For shoppers with an attitude, partial to huge discounts that is, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, both on the heels of Thanksgiving Day, are not to be missed. This is especially so in 2008, with the economy practically in the gutters, and consumer confidence, in shambles. The logical conclusion is that businesses would go the extra length to entice the consumers to part with their dollars, hopefully stimulating the economy back on track through spending (it was reported in today's St. Pete Times that consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of the economy).
Well, as it turned out, if my experience at Staples is anything to go by, the result is at best ho-hum. I have never been one to wake up in the wee hours in the morning, and to join the throng of people staking their stand in front of the shop doors. Rather, I prefer to saunter in at earthly hours to just try my luck. And that's what I did on Black Friday, finding myself in the relatively thin crowd in Staples shortly after 8am.
However, the preparation on the night prior was no less intense, diligently poring over the sales brochures, meticulously comparing the offered prices, and dutifully circling the items to be procured.
And the convoluted path to making an item appearing on my wish list, or unceremoniously dropped, days before was at times nerve wrecking, and at others, illuminating in the sense that reason has prevailed. You see, a big item on my list is a HDTV, especially when it can be gotten for under 1K these days. After paring down my list, primarily based on price, I had marked a Polaroid 42in 1080P LCD HDTV offered by Walmart as the final selection. The next few days were spent in a recurring discussion with Wify on the practicality of the buy. Her points: our 37in analog TV bought five years ago is still delivering great images and sound (obviously she has not seen the intensively detailed images delivered by a HDTV or chose to ignore it. After all she is due to for a cataract operation soon and her vision is less capable of differentiation right now). Then she would refer to my blog here (need to have versus love to have) at various times, insinuatinging that I should walk the talk. Oops, a taste of my own medicine. I did not concede defeat right away, coming out with different suites of concessions to soften the blow as it were, like that will be the absolute last thing that I will buy for the year. Or we can place the new TV in our bedroom for bedtime viewing. But Wify was steadfast, even despite my efforts to put on a hurt look, what being the sole breadwinner of the house and yet having to be vetoed in decisions on household procurement. It seemed like the attrition was coming to a head with no backing down on either side, which is quite rare these days.
Then on the morning of Black Friday when I woke up and was engaging in an inner battle whether to still have my own way, I suddenly had a moment of clarity, bordering on enlightenment. And Wify's admonishment on making sound choices was making sense. Visual enjoyment is just that. Instead, we should be appreciating the fact that we are not visually impaired, and rejoicing at our good fortune of even having a TV to watch in the nice comfort of home. I began to re-evaluate my buy list to be in line with genuine needs and yet ensuring the best bang for the buck. In the end, in place of the HDTV, I bought some computer peripherals: a 640 GB harddisk to archive our picture and video collections; a color laser printer to print out Wify's painting works (right now we have an inkjet printer); a 7” digital photo frame to display Wify's scanned paintings while she is at work to augment the experience of immersion; a digital camera so that we can pass on our current one to WT; a bunch of photo frames and canvas arts frames for Wify to display her works and to paint on.; and a set of four cordless phones to be placed strategically around the house for accessibility. And all that, still with some to spare compared to if I had purchased the HDTV.
In future, I will always think back on this Black Friday, especially the revealing moment of truth that I had been through, sitting at the edge of the bed, and the understanding nod from Wify when I broke the news of having risen above the shackles of self-centered indulgence to her (I think she knows in her heart that I would always eventually come around, despite my posturing). And any decision making emanating from that is going to be effortless since it is guided by meeting the larger good.
Wify's immersive painting environment, taken with the newly acquired Nikon Coolpix L18. Some of the new purchases are visible at the back.