The Etiquette of Giving and Receiving Gifts.

The holidays are fast approaching. For some of us it’s already here or has come and gone (Lookin’ at you, my Jewish friends– Happy Hanukkah!), bringing joy and comfort and yes, a whole metric fuckton of stress. Because while the day of Christmas and the week of Hanukkah are fairly stress-free (unless, of course, you’re entertaining a boatload of in-laws, in which case I’m sorry), the weeks leading up to it can be a big ball of hardship. You’ve got to spend heaps of money, you’ve got to go into millions of stores or browse websites for hours just to find the right gifts for the right people, and sometimes this turns into a whirlwind of panic and despair. Usually it ends up just fine. But the act of giving gifts — and sometimes receiving them — can often feel like a burden rather than a pleasant experience.

I happen to like giving gifts. I like finding them, browsing around to find the perfect present for friends and family members. Other people find it a lot more difficult — and I get it. I really do. But for me, it’s the first step of gift-giving that always causes me the most anxiety. That’s the part when you decide who exactly you ought to be getting things for in the first place. On the surface, it’s pretty obvious: sister, check. parents, check. But then you get outside of the immediate family, and that’s where you get stuck. Should you get something for all of your friends? Or just the ones you’ve known for ages? Should you get little things for some friends, and big things for others? But how do you decide who gets what? Is there some sort of rating scale, or a Quizilla quiz you can take to tell you which friends deserve better, bigger gifts than others? Or do you not get anything for anybody — make it even?

This is a question that plagues me practically every Christmas. With some friends it’s easy. If you’ve been exchanging presents every Christmas for the past four years, chances are you’re probably going to continue the tradition. Conversely if you’ve got a friend who you’ve never exchanged gifts with, it’s a good bet that things aren’t changing. But what about new friends? Or friends who between this Christmas and last Christmas upgraded from “friendly acquaintance” to “person I hang out with constantly?” That’s when things get a little tricky. If you don’t have a large group of friends and instead tend to chill with many people from a variety of different groups, you can’t do the secret santa cop-out, and if you do have a large group, it’s difficult to get a gift for one person and not for another. How can you justify spending twenty bucks on one girl and zero on another? It’s just not in good taste. Plus with a big group it’s always hard. What if you weren’t planning on getting gifts for anyone and then you see the perfect thing for one of your friends? Can you justify buying it for that person and then have nothing for your other friends? Not really. But then it’s hard to pass up such an awesome opportunity, so that means you’ve either got to suck it up and get something for everyone, or you’ve got to let the best present ever slip through your fingers.

And then, probably worst of all, you’ve got to deal with the obvious conundrum. If you get your friend a present, and she gets you nothing, you’ll feel bad because you got nothing, and she’ll feel guilty for not getting you anything — which is not the kind of warm, fuzzy feeling that you’re lead to believe gift-giving will induce. If this friend gets you something and you don’t know about it and therefore haven’t returned the favour, same thing. But then do you get little somethings just in the event that she might get you something? Or do you just cross your fingers, get nothing, and hope she’s on the same page? It’s stressful and pretty much there’s no right answer except flat-out asking if you’re exchanging gifts, which a lot of people don’t really prefer to do since gift-giving has this shocking implication that it’s supposed to be about the spirit of generosity blah blah blah and if you make it sound like you’re only going to buy shit for someone who also buys you shit, that is selfish and makes you a bad person.

But once you overcome that first obstacle, you’ve got to actually find gifts for these people. For some it’s easier than others. I happen to have a knack for finding good gifts. Sometimes it’ll take me a lot of time to find the right gift, and for some people it’s not always perfect, but I like to think that my gifts are thoughtful and at least show that I care about the person and that I pay attention to what they like and what they want. People who say gift-giving is hard — well, yeah, sure it is. But it’s not that hard. I mean it’d be difficult if you were buying for your great aunt who you’ve only met once and you’re pretty sure she hates everything and is allergic to twenty thousand things, but how hard is it to get something for your girlfriend or your best mate or your brother? All you need to do is examine the kinds of stuff they have in their room, think about all the stuff they’ve told you they liked over the past year or so, maybe even stalk ’em a little on Facebook if you’re not a hundred percent sure. All it takes to give a good — if not amazing — gift is a little dedication, a little perseverance, and a bit of creativity, which as human beings we should all have in spades. If you know your brother’s three favourite things are coffee, Star Wars, and board games, you could get him a mug shaped like Darth Vader’s helmet, or Star Wars Monopoly, or playing cards with Star Wars characters on them. You could get him any merchandise relating to the films. It might not be the craziest present in the world, but at least it’s something that shows you know him a little bit, and although it sounds really cliché, it really is the thought that counts when it comes to giving presents.

So this is why it blows my mind when people end up just giving cash or gift cards or other generic gifts for people for Christmas. Like, dude. You can come up with something more imaginative for your girlfriend than a gift certificate to iTunes. I’m okay with gift cards if they’re for something specific, or cash if it’s for a good reason (for example, this year I expect more money than actual gifts because I’m far from home and everyone wants to contribute to the “Let’s Help Kendra Travel” fund). If you know your sister is totally obsessed with AllSaints Spitalfield, and you know it’s a pricey place to shop, then yeah, a gift card is great. Especially because buying actual clothes for people is a tricky, tricky business. But to me, a gift card to a generic place like Amazon or iTunes or Barnes & Noble says one of the following: you don’t know them well, or you do and you just didn’t put much thought into what you were going to give them.

I don’t think gift cards are a bad addition to gifts. Like sure, slap a Starbucks gift card onto a gift of a travel mug. But as a whole gift? Nuh-uh. The only people who can get away with that are older relatives who have no idea what young people like these days, let alone what their grandchildren like these days.  And come on — you’ve got to know something about the person you’re getting the gift for. Although I could be wrong. The other day at work a guy came in looking for something for his girlfriend and our conversation went a little bit like this:

Me: Hi there! Looking for gifts?

Customer: Yes, for my girlfriend.

Me: Neat! Has she shopped here before? If so, what does she like to use?

Customer: I don’t know.

Me: What kind of scents is she into? Maybe that’ll help.

Customer: I don’t know.

Me: Okay … what colours does she like a lot?

Customer: I don’t know.

Me: Let’s try something else. Can you describe her to me in a few words? What’s she like?

You can guess what his response was. Do you want to be like this dude? A dude who can’t describe anything his girlfriend likes or does not like, or even what she looks like? DO YOU WANT TO BE THIS GUY? Because if you give your girlfriend an Amazon gift certificate for fifty bucks, I am pretty sure you will be this guy.

But there’s another side to the gift exchange that people rarely think about, and that’s the etiquette of receiving gifts. I’m not talking about writing thank you notes or any of that shit. Because, yeah, thank you notes (or phone calls or emails) are important, especially if you’re thanking someone who sent you a gift and therefore wasn’t around to see your reaction in person.  But the kind of etiquette I mean is the kind where you have just been given a gift and you are supposed to react politely and enthusiastically. I do understand that not every present is one that you’ve been dying for all your life — but the thing is that the person you’re getting a gift from has thought long and hard about what to get you, and even if it wasn’t the exactly perfect gift — remember, it really is the thought that counts.

If it’s not the present you were expecting or hoping for, it’s okay not to jump up and down with joy, give the giver a great big bear hug and parade your gift around for the world to see. But you should at least show some appreciation rather than making the giver feel like complete and utter crap. Because chances are that person spent a lot of time and effort trying to get you something they thought you’d truly enjoy, and they didn’t have to. They weren’t obligated to get you much of anything, frankly, because nobody is really obligated to give anyone gifts for Christmas except their immediate family members.  And yet some people think they’re not only entitled to receiving gifts, but they’re entitled to be selective about what gifts they actually get. And hey, if you wanted exactly what you asked for, maybe you should stop relying on gifts and go the fuck out and buy shit yourself.

Let me tell you a story of The Worst Gift Exchange Ever. I decided to get a gift for a friend one Christmas, and thought long and hard about what I would get. I considered a variety of different options — books, knickknacks, clothes, DVDs — but eventually decided that I wasn’t comfortable getting her things like that because she had so many and I knew that there were a few things she desperately needed, but that someone else was getting them for her. So I decided to give her a fake gift card, allowing me to take her to her favourite place and buying anything she wanted from there. Carte blanche. No limit.  Now, if someone took me to my favourite restaurant or store and allowed me to get anything I wanted, I’d be totally stoked. And I thought my friend would be too, considering how much she always complained about not having any money and never being able to afford what she wanted to get. “Well,” I thought. “I am a genius.”

But when I gave my friend the gift, the reaction I got was not “WOAH HOW EXCITING!” or even “Oh, nice, thank you.” It was, “I don’t want this — get me something else.”

I DON’T WANT THIS. GET ME SOMETHING ELSE. Are you for fucking real? I was so taken aback that I could barely speak or even process the information I’d been given. Not only had this person not liked the gift that I thought I’d done a fantastic job of choosing, but she’d said it right to my face without any thought as to how much I’d actually thought about it, and how much I really thought she’d love it. She didn’t thank me for the thought, and she certainly didn’t pretend to be happy. Instead she told me to get her something else, which made my gift giving spirit evaporate more quickly than a droplet of water in Death Valley. Newsflash, people: nobody likes to be told that they aren’t good enough, and nobody — not now, not ever — should be made to feel like complete and utter shit about giving someone a gift. Ever.

If you do get a gift that you’re not thrilled about, just go with the old adage of “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Thank the person, smile, and move on. It’s that easy. And if it’s a really disappointing gift — say you’ve been dating someone for five years and they just give you a brick for the holidays — then you can maybe ask about it. But when it’s something that clearly showed effort and thought, why make your friend feel terrible? Is it worth the potential strain on your friendship? Probably not. You can, however, bitch about really shitty gift giving and receiving experiences on your blog many months later.

If you’ve got a horror story relating to gift giving/receiving (Christmas or otherwise) please feel free to share in the comments, because let’s face it: you as readers should get a chance to bitch about shit, too.

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Tumblr is a Cesspool.

There are a lot of different social networking and blogging sites at our fingertips now that the internet is a thing that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. There are three distinct kind of social networking and blogging platforms. The vast majority of people reading this post will know exactly what they are, but please, dear readers, bear with me. A blog — hosted on sites like WordPress, Blogspot, Livejournal, etc. — could be an open diary, a place for reviewing books or music or movies, or anything else you might want to do, like rant incessantly at readers for no good reason like we do. It’s an enormous window into the life and personality and psyche of the writer.

Then we’ve got stuff like Myspace and Facebook, which are much more superficial and more based in the social realm. When you go on Facebook, you don’t go on to make a point to the rest of the world. Your updates are meant for a select few people, and those people are your friends (or at least they are ostensibly your friends; their actual thoughts on you are rarely ever revealed unless the dreaded “defriending” occurs). You post your pictures, you write status updates about your day, hoping for comments about how pretty you look or how funny you are, and you measure your success not in hits on a page but on how many people like a status, how many people you friend, and how many people you interact with on a regular basis. And for those of us thousands of miles away from friends and family, things like Facebook allow you to keep in contact much more easily than letters or emails ever could. It’s an ongoing, interactive, semi-public scrapbook that in thirty years you can look back at and see what you were doing on what day, how you looked, and who you were friends with. The ultimate life diary.

Then there’s Twitter, the tiniest of them all. Want to let your friends (and random followers) know how hilarious it was when you saw a hot guy in the elevator and realised you were wearing a facemask because you were working and you’d forgotten to take it off? Just tweet it. If you can get your point across in 140 characters you can be an internet sensation. It’s not nearly as substantial as Facebook, but there’s humour involved, and it’s like reading all the headlines of the newspaper. You can glance through, get snippets of people’s personalities and find out about cool articles and music — just 140 characters at a time.

And then somewhere in there is Tumblr.

Tumblr is the bastard child of blogs and Twitter that was raised by Pinterest. It was told as a child, “Honey, you can be anything you want,” and Tumblr decided it wanted to be a a cesspool. I know many people out there love Tumblr to death and couldn’t bear to part with it, but I’ve got a couple of problems with it and we’re going to start with its purpose. It’s partly like a blog, but I’ve found that the original content on Tumblr is disproportionately outweighed by the amount of reblogged shit and memes. Reblogging, for those who aren’t familiar with the term, is when one user posts something — a photo, a quote, a long-winded rant about their ten least favourite songs in the world, you name it — and another reader, instead of liking the post or saving it in their favourites, presses a button that makes that user’s post appear on their page. It’s similar to retweeting on Twitter — and how fucking annoying is it when you get those spammers that constantly just retweet everything instead of posting anything interesting that they themselves wrote?

Granted, I’m sure that there are Tumblr users out there that don’t reblog shit constantly. But for the most part, it seems that people do this a lot. And if you follow a lot of Tumblrs that have similar themes (i.e. fanpages for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a lot of friends that happen to like the show) you can end up seeing the same .gif or quote or teensy blog post ten or fifteen times. So there’s a lot of repetition on Tumblr — a lot more so than on a blog or a social networking site. And there’s a lot less original content, too. Most people use it sort of as a bulletin board, where they post pictures they did not make, or memes they did not start. They post things that they think are funny or pretty or cool — much like one does on Pinterest — and then sometimes intersperse this with original thoughts. At least on Pinterest you know that everything one person posts is going to be pictures that they did not create. At least on Pinterest you know that a board dedicated to tattoos a user thinks is cool will actually include photographs of tattoos that person thinks is cool. On Tumblr, if you follow a dedicated fanpage to Sherlock, you will probably only find matter related to the show. But if you follow a girl whose blog is 85% Sherlock-related, you may also get unpleasant TMI posts about how she wants to fuck some cute boy up the butt or her self-involved posts about how ugly she feels (and then posts a picture of herself so the world can judge her). And with reblogging sometimes the credit for the original image or material gets lost in translation. Just because PrettyGirl123 posted that picture of a rose first doesn’t mean that PrettyGirl123 took the picture herself. And sometimes even if PrettyGirl123 did make that image herself, a couple of reblogs later and the credit has mysteriously vanished.

I believe that tumblr is the place that creativity goes to die. I believe that the advent of reblogging has started to keep people from posting things that are original. Why write your thoughts on why Cassandra Clare needs to stop getting all this attention when you can just reblog someone else’s post on the subject? On a lot of people’s Tumblrs, the number of reblogged posts grossly outnumbers the number of original posts, and I guess some people are okay with that, but generally when you’re following 30 blogs with the same aesthetic that may cover a lot of the same subjects, it just means that you’re viewing the same content repeatedly instead of seeing new things all the time.

This brings me to another part of why I hate Tumblr. Facebook, for example, may be a timesuck, but at least when you’re spending a lot of time on Facebook, you’re actually able to interact with friends. I will be the first to admit that I spend hours and hours of my time on Facebook a day — but I’m not constantly scrolling through it. I’ll check it once in a while, but mainly I stay logged into Facebook so that I can chat with my friends, some of whom are here in Auckland, and some of whom are nineteen hours behind me and nine thousand miles away. When people spend that much time on Tumblr, they are literally scrolling through post after post for hours. It is a black hole. Yes, sure, there is some worthwhile stuff on Tumblr. I know that. It is, however, insanely difficult to filter your feed on Tumblr, so in order to get to the gems you’ve got to wade through the virtual equivalent of sewage. I know people who spend literally five or six hours catching up on what happened on Tumblr while they were at work or school. “I’m tired,” they say, “I worked a lot and didn’t get much sleep last night, so I can’t come to [insert social engagement here].” You ask, “Why didn’t you sleep?” and they say, “Oh, I was looking at Tumblr until three.” I have heaps of friends that do this. And then when you chat with them again the next morning and you say, “Feeling rested now?” They say, “No, I went to bed kinda late. I was looking at Tumblr.”

WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU WERE LOOKING AT TUMBLR? You were so tired that you couldn’t hang out or stay up late but then you spent four more hours on Tumblr? Hey, when we were going to hang out, the night would’ve ended at eleven. You would’ve gone to bed early enough to wake up at seven and still feel pretty darn rested. But no. Instead you stayed in and you went to bed at three because you wanted to see all the stupid .gifs everyone posted and woke up at seven and then are still too damn tired to do anything. It drives me bonkers. It’s just the internet, people, stop taking it so damn fucking seriously. When your real life comes second to the shit that pops up on your Tumblr feed, maybe it’s time to re-examine your priorities. Just maybe.

If you have a Tumblr and you feel like maybe I’m missing out of the site’s finer qualities, please feel free to comment and defend your favourite website. Otherwise get the fuck off the internet and go do something real for once.

Black Friday.

Retail. It may not be a four letter word, but sometimes it comes out like one. I have worked in the realm of the retail and food service industry pretty much since I was legally able. I accept that as my lot in life, and I don’t complain (much) about the fact I have always had to work in very un-glamorous positions.

However, being in New Zealand has made me really examine the culture of retail in the United States compared to that of other countries, and there is one big thing that stands out to me: Black Friday. Never has a day been so aptly named, and so completely loathed. For my new Kiwi friends, let me give you a brief overview of what Black Friday means to every retail employee in the United States.

Black Friday is the name given to the day after Thanksgiving, which is always a friday, because, well, Thanksgiving always falls on a Thursday.  The short explanation of this day is that it is known as the biggest day for blowout sales in all major retailers all over the United States. It officially marks the beginning of the “Christmas Shopping Season,” and there are some retail giants (Wal Mart, Macy’s, Gap, Best Buy, what have you) who like to celebrate by offering absurd sales.

As a little kid, I had a vague notion of the day as being when my aunts would all wake up “early”–I say “early” in sarcastic quotation marks because now, as a world-weary ex-Best Buy employee, I now no longer consider 7AM on Black Friday early–and hit the mall. We cousins were never invited because A) they were probably buying heaps of Christmas gifts we weren’t meant to see and B) This wasn’t strolling through the mall drinking an orange Julius shopping. This was serious Running of the Brides style shopping.

There are many things that are sick and disturbing about Black Friday. I will try to hit on them all without descending into a blubbering mass of rage spit, but I can’t really make any promises. The first thing that is wrong with Black Friday is that people camp our for it. They train for this shit like it is an olympic event. Shoppers go to their chosen store days before BF-Day and set up tents, grills, and lawn chairs. It’s like the bastard love child of a refugee camp and the worst kind of tailgaters at a football game.

This is a person who was camped out in front of my friendly neighborhood Best Buy on Monday. Let me remind you that Thanksgiving takes place on Thursday and Black Friday, obviously, is not until Friday. As I was leaving work that night, I actually was really tempted to throw heavy bricks at this person’s tent. First of all, I hail from Bean Town, also known as Freeze-Your-Beans-Off Town. On 2011, November 21 (the Monday before Thanksgiving), it was 35.6 degrees Fahrenheit  or for my kiwi friends, a brisk 2 degrees Celsius, a mere hair’s breadth above the temperature that is cold enough for water to transform into ice.  What on God’s Green earth could possibly be important enough for you to buy at a slightly lower cost that is worth the risk of dangerous hypothermia, death by exposure, or frostbite? And if any of you say an Apple iPad, I’ll break your nose.  The correct answer is NOTHING. If your loved ones demand this of you during gift buying season, you need some new loved ones.

Speaking of loved ones, it’s about time I leave temperature behind (because hey, maybe you have just enough of that good, all-American, McDonald’s induced blubber to keep you nice and toasty) and discuss something much more important. Thanksgiving is a holiday unique to America in a way that no other Holiday is. And I know the puritans were actually the worst and took advantage of their friendly Native American hosts by spreading blood and disease and claiming their land for themselves, blah blah blah, but for the purposes of this post, I don’t care about the gross, colonial, terrible roots of Thanksgiving. It has actually done the opposite of nearly every holiday: it has turned something terrible into something beautiful (unlike christmas and valentines day and every other commercial holiday): families. Families that normally fight or don’t talk or get wrapped up in petty interpersonal drama bullshit sit down, share a beautiful meal, and appreciate the good things in life. Since my parents are divorced, for me, Thanksgiving weekend always represented a magical four day slumber party with my cousins on my dad’s side, whom I grew up with and love like siblings. No matter where all the cousins were in stages of their lives, we all reunited for four days to not sleep, play video games, watch Mulan (still), play Risk, drink unhealthy amounts of coca cola and laugh endlessly. This brings me to the main reason I hate Black Friday. It eclipses the magic of Thanksgiving with its greedy corporate awfulness.  The people camping out days before are forgoing one of the most beautiful days known to man. You may be saying, “But Ali, not everyone has such a fabulous family life! Some people are alone in the world!” It’s a paradox; if any of those people don’t have anyone to spend thanksgiving with, then who the fuck are they buying all this shit for? Is getting 250$ off a 1400$ DSLR camera really worth forgoing a relaxing day spent eating and laughing and reminiscing with your extended family, or sometimes very close friends? No. It’s not. I would accept Black Friday if it was only “celebrated” by immigrants to the US who don’t give a rat’s patoot about Thanksgiving–much like jewish families flocking to the cinemas on Christmas day–but it’s not. Blue blooded ‘murricans forgoe spending time with their loved ones to huddle on curbs for days on end. It’s so backwards and kind of shows what’s wrong with our culture. It’s like, “I’d rather spend my money on my family to show how much I care than actually sit down and spend time with them.” I would like to call shenanigans on this nonsense.  Any person who buys me a gift on black friday should just save their money and come hang out with me for a beautiful meal instead.

Now, in case it isn’t clear by the fact that I’ve spent 1000 words on this already, but I fucking love Thanksgiving. I love it. I love the food, I love the atmosphere, I love hanging around the kitchen all day. I love the motherfucking shit out of this holiday. That being said, I come to my final point on my “why Black Friday should be completely abolished” tirade. Shoppers really don’t think at all about the effect that their (literally) buying in to this ridiculousness has on all of the store employees. In my three black fridays working with Best Buy, I sacrificed my long Thanksgiving weekend with my family because if you work retail, you cannot ask for that shit off. It is all hands on deck, motherfuckers, and don’t you forget it. I still got to eat Thanksgiving Dinner with them, but I always had to skip out right after dinner and go to bed by 8pm at the latest. And why is that you ask? Because to be on time for my shift on Black Friday I had to wake up somewhere in the vicinity of 3AM. I then went to work in the dark, before Dunkin Donuts was even open. That’s seriously early as. I then proceeded to work for 12 hours essentially non stop, ringing out countless people whose sense of satisfaction at cashing in their “tickets” (we handed out tickets before the doors open for items we had limited quanities of that were sure to be big sellers, or tickets for especially good bundle deals that we were only offering a limited quantity of) was nearly sickening. This past year, the first person i rang out (at 4 AM) was buying nothing but an xBox kinect THAT WASN’T EVEN ON SALE. It also had been released two weeks previously. And I was so tempted to ask, “Why are you here? Not just in Best Buy at 4AM, but seriously, like why are you even on this earth? How can you possibly be a real person that walks among decent people?” My boyfriend worked about 18 hours this year. On one day. He was at Best Buy counting down the safe until well past 1AM after the doors had finally closed. This makes me feel ill. In no universe should this poor guy, who has been up since the ass crack of dawn, been yelled at constantly about stuff being out of stock, or stuff being the wrong price, or by people who feel the need to come in and do errands like returns and sending their computers out for repair ON BLACK FUCKING FRIDAY, then have to stay in the office, alone, and count dirty smelly money until almost two in the morning.

Not only that, but since Black Friday is, quite obviously, the single most profitable day for retail stores of the entire year, stores are changing their strategies to maximize sales potential. Last year, Wal-Mart stores in MA defied labor laws by trying to open at midnight (meaning employees actually had to be at work on a day that is technically still Thanksgiving). Thanksgiving is a national holiday. SHIT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE OPEN ON THIS DAY. Best Buy opened at 1AM, meaning employees were not required to arrive until it was technically not Thanksgiving any more. However, a quick look at wikipedia tells me that stores are further pushing the limits of labor laws by trying to remain open for 24 hours, or open at 8PM on thanksgiving. THIS IS NOT RIGHT. It makes me so goddamn furious that I can’t even handle it. I started this post in a half joking tone and by this point in typing it I’m actually quite worked up. The fact that all these shoppers are actually making it seem like requiring employees to forgo Thanksgiving with their families as a viable business strategy is actually nauseating.

Don’t any of them care? The answer is a resounding “FUCK NO!” If these people can’t be bothered to care about their own families enough to spend thanksgiving with them, how can they be expected to care about lowly walmart, macy’s, and best buy employees? (And by employees I OF COURSE mean “iPad dispensers,” because lets be real, many of these people don’t even see retail workers as human, it’s very obvious by the way they often treat us)

If I were less emotional about this I would actually crunch some rough numbers based on money saved on gifts vs money spent on camping equipment,  gas burned up driving around parking lots for hours trying to find a space or trying to fight your way out once your shopping is done, and the priceless (and I know that word is heavy handed and cheesey, but just go with it) cost of missing moments with loved ones.

The bottom line is, it’s not worth it, and if you think it is, you really need to examine your priorities, morals and personal values. I would like to challenge everyone I know not to buy into this Black Friday nonsense. Show up at stores at a leisurely 10AM, and make these retail giants hemorrhage money on labor staffing stores at midnight so that the following year, we can all sit down, tuck into some turkey, and do what we’re meant to do afterwards: go out and get drunk, just like the Pilgrims.