We are a few days away from a pretty big holiday in America: Black Friday. The hallowed day when all the giant retailers in America open early, have “fantastic” steals and deals, and when you get all your Christmas shopping done for less.
If you love this day, I commend you. Happy Shopping! Don’t get into a fight over a television or vacuum cleaner. I don’t begrudge you your great deal.
I just won’t be joining you.
This year, I’m going to buy less and spend more. I realize that sounds insane. But the thing is, I own a small business…like a super small business…I imagine that there are stellar people at big companies who make more from their Christmas bonus than my business makes in a year (and I bet they do great work, too), so I can tell you with absolute certainty the first reason I won’t be shopping on Black Friday
- Your money means more to a small business than it does to a big retailer.I understand that you can buy that thing at Wall-Mart or Amazon for less than you pay your local toy store, hardware store, book store, or other retailer. But Wal-Mart and Amazon have so. much. money. I bought many of my stocking stuffers and gifts and an adorable toy store last year called Annie’s Toy Chest. They had a fantastic selection, and it was a pleasure to shop there.
I know the difference it makes when people choose to buy from my business than ordering online or a big box store, so I try to extend the favor whenever I can. Even if it means I pay 10% more. I know that those small retailers are probably paying their employees better than some of the big retailers, and they’re keeping the money in my community too.
- When a store opens at 4 am, their employees have to leave Thanksgiving with their families to set up the store to be ready for you.I think that retail and service workers can get treated very badly during the holiday season. Many of them are seasonal workers, so if you do find yourself shopping in the wee morning hours on Friday, be kind to the people working. They left their family on Thanksgiving so they could serve you.
- You can get nice gifts and do goodIf you’d like to give a high quality gift that makes a difference, may I recommend Thistle Farms? This is an organization in Nashville, TN that employs women who’ve been incarcerated or involved in human trafficking and gives them a safe place to live and career training.
I know that “Amazon Smiles” sounds great and all, but I think we do more good by supporting organizations who are creating a better world and more opportunities for everyone.
- But I LOVE shopping onlineOne of the best things I think I did this year was cancel my Amazon Prime account. I realized that for the promise of Free Two Day Shipping, I was sacrificing some important priorities for how I spend my money.
There are lots of great places to shop online Etsy supports a huge variety of services and skills, IndieBound supports small bookstores, and there are literally zillions of places to shop online. Read the reviews, make sure it’s a verified seller, try spending your money not at amazon.
- I feel insulted by Small Business SaturdayThis is my perhaps petty of me. But, did you know that American Express (yes, the credit card company) invented Small Business Saturday? They don’t want you to shop small on Black Friday. They want you to max out your credit card so you pay lots of interest (I know I sounds like a conspiracy theorist right now).
I know I sound pretty judgey here. And it’s not that I don’t enjoy shopping or want you to have a terrible holiday season. I enjoy sharing gifts during the holiday season, but I don’t want for me, you or anyone else to (as my mail would have me believe is a good idea) refinance your house to pay for Christmas. I don’t want any of us to end up paying three times the price we paid on the Black Friday sale in interest and fees to our credit card companies. And, I want us all to be satisfied with all the gifts we do have during the holiday season rather than trying to find the one perfect thing.