Black Friday and Me – a tale of survival

[From the archives.]


Black Friday holds no attraction for me, no allure, no batting eyelashes drawing me to the stores.

And yet I went to the mall on Black Friday.

A Question Never Before Posed to Me

Late Thanksgiving night my wife asked how early I wanted to get up to go to the mall. This is most definitely not one of our annual conversations, because I’ve never gone to the mall the day after Thanksgiving. Not once. This year was different, though. There we were in San Diego visiting family and our son was able to join us for the holiday for the first time in years. He was the one who wanted to hit the stores before they ran out of what he was looking for.

You might be thinking, But why did you need to get up to go with them, Tim?

Good question.

He was staying at his sister’s apartment near her university, about 20 minutes from my in-laws’ house where we were staying. She was leaving early to spend the day in Disneyland with her young cousin.* That meant she couldn’t bring her brother to us – wrong direction for a drive to Disneyland – so we needed to go to him. (For those readers with younger kids who look forward to the day when you won’t have to drive them around any longer, good luck with that.) We awoke in the dark and drove through ground fog to pick him up.

With all the horror stories about how bad Black Friday is, I feared the worst.


What I thought we’d see (Wikimedia)

I was surprised to see the parking lot virtually empty. Seriously. We pulled into a parking spot three spaces from the front door of the department store.

More like what we saw (The Bay City Times)

More like what we saw
(The Bay City Times)

My wife and son separated to find their stores while I went in search of coffee. I ordered a bagel with cream cheese and a coffee, sat down with my book and iPad, and waited for them to summon me when ready to go. An hour later they did and we left. The parking lot was barely more occupied than when we arrived.

Then it was off to the next mall.

Unmet Expectations

Me being anxious (source)

Me being anxious

My expectations of the Black Friday shopping experience went unmet. This type of thing happens to me occasionally. It probably happens to you too.

Getting worked up over nothing is a common pastime. Jesus warns against it:

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. (Matthew 6:34.)

There are doomsayers galore out there who try to convince me that all is lost. That’s what the reports about Black Friday shopping always say. And I bet there is partial truth to those reports, based on what I see on the news each holiday season. But there is complete truth in what God says:

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in humans. (Psalm 118:8.)


Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. (Proverbs 29:25.)

Whether it’s shopping hype put out by news media eager for viewers or it’s predictions of doom and promises of deliverance peddled by someone trying to sell something, trusting humans and living in fear of worldly events is a fool’s game. God is our refuge, the one who keeps his people safe. As the psalmist said:

I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? (Psalm 56:11, NLT.)

Me being not anxious (source)

Me being not anxious

With God, Black Friday is past. He has brought his people into the eternal Sunday of Resurrection life in Christ.

No wonder we can trust him.


*It was our daughter’s birthday the next day and this trip to Disneyland was our gift to her. Why I didn’t insist on going with them is a mystery.


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9 Responses to Black Friday and Me – a tale of survival

  1. How funny–an ad for Black Friday appears above on your blog post.

    Here are lyrics I wrote about three days of spending. You sing it to the music of “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree”.

    Waiting in line on Gray Thursday
    And is it ever cold
    All I want is in the display

    Get it before it’s sold. 

    Waiting in line on Gray Thursday

    Let the big discounts be mine

    Later I’ll have some pumpkin pie

    My day off has been so fine.

    You might get a jealous feeling
    When ’er you hear
    All I got for my money
    To deck my halls to be so pretty.

    Waiting in line on Gray Thursday
    Sleeping in on Black Friday
    If I missed some big discount
    I’ll get it Cyber Monday.

    {Repeat first two above.]
    You seem to have some special feeling
    You say that I’ve been missing?
    Gratefulness for what makes me jolly
    Ingratitude yes ‘tis my folly.

    Thinking about what I’ve been missing
    With all these new traditions
    Ingratitude for faith and family
    Three new days of acquisitions
    Three new days of stuff!

    [Lyrics by Carol Noren Johnson]

  2. Life With Teens & Other Wild Things says:

    Must be nice lol! I’ve gone shopping on Black Friday exactly once. Made the mistake of going after 4am, and the store was absolutely packed. I left. There is nothing in any store, at any price, that I want that badly.

    Honestly, I do most of my Christmas shopping at 2am at Walmart, a week or so before Christmas. It’s great- our wally world is open 24 hours, and the only people in the store at that time are the stockers. There’s one young man in particular who likes to sing Christmas carols at the top of his lungs while he stocks. Sometimes the others join in. It’s a happy, goofy, relaxed atmosphere, and I can always find someone to help me if I can’t find something. 🙂

  3. Lucie Winborne says:

    I couldn’t help wondering if there was at least a veiled reference to Jim Bakker in this post, Tim….

    • Tim says:

      The connection is escaping me, so no veiled reference here Lucie!

      • Lucie Winborne says:

        Sorry, Tim! I was referring to your statement that:

        “…or it’s predictions of doom and promises of deliverance peddled by someone trying to sell something, trusting humans and living in fear of worldly events is a fool’s game.”

        And thinking of Bakker’s selling of survival food buckets and five days a week warnings about how the Bible warns us that “there will be no food,” etc. My elderly mother watches him five days a week. Essentially, he seems to me to be positioning himself as a type of Noah figure, warning of coming disaster while also admitting that many do not take him that seriously. Honestly, I don’t know how much accuracy may be at the root of his constant shilling, but its highly dramatic, occasionally weepy nature is not pleasant to me, and I make sure I am in another room when his program comes on. Perhaps one day I will be among those he warns should have listened and prepared.

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