Defending the rush

There are two types of people who object to Black Friday, says Bark M., and he has a refutation for both:

First, you have the “don’t ever spend a dime because you’re going to be old someday” people. Let me think … would I rather die with $5M in the bank, or would I rather enjoy my youth? Has anybody ever been sad that they bought their dream car? Has anybody ever regretted a trip to Europe? There’s a difference between charging yourself into oblivion and simply enjoying your money while you can. I’ve been guilty of overspending a bit at times, but I have priceless memories that made it worth it. Yes, I put my kids’ Disney trip on a credit card (SHOCK). No, I didn’t pay it off immediately (DOUBLE SHOCK). Do I regret it? Not one bit.

I’m already old. And while I didn’t go shopping that day, I am allergic to crowds, and I’m still working on getting myself out of the hole. Still, I can’t dispute this premise: the only person who regrets buying his dream car is the one who overspent to get it. See next paragraph.

Second, you have the “I don’t need or desire material things” crowd. Sorry, but for ninety-nine percent of people, that’s nonsense. The people who say that are mostly the people who can’t afford the material things. Yes, I know you have an uncle who looks dirt poor but could pay cash for a Maybach anytime he wanted. Yes, I know what you think of people who make $40K a year and lease 320is. But you can’t tell me that there isn’t something that you could buy RIGHT NOW that would make you happier, even if only short term. Other than non-emotional things like toilet paper, everything I buy, I buy it because I enjoy it.

If you ever run out of toilet paper, it suddenly becomes emotional. Trust me on this.

I wrote this three years ago:

Now admittedly there are a few gadgets I covet now and then, and I still buy the occasional book or “record” album. But, to rework a phrase of Barack Obama’s, I’m starting to believe there’s a point where you’ve accumulated enough stuff. I have a whole room full of stuff that I haven’t been able to get organized in eight years, and I am loath to add to it if I can help it. (Is it really necessary for me to have every issue of Entertainment Weekly? It didn’t matter so much for the first few years, but with issue #1200 imminent — well, you get the idea. I blame Jeff Jarvis.)

Note: EW is now well into the 1400s.


  1. McGehee »

    4 December 2014 · 11:33 pm

    I’ve gotten much happier since I started making myself save up cash for my covetables.

    It’s virtue cheaply bought, but at least I’m deferring gratification again. I’d found that being able to put any old thing on plastic was … empty.

  2. fillyjonk »

    5 December 2014 · 5:09 am

    I also find a lot of the objectors-to-Black-Friday-shopping-on-philosophical-grounds are not just interested in telling you why THEY don’t shop, they want to tell YOU not to shop as well. Ideally, ever.

  3. McGehee »

    5 December 2014 · 10:23 am

    I just want everybody else to not shop when I’m shopping.

    Is that really too much to ask?

  4. CGHill »

    5 December 2014 · 11:40 am

    Goldie Hawn on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In: “Why don’t they move Christmas to July, when the stores aren’t so crowded?”

  5. Charles Pergiel »

    5 December 2014 · 12:30 pm

    I like bookstores and tool stores, but these day I mostly buy stuff from Amazon. Is Amazon any worse than big box retailers?

    Looked up Jeff Jarvis. He sounded interesting until I looked at his stuff. Each TWIT show is an hour and a half. Who has time for that? And he writes endlessly. My attention span is not that long.

  6. backwoods conservative »

    5 December 2014 · 4:31 pm

    “Bother,” said Pooh, and stayed home on Black Friday.

  7. McGehee »

    5 December 2014 · 4:44 pm

    Pooh is wise.

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