Alright. I thought I could just keep it to myself, but my conscience is getting the better of me. I had this really great post prepared about all the reasons to protest Black Friday, chock full of revealing truths about fast fashion and progressive obsolescence and the host of reasons for supporting their alternatives. (Because there really are so many good reasons.)
But…then there was an unexpected death in the the family, and I found myself in Dallas among four of my 17-22 year old female cousins (you see where this is going?), my eldest daughter, my sister, my aunt and my mom. Every single one of them is amazing, fun-loving and beautiful, and not a one of them is a stranger to shopping.
Here’s the thing. If the store that one of them works at didn’t happen to be Anthropologie, and Anthropologie didn’t happen to be one of the only stores I actually care for, and they didn’t happen to be having a 50%-off-all-sale-items sale from, ahem…6 to 11 am, this story would never have been told. It certainly didn’t help that my dad of all people — who knows very well that I’m not the Black Friday type — encouraged me, “I think you really oughta go. What a better way to get to know the natives? Think of it as your duty. And besides, you can blog about it.”
So, I went — as a case study. Honest to goodness, it was anthropological research. (Lucky pun.)
Now, you have to understand — there was a time when I was downright consumed by my self-imposed and inflexible set of values. When the anger that welled up inside me over the Styrofoam plates at a family reunion would have prevented me from engaging with the fam at all. I’d sooner go hungry before I’d succumb to their weak and ignorant ways. (I have no idea where my 16-year-old gets it.)
But I’m not there anymore. I am still dedicated to a less-consumptive lifestyle, I buy most everything we need second-hand and I support local alternatives when they’re available. Sometimes I even remember to bring my own plates to a potluck. But if I hadn’t developed the ability to see the greater good amidst the imperfections in life, I would have lost my shit a long time ago. SO, I bent my rule, dressed in the dark and headed to the mall with my giddy and girly kinfolk — every one of us armed and ready with our Starbucks drink of choice.
Do I regret it? The compromising of my values? Not for the memories. Not for a minute. I will never forget dorking out in the dressing room with the cousins whose diapers I once changed, or laughing with my nearly-grown daughter at half-panicked shoppers afraid to miss the best deals. I quite enjoyed admiring my mom and my aunt who look so much alike while we stood in the 20-shopper-long checkout line. I kind of needed that time with my sister, despite the crap she gave me for my rusty, granny-slow driving (at 6 am) and my utter worthlessness when it comes to operating an iphone. The laughter alone made the whole experience worth it. “What, they don’t celebrate Black Friday in Mexico?” someone asked (not mentioning any names). Not just “participate,” mind you, but “celebrate.” Nope, they sure don’t.
I know, I’m stalling. You want to know what I bought.
I did pretty stinking good, all things considered. I thought long and hard about whether I needed another apron…and put it back (even at $12). I fondled that cute little linen coin purse for almost two minutes before deciding to make my own. But I won’t lie. I did come away with a few choice items. Among them, a high-wasted pair of thick mustard-brown corduroys for 15 bucks (it is cold here and they were originally $115) and a half-dozen gorgeous recycled note cards. (Multiple species of birds roosting on a record player suitcase? Are you kidding?)
Best of all, I bought three full and glorious wooden spools of velvet ribbon. Aren’t they lovely? The spools I can use over and over again – nothing obsolescent about sturdy wooden spools. And the ribbon? Perfect, perfect, perfect (justified, justified, justified) for the girls’ Christmas presents, already underway.
As for my anthropological observations, I think I’ll tie them into tomorrow’s post. The fire’s cozy, I’m all out of excuses and I have a project or two calling my name.