The Mighty Logo

The Reality of Why I Do Not Shop on Black Friday

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Every Thanksgiving I awaken with a huge grin on my face because I know somewhere outside in my driveway is the large roll of Black Friday ads.

I love looking at them. I dive in each year looking at items I would love to receive for the holidays, noting a few to put on my list for this year and storing other items in the back of my mind for my winter birthday. I find good deals I think my family members would like. I even have a distinct order in which I look at my Black Friday circulars, starting with my least favorite stores and ending with Target. I would be an expert shopper if…

… if I actually shopped on Black Friday (or Thanksgiving for that matter, with how the retail market has been the last few years). But I do not.

I went once with my mother when I was fifteen and found it overwhelming then. More than two decades later, I refuse to do it now. Why?

My mental health is worth way more than any bargain.

You see, I do not step out into these sales because of my anxiety. Weekly grocery shopping gives me anxiety attacks. The bright lights, loud noise and people are just too much.

Going out on Black Friday would be sensory overload. People waiting in line for that “I just got to have it!” deal, willing to plow through anyone that gets in there way. The attitude of “I had it first!” while playing tug-of-war with an another irate person over an item.

No, I just can’t go through that. It isn’t just the fear of being trampled on that occurs in several locations or being attacked. People get mean and manners fly out the window.

I think Black Friday brings out the worst in people. If I can’t get through a shopping excursion during any other time of year, I definitely cannot handle Black Friday.

But the circulars are so tempting. Deals on technology, clothing, toys. Marketing at its best. Which retailer will win the title of first to be open this Black Friday? (It was Big Lots in my area, which opened at 7 a.m. Thanksgiving Day).

But I do not have to ruin my mental health for this modern American-born “holiday,” not with the creation of Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday, another modern American-born “holiday,” where I get the same deals and save myself several anxiety attacks by just sitting at my computer alone in silence. A day similar to Black Friday that does not actually start the Monday after Thanksgiving but on Thanksgiving itself. It is someone with anxiety’s dream.

Not to say I never make it out to a store because I do, but I do it for another modern American-born “holiday” — Small Business Saturday. With this day I get to support local businesses without the loud noises and large crowds. It may cost me a little more, but my sanity is worth it.

I sat this morning, pouring through ad after ad for Black Friday. For some of them, I didn’t understand why people lined up the day before — the deals just didn’t look that good. Driving to my Thanksgiving lunch today we passed Best Buy and there were already at least twenty people out there waiting in line in 30 degree weather. It was only 11:30 a.m.

I know there is a thrill associated with it, but I have to admit, I even found the circulars overwhelming and had to stop and take a break.

It is for this reason you will never see me in a major retail store on Black Friday. I just can’t do it. I won’t do it.

I will not sacrifice my mental health for a not-so-great deal.

I will not support ruining a holiday, Thanksgiving — that stands for being grateful — on the latest gadget “I must have.”

Instead, I will sit at my laptop with the Black Friday ads and do my shopping here, in my house. Here is where I am grateful for the internet in creating the ability to do this, in addition to my family, my therapist and my medications, all of which keep me stable.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Getty Images photo via Sylverarts

Originally published: November 24, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home