I Took My Kid Black Friday Shopping & I Survived

Oh reader, what you’re about to read may shock you. Well, maybe not (have you read any of my Bad Parent essays?), but let’s just say it may make you put your judgy pants on. Because I, Jeanne Sager, took my kid Black Friday shopping. And no, I don’t regret it.

I might even do it again some day.

This makes me one of those moms that Mommyish writer Lindsay Cross just “doesn’t understand.” I’m part of a bunch she derides for being “just plain super crazy.”

Of course Cross (whose posts I generally like … I have no problem with the writer here, just her post) puts a disclaimer on her whole rant against Black Friday shopping moms by admitting that she has never once done it, even without kids in tow. In fact, her sole basis for claiming that we are putting our kids in the midst of a war over cheap Tickle Me Elmos is one stint as a manager at a retail store on Black Friday when she was in her 20s.

I, on the other hand, have been Black Friday shopping for several years now, since I stopped working jobs that required me to work on the day after Thanksgiving.

I’ve done it enough years that I have a handle on my “strategy,” and this was the first year I brought my daughter into the mix.

I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t think she’d be safe.

In fact, the only thing I was truly worried about was my own sanity. An entire day of shopping about one month before Christmas, with my 7-year-old in tow, was bound to mean a whole lot of the following:

“Mom! Can I have that!? I promise to be good!”

“No! What are you going to ask Santa for if we buy you that now?”

“Moooooom, I want that soooo baaaaad.”

“Didn’t we just get you a new dog?”

It was, pretty much, how the day went. From store to store we went, and from store to store, she found things she absolutely had to have. Part of it was my bad. The babysitter (who I should note was along for the ride because we like spending time with her; I wasn’t paying her to watch my kid while I shopped … I’m not one of THOSE mothers) had to duck into Spencer’s. I was not taking a 7-year-old into Spencer’s, so I headed upstairs to make a return at The Gap. Only to get to The Gap in our mall, you have to walk right by Build a Bear. And what 7-year-old girl do you know who can bypass a gingerbread Hello Kitty stuffed animal? Not mine. We went in and “looked.” But I held my ground. No more dust collectors stuffed animals in this house, thankyouverymuch.

But wars? Stabbings? I didn’t worry about any of it. We left at a very sane 9 o’clock (that’s a.m. … on Friday morning, no less) and go to the mall a little after 10. We hit a certain mega toy store first to get a “deal” on a new XBox after my husband’s took a crap earlier in the week — what timing, right?

We took our time in the mall. I hit The Children’s Place for a decent deal on her clothes. I hit Target for my necessaries, the kind of things I buy any day, and most definitely was getting now considering I’d driven an hour to the mall — such is life in a small town. I didn’t shop for her because, well, she’s 7, not an idiot.

There were lines, but they weren’t crazy.

There were idiots out, but there always are.

We were tired, but I was coming down with what has turned out to be a wicked virus. And she still had plenty of piss and vinegar for candy collecting at the local parade that night. 

But with few days off between now and Christmas and even fewer when I will be sans child, taking the kid Black Friday shopping wasn’t just NOT “super crazy,” but it was the smart choice for us.

Now sitting at home alone all day with a 7-year-old over-excited about the parade that night? THAT would have been crazy.

Would you Black Friday shop? Would you do it with a kid?

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Image via RobHolland/Flickr

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