Black Friday anxiety

13 Nov

It’s hard to believe my favorite American holiday is less than two weeks a day. No, I’m not talking about the day where we eat turkey, say “thanks,” then pass out in a food coma. I don’t get that excited about cranberry sauce or football. I do, however, get excited about shopping. Bargain shopping, particularly.

When I was young (OK, this was maybe five years ago) I got it in my head that Black Friday was the best shopping day of the year. That anything and everything I could ever want to buy would be on sale that day for ridiculously low prices. I soon realized that wasn’t true. Yes, the deals are good, but often on things I don’t want or can’t get up early enough to obtain. I have yet to get a computer for $100 or wait in line to “bust a door,” but I still look forward to Black Friday shopping. Last year just wasn’t the same doing it online from the UK. In the past I spent most of my Black Fridays standing in line at Old Navy trying to buy $5 jeans or waiting for a dressing room at New York and Company to try on a 50% off dress. But this year I’ve got my eye on a new fancy camera — a Christmas present for myself. Ever since I took photojournalism in college and rented a spiffy Nikon DLSR, I’ve wanted one. So I decided I’d check the deals on Black Friday, because I still have a bit of that mindset that anything and everything will be on sale and I’ll get a $1,000 camera for $200 (with a free carrying case, lens and SD card, of course).

But lately it seems Black Friday is changing. Stores are having “Black November” sales, daily deals and Cyber Monday. You can get good deals sitting at home on your computer instead of braving the cold and crowds. There’s less stories of people who camped out in front of Best Buy for three days for a computer or the woman who got trampled in Walmart over a digital camera.

This makes me nervous.

It used to be so concrete — you want the best possible deal on a DLSR? Go to Best Buy, Walmart or Office Max at 4 a.m. on Friday. But I’m seeing good deals now. Do I pull the trigger if a good deal pops up online in the next few days? Shopping online often means no tax and free shipping. But what if the camera goes on sale for cheaper on Black Friday? Or what if I buy one on Black Friday, and there’s a better deal on Cyber Monday? Or during some last-minute pre-Christmas sale? There’s nothing worse than seeing something you thought was a good deal on sale for cheaper later.

True story: the other day I got legitimately upset because I bought prawns at Sainsbury’s for £4.49 then saw they were on sale for £3 at Waitrose on my way home.

Yes, I’m getting antsy. Stephen wants the Star Wars collection on blu-ray as a belated birthday present. He messaged me that it was on sale the other day for $57, which is a great deal for nine discs that normally cost $140. But I hesitated, thinking, “What if Best Buy has it on sale for $50 on Black Friday?” After I convinced myself that it would probably cost $59.99 on Black Friday, I went back to buy it and it was too late — the price jumped to $75 in my cart. I still have hopes that it will be cheap on Black Friday, but I also fear it will sell out. I’ve got a plan to stay on GMT until Black Friday, but I still don’t intend to line up at Best Buy the night before.

This is my first world problem — getting the best deal on an extravagant camera. I guess life could be worse.

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