How Best to Deal with Black Friday Traditions

Retail Stores spend months preparing for Black Friday. Many began with the tally of sells from the previous year. Executives count the profits, then subtract the cost. After much study of what worked and what did not, they begin to plan special sales for the following year. Decisions are made months before the sales are announced to the public. Orders to suppliers are placed well in advance.

Shoppers begin making lists of things they hope to find on the sale ads Black Friday when they fulfill their traditions and spend all their cash and max out their credit cards. Some begin immediately after shopping the previous year, making plans to beat the crowds to the bargains and to save more money for next year’s sales.

Retail Stores evaluate their employee force and determine how many new hires are needed to take care of the busy days between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Physical ads are printed, virtual ads made ready, and e-mails prepared to send to subscribers.

Shoppers get anxious for the special shopping day about the time Halloween costumes hit the stores. The weekend before Thanksgiving, the biggest concern is to get a peek at the Black Friday sales flyers and determine what to spend their money or max their credit on rather than how best to express thanks for what they already have.

Retail Stores send out ads and e-mails announcing sales.

Shoppers make lists, map routes and put on their running shoes.

Retail Stores fill the aisles of stores with sale items and wrap them with plastic so no one gets a head start.

Shoppers run through the store in mobs, trampling all who get in their way.

Retail Stores employees cut the plastic that protects the stacks of merchandise and run for cover, hoping to escape the stampeding shoppers.
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Shoppers wander through the store for hours filling shopping carts with bargains, fighting for the last one the shelf, wait in check out lines for an hour or more to turn their paychecks over to a weary cashier, then finally return home to crash, exhausted on the couch.

How I Prepare for Black Friday
The weekend before Thanksgiving I begin my own preparations for Black Friday. Here is what I do:

1. Make a list of things to take to Thanksgiving Dinner at mom’s.
2. Make a menu for two weeks of meals for my household.
3. Inventory pantry, fridge and freezer for supplies needed for these meals.
4. Shop on Monday for the items on my list.
5. Tuesday, check to see that I have sufficient office supplies for two weeks of writing and make any last minute purchases.
6. Wednesday, finish preparations for Thanksgiving Dinner.
7. Spend Thanksgiving Day with family.
8. Go home and prepare to hibernate and write for the next two weeks.

Traditions are powerful motivators. I shopped the Black Friday sales for several years before deciding the best place for me was at home during this mad rush for bargains, figuring if an item wasn’t available after the rush was over, I could do without it, cheaper price or not. Over the years, my family has done away with a few things that were once traditional and added a few things we considered worthwhile to replace them.

Watch my posts for the next few weeks to see the changes we have made in our family traditions. While you wait, I would love to hear from you. How do you feel about Black Friday? Do you fight the crowds for the bargains?

Celebrate National Coffee Day–An American Tradition

Yesterday morning, I adjusted the pillows on my bed and sat up, then accepted the cup of coffee Joe had brought me. (I’m spoiled, I know!)

I sat cup on the table beside the bed to cool and reached for my phone to check the time, weather, website stats and any Facebook posts that might require my immediate attention.

A few minutes later, I reached for a drink. Noticing the cup was dangerously close to the edge of the desk, I admonished myself to pay attention to where I sat the cup next time.

“Today is International Coffee Day,” the headlines caught my attention and  I continued to read. Coffee is celebrated worldwide.

My coffee was still hot, so I took a few small sips and returned it to the table. I let go of the cup just before it tumbled upside down beside the bed, and onto my c-pap machine and the wooden box and books I had it sitting on.

I would like to say I ran to the bathroom for a towel to clean it up, but I had just woke up and had downed only a few small sips of coffee. I was in no shape to run anywhere. ‘Stumbled’ was a more appropriate word.

I made it back with the towel and used it to soaked up as much coffee up as possible. My biggest concern was the c-pap. It still came on when I flipped the switch, so all was well.  I dried the books and box  the best I could and carried the wet towel to the washer.

Thirty minutes after christening my bedroom in honor of International Coffee Day, I continued the celebration with a second cup of coffee, something I don’t usually do, but this is a special day, right?

My cup was soon empty, this time because I had drank it. Still thinking about International Coffee Day, I went to my computer to learn more about it. I found the United States first mentioned National Coffee Day in 2005. The first recorded celebration of coffee was in Japan in 1983. Many companies give away free coffee each year on September 29th in honor of  the special day.

As I read, I began to think about all the special days that have been added to our calendar in the recent years: Grandparents’ Day and Talk Like a Pirate Day to name a few. I guess it is only appropriate to celebrate coffee, too. After all, coffee goes way back. Most western and pioneer books treat coffee as a necessary staple. Most adults have learned to depend on the boost the caffeine provides.

Joe, has relied on coffee most of his life. I became a regular partaker of the brew only after I gave up the sugary sodas. We travel often, though and the coffee from truck stops isn’t consistent in flavor or strength. Several years ago we found a brand of instant coffee we liked and have since carried a thermos of hot water and a container of Taster’s Choice.

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Most truck stops let us fill a thermos with hot water free or for a minimal charge. Besides always being able to have fresh coffee with consistent flavor, it is cheaper than buying it ready-made when we travel. We save several hundred dollars a year by carrying our own.

Coffee has around a long time. Americans have depended on it for centuries. The trend hasn’t faded over the years. What with iced coffees and cappuccinos and whole stores devoted to the beverage, I suppose it is appropriate to have a special day to celebrate the beverage. I believe International  Coffee Day is here to stay.

At home I prefer to drink my coffee black, but after a day of working outside in the heat, nothing satisfies like a Caramel Iced Coffee.

I’ve had my say, now it’s your turn. What is your favorite coffee drink?

Absence Excused–Not Guilty!

This past summer has been full with grandchildren. I chose spending time with them over posting. At first I felt guilty for neglecting my blog.

“What kind of reputation are you making for yourself?” I asked.

“That depends,” the answer came, “on what your goals are.”

“My goal is for these children to know that God loves them even more than I do.” I said. “I want them to know the importance of having a relationship with God.”

“Then you better take the time to teach them and show them now. They are getting older. What if they don’t want to spend next summer with grandma? You can write and blog after they go home. Make the most of the time you have with them now. You may not get another chance.”

Guilty or Not?

And so, I made the conscious choice to spend as much time as I could with my grandkids. We went camping, hiking, swimming and played in the park. We ate pizza three times a week and had ice cream nearly every day.

We read books aloud to each other and talked about dragons. We played checkers and chess. We prayed before meals, and at night before bed. We talked about what they wanted to be when they grew up, and about remembering to read the Bible and pray every day.

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Then it was over. I had to take them back home, 600 miles away. The time we had together was so short. I no longer feel guilt over the posts I didn’t write. Instead, I am glad for the talks we had and the connections we made. I cherish the time spent with them and look forward to next summer for more of the same–and I pray they don’t grown up too much between now and then.

 

Originally appeared marthajanecurtis.weebly.com on 7-23-14 titled Guilty or Not?