bargain hunter’s list of what I would buy for Christmas gifts and maybe for myself, given that I always find the perfect gift for me when I’m shopping for others. As a guilt-escaping excuse, I say, “Who knows me better than me?”

I didn’t plan on going Black Friday shopping because I had to write a story about the shopping frenzy, which in my area, seemed slower than when I went out two years ago. The parking lots weren’t as full, and I had to work harder to find shoppers with cartfuls or armfuls of purchases for possible interviews.

As I worked, I let a rude store manager who I tried to interview get to me. I thought, how dare she insult me when she’s some 20-something, inexperienced person who doesn’t know about basic customer service (except I approached her as a media representative).

I got in a sour mood even though Black Friday kicks off my holidays – I love Christmas because, frankly, it’s better than the dreary winter of January. There’s supposedly all this cheer and people being slightly kinder.

Supposedly.

Basically, I got off track by thinking of what I wanted when I should have thought about the fact that I do have things to be thankful for. And one of them is that I can talk myself out of bad mood. And needing a TV. Mine still works, as does my phone.

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