America’s most revered holiday—Black Friday—is just days away, and families across the country are gearing up for the season of giving. Actually, make that “give me.”
A few days ago, two women in San Diego got in line (yes, more than 10 days before Thanksgiving) outside a Best Buy to ensure they would be first in to snag the big fancy loss-leader TV. The news showed pictures of them literally camped out (complete with a tent) in front of the store, sitting in umbrella chairs with a cooler and a big tin of Pringles between them. It’s important to keep your strength up when you’re sitting around for over a week waiting for a store to open. (And I’m sorry, but these women clearly spend way too much time in front of their current television sets.) When the security guard asked them to move, they went to another Best Buy.
Who has this much free time? Do they work? And if not, how can they afford a huge new flat screen TV?
And more importantly, where are their kids?
I know, foolish question. Their kids are no doubt wishfully texting Santa with copious holiday gift demands, er, requests that defy our disastrous economy. My friend’s daughter recently showed me her dream gift in the American Girl® catalog: An American Girl McKenna Dream Loft Bedroom. For just $225 you get a loft bed with ladder, a chair, faux accessories, a pillow for McKenna’s pet goldendoodle Cooper (sold separately) and — I could not make this stuff up — an “encouragement” mirror.
McKenna herself, of course, is also sold separately. But who could resist her? The catalog shows her in all her stylish cuteness, standing in her Dream Loft Bedroom with one leg in an ultra-fashionable cast and leaning on an adorable pair of crutches (cast and crutches sold separately–payment plans available).
I had to wonder: Did she break her leg falling out of her Dream Loft?
I asked my friend if there were any chance the family would be adding McKenna’s Dream Loft Bedroom to their existing home and, because she is fiscally responsible, she laughed and said that if she were going to spend several hundred bucks on a bed, her daughter had better be the one sleeping in it. And that she’d rather give her kids memorable experiences, like sledding with their cousins, than stuff.
I wanted to hug her.
Sure, we all like stuff. Especially new shiny stuff. But what are we telling our children when we make waiting in line for stuff more important than anything else? When stores open their doors at 8pm on Thanksgiving evening and families cut their celebrations short so they can go shopping? When people have literally been trampled, paralyzed and even killed at Black Friday sales? What stuff is worth that?
Ask McKenna. Maybe she’ll let you borrow her American Girl Dream Ambulance and Riot Control Squad.