Whoa! There certainly are a lot of retail events that keep materializing for the Christmas season shopper. The biggest ones I’m aware of are Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving), Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving), and Green Monday (a couple Mondays before Christmas). Of these three, Black Friday is the one that draws hordes of customers into actual stores. The others are online shopping days which are perfect for me, a revolutionized .com-customer.
I used to thrive on “brick and mortar shopping” where I had to touch, see, and even smell everything on display. Pixels weren’t included, and “minimum storage” merely reminded me of my overflowing closet. My friend Heather and I were partners in bargain hunting and hit malls, shopping centers, and outlets to use our marathon purchase prowess about once a month.
Due to the convenience of online shopping, I’ve evolved into a laptop shopper. I still like to occasionally venture into real stores with Heather and my teenage daughters though. Doing so, I discovered a shopping spree window-of-time for which I will annually save the date. I call it White Wednesday, and it outshines Black Friday. White Wednesday is observed on Thanksgiving Eve.
Before I share the clean and bright beauty of White Wednesday (WW), I wish to disclose that I was and still am an expert Christmas shopper. I understand the value of and excitement for Black Friday (BF) and admit to partaking of it in the past.
Last year my daughters wanted me to take them Black Friday shopping. Initially, I said yes and thought we could make a retail adventure of it. I imagined it to go like this:
We would get up about twelve minutes after falling asleep. We’d travel just over thirty miles north to Erie where we could hunt for sales at the Millcreek Mall and neighboring stores.
We would stand in long lines, battle crowds and traffic, and lose sleep to fill up our bags and carts, but we would do it together. Our arms might burn with muscle spasms, but we would power through with adrenalin, strength, and the spirit of gift giving. We’d prove our girl power. We would save money and get free stuff for being early birds. We’d refuel on samples of hors d’oeuvres at Hickory Farms and toothpicks topped with China Max chicken. Then we’d spend an hour in a Starbucks line to blast ourselves with sugar and caffeine. Complimentary napkins and coffee sleeves would be given.
While bonding with my girls, I would train them to become a part of something big, a special community of shoppers around the USA. We would contribute to the economy and strengthen our mother/daughter bonds while doing so.
And then the wine wore off and I woke up with a Sunday morning epiphany. I lit a harvest pumpkin candle and relaxed in my cozy slippers and comfy chair. While sipping pumpkin coffee with (you guessed it) pumpkin flavored creamer, I relished in the solitude and made a big fat pumpkin pie plan to boycott Black Friday, FOREVER!
The girls woke and I sang, “I’m dreaming of a White Wednesday, with every Christmas gift I buy.”
“What are you talking about?” they asked.
“We’re going to be a happy family and boycott Black Friday!”
My girls were crushed by this news. “But, Mom!” they cried. “You promised, and it’ll be so much fun!”
“Believe me, it won’t be fun. It will be very stressful,” I claimed.
“You are the best shopper, Mom. We want you to teach us.” Oh, how they know I love to be flattered for my best-buy-radar. When it comes to couponing talents, I have no modesty.
“Girls, I really don’t want or need to go Black Fridaying ever again. It’s too exhausting and insane for me at this stage. Besides, there is a much better materialistic holiday: White Wednesday.”
“Oh yeah? Why haven’t we ever heard about it?” asked shopping minion #1.
“You’re making this up,” accused shopping minion #2.
“Trust me. I merely made up the name, White Wednesday, but not the concept which is: a day when pure retail wishes come true.”
“Nobody shops on White Wednesday!” they jeered with doubts.
“Somebody does, or the stores wouldn’t be open. The point is that nearly nobody does shop then because they’re waiting for Black Friday (BF), traveling, or prepping for Thanksgiving. Since we don’t have to do any of the above, you can accompany me and be my White Wednesday Angels.” My darling adolescent cherubs eye-rolled then conceded to go with me, knowing it was their only option for brick and mortar Christmas shopping. The rest of our carts would be filled online.
I hoped it would be as good as the previous Thanksgiving Eve when I stopped by the Millcreek Mall for some hand soaps and candles. It was then that I witnessed the unveiling of Black Friday products and slashed prices and stayed until closing. Every store I went to started their BF sales, so I banked in on uber-early bird bargains. There were no lines, crowds, competitions, traffic, or sleep deprivation.
Last year, the first WW with my daughters, was even better than I could have imagined. The girls and I arrived at the mall at 5:00 p.m. (not a.m.) We had no trouble finding rock star parking in a lot devoid of haphazard accidents, middle finger waves, and blaring horns. We entered the quiet mall and could hear the buzz of the fluorescent lights. The silence whispered that it was going to be a good shopping trip.
The mall was beautifully decorated for the upcoming Christmas season, but it was as silent as a snow globe. Santa took a nap since his line was empty and lap was bare. It was as if I had the whole place to ourselves, and it was dreamy.
Like the year prior, each store we went to was prepping for their Black Friday deals. Employees had mere hours to set us their store kiosks, displays, and signs for anticipated customers. Since the mall was thankfully closed on Thanksgiving, they had to get ready on Thanksgiving Eve.
Whatever was going to be offered in 36 hours was offered then and there. No mall retailers held out on giving us a freebie or discount I would have scored later. After waiting just a few minutes longer for the seasonal Christmas help to be trained, I was rewarded for my patience with future coupons. These golden tickets should not have hit my hands until BF, but, honestly, these store managers and workers aimed to please.
My girls and I still ended up with an abundance of toothpick snacks from Hickory Farms and China Max. At Starbucks, we only waited behind one cute couple named Doug and Dina. After all that, we shared an order of pretzel sticks and a lemonade. Life was lovely.
We shopped hard and turned the mall inside out. Even though we checked off so much of our Christmas lists, the girls wanted one more store beyond the mall. One more store? It was nearly 10:00 p.m., and we had a 40 minute drive home.
Those girls, proud to don the wings of White Wednesday Angels, convinced me to go to Target. That was the one place that wouldn’t start BF deals on WW. At least I had a $10-off-any-purchase-coupon, so we scored a giant box of Xtra Cheddar Flavor Blasted Goldfish Crackers, a six-pack of water, and a pack of Juicy Fruit.
We drove home and sang Michael Buble Christmas songs. We unloaded the car and lugged our purchases inside just minutes before my pumpkin spice latte wore off and the clock chimed for Thanksgiving. We hugged goodnight and thanked each other for the peaceful and productive day spent together.
Our calendars are marked for the upcoming White Wednesday, November 22, 2017. Will you be a part of it? If so, let me know how it goes.
I’m thankful for much more beyond material goods. Shopping for others and checking off lists is fun, but my heart glows with gratitude for the abundance of joys granted to us. Wishing you an amazing Thanksgiving overstuffed with love, peace, and joy.