Thursday, December 1, 2011

Family Friday

I rarely take vacations and only celebrate major events (like birthdays) when schedules permit my family to assemble, since celebrations are more about the people present than the day of the event.

Thanksgiving weekend is one of those dates when everyone's celebration schedules coincide.  It's common to travel on Wednesday, to spend Thursday preparing a meal together, and to take Friday as a vacation day.

This year, I received fewer than 50 email on Friday, November 25, down from my usual daily count of 1000-1500 messages.

I believe that shopping during the holidays is a contact sport.   Traffic slows to crawl , tempers boil, and now there's even pepper spray to worry about.

Unless some twisted souls think of Black Friday as entertainment, I believe the concept should be replaced by Family Friday.

Talk a walk, go to the zoo, play Apples to Apples, talk about the future, have a Kazoo concert.

My experience with discounts, sales, and bargains is that they will be offered again or tempt you to buy something unnecessary.   A designer tie that's discounted 50% is no bargain if you have enough ties already.

I do not reserve my shopping for any particular day of the year or align it with any retailer's event.

Instead, I use Consumer Reports  to identify high value products - good quality at reasonable prices.   I buy few things, but always buy them to last, given that the real expense is churn - buying a poor quality item 10 times is generally more expensive than buying a good quality item once and keeping it for years.

My Prius has 120,000 miles on it and likely will be fine through 200,000 miles.   I'll replace it when its total cost of ownership exceeds the value of a replacement, regardless of the date on which that occurs.

I realize there are implications to discouraging a retail frenzy on Black Friday.  Sales imply profits which create jobs.

However, if we consider the big picture - that the US needs to move away from a consumer economy back to one in which we create innovative products and services that the world wants to buy, we'll not need Black Friday.

So let's spend time with our families next Black Friday and focus on innovation at work next Cyber Monday.

Our country and our sense of well being will be better for it.

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