Last night I took part in the “Black Friday” sales with my wife and our middle children. I was among the hundreds of sleep-deprived consumers seeking out bargains which quite possibly never be seen again. In particular, we traveled to Target© looking for the electronic items listed in their circular that my son could not live without. So we waited in line for a few moments before discovering that the item was sold out. We did pick up a few other smaller items and made our way to the register lines – which it turned out snaked through the entire length of the store. Sorry kids, but a DVD, a board game and decorative scarf are not going to save me enough money make waiting in that long line worth it!
What would you be willing to wait in line for, say, two hours to acquire? Is there a 40” HDTV 52% off that is worth that much attention? Are the tickets to the big game or the big concert important enough for you to stand and wait? Is there anything that precious of your investment? What waiting are you willing to withstand?
As I contemplated that question in various lines last night, it occurred to me that there is nothing, or more precisely, no thing I’d wait that long for. There are people I would do it for, though. I would wait in traffic for hours to see my son at school. I would wait in the airport for hours for my mother’s flight from Tennessee. I would wait in line at Target© if it brought joy to my son. I would wait in the hospital for the midwife to say, “Push” as my wife struggles to deliver. I would wait if someone I love needed or wanted me to wait.
Thinking about all I witnessed last night, Black Friday has less to do with bargains and more to do with bonding. Few people were there alone – mothers and daughters, friends and couples were scouting the aisles and carrying on conversations as the queues crept ever closer to the cashiers. Perhaps Black Friday is the perfect transition from Thanksgiving into Christmas, that after we’ve offered up our gratitude for the blessing we enjoy we go out together to share some of those blessings. I haven’t quite given in to all the sales and the crowds and the lines, but maybe I can see a silver lining. I have a feeling the four of us who were at the mall at 1am will remember that time for quite a while – much longer than the thing we would have bought would have lasted.