Like I said, I had never contributed one single dime on Black Friday, because I do hate shopping, and why would anyone in their right mind get up at the crack of dawn to do something they hate?
All of that changed one year when our son was a high school senior, and he convinced me that he would need a laptop for college. (Trust me, it does no good to tell your child that when you went off to college you got a new abacus and a slide rule.) Mind you, he was not in college yet, but he would need one he said, and what better time to get one than Christmas, and what better day than that mad rush called Black Friday?
I fell for it. I fell for it like the sucker parent that I am.
I have always thought that folk who got up before the rooster and rushed to stores were idiots. I still think that, but feel rather hypocritical since I did it (once). Most shoppers that day looked tired and grumpy (as opposed to me) and perhaps hadn’t gotten their morning jolt of caffeine.
“Are we having fun yet?” seemed to be the words on the lips of the Black Friday freaks that I observed.
I found some small consolation as I reached for my wallet, a wallet that had never been used that early in the morning. I was, as Tyler assured me, saving some money.
Yeah right. You know that feeling don’t you, when your wife spends hundreds at the mall and then comes home bragging about how much she saved? Why do I feel so sick when she tells me that?
Well, before I got out of Best Buy on that Black Friday, I had charged to my VISA card enough to have financed the Falcons’ new stadium.
The older I get, the less I care about gifts for myself and the more I want to give to my kids, my wife and to others who don’t have much. In fact, last Friday my daughter and I made cupcakes to take to the Hospice Food Sale. It felt great to do that.
I tell my family every year at Christmas that socks and underwear will suffice for me, but they get me some other stuff anyway. Oh, it is nice to receive heart-felt gifts, and it really does feel good to wear new clothes, but that “good feel” doesn’t last very long. I do find joy, however, in buying for others, which is what the “good book” says pleases the Lord: “For God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
I found out, by the way, why it is called Black Friday by asking our son to look it up on his new laptop.
Davis is the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Carrollton.