Black Friday overload

By Megan Goodacre

Black Friday overload

When did Black Friday turn into Black Friday week?

I'll confess that until a few years ago, I thought Black Friday was a historical date, like Bloody Sunday.

But no. Black Friday is the Friday after (American) Thanksgiving, and is traditionally a day for holiday shopping and bargains. Big bargains, especially from big box stores. Our newspaper quintupled in weight this week, and my inbox is peppered with Sale! Sale! Sale!

Now, I love a bargain as much as the next fella, but I (try to) have limits: I will not go to the mall today on Black Friday; I don't line up on Boxing Day outside Future Shop; I (almost) never go to WalMart, and when I do, I swear I will Never Go Again. But I do shop at CostCo and Old Navy. I almost succumbed to the Old Navy sale yesterday ($9 for kids jeans, $15 for adult jeans? crazy). And I did a little online Black Friday shopping this morning. I mean, I have principles, but I also have to shop on a budget.

However, all these bargains gnaw at the conscience... A few months ago, I blogged about the factory collapse in Bangladesh. And although Rob Ford and Black Friday and the senate scandal and the weather report (look it snowed! as if we didn't notice) will quickly trump distant tragedies in the news and our small talk, the problem hasn't gone away.

I regularly have discussions with crafters about the chronic undervaluing of handmade items. I used to sew almost all of my clothes (in my distant youth). Partly because I had a vague daydream of becoming a designer or couturist (must be word, surely? spellchecker says no), but also because I wanted to save money. Then somewhere, sewing your own clothes crossed the line into being more expensive than buying them. We are in Bizarro World.

And of course, I'm part of that Bizarro World. I sell stuff. I have sales, I send out coupons. But the thought of mall parking lots is making me feel woozy, so I think I'm going to sit this one out.

So, today, instead of sending out a newsletter with a big fat coupon and joining in the frenzy, I'm going to show you a nice picture of yarn. And I'm going to block some hats and think about what other kinds of gifts I can make rather than buy. There are 1, 2, 3, 4! hat patterns in the works, I'll try to get them written in time for holiday gift knitting.

Next week, I'll have some announcements. And they will involve gift-giving.

For now, Happy Friday. Happy belated Thanksgiving to our American neighbours. Happy winter, happy snow. Happy anticipation of advent calendars about to be opened. Happy cookie baking. Happy handmade holidays.