I don’t hate Black Friday. I’d much rather put something on layaway and then pick it up a week before Christmas, or just do all my shopping in October, which I did this year. Just about all of it, barring specific requests for things, came from either Etsy, other small e-tailers, Ebay, or antique stores. I don’t partake, myself, in getting up before dawn and hitting the stores for deals, but I know people who do it and enjoy it. It’s like a ritual, almost like a sporting event. Having gotten caught up in some pretty weird stuff myself I can’t exactly mock.
What I do hate, though, is the coverage of Black Friday, the frantic stories about people lining up, trampling each other, getting into fights, the basic tone that this is insane SO THEN WHY ARE YOU COVERING IT? The total lack of editorial standards that dictate that every TV station has to have a reporter at a Wal-Mart at 3 a.m. and every newspaper has to lead off stories with projections about how much money we’ll all make or not make and what that says abou the economy … all of it in that “and isn’t consumerist Christmas terrible” tone that says we should all be very ashamed of ourselves while feeling vaguely guilty for not spending more.
And while I can usually ignore the bullshit, more and more it seeps into online where I can’t escape. So as an antidote, a sort of middle ground between those of us who love gift giving but can’t deal with the stampedes, I’d like a suggestion thread for your favorite non-chain, on- or off-line places to pick up something special. They don’t have to be Christmas gifts only, after all, people get sick or need care packages or have birthdays or graduations all year round. So gimme your favorites. A few of mine: