Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Now? Make That Never

At 5 a.m. this Friday, I was not to be found at any department store. I was sleeping "like a baby, endlessly rocking, gone from this world of cares," as Keith Donohue eloquently stated in his novel Angels of Destruction. I was not online after eating apple crisp Thanksgiving Day looking for deals on electronics, jewelry or apparel. An NBC News piece showed how you can take your over-priced gadget to the store and shop for even higher priced gadgets to get the best "deal." Even amid the Great Recession, upgrading from what we already have seems to be a national obsession.

Was Lucy on A Charlie Brown Christmas right - is Christmas run by a big Eastern syndicate?

Instead of running around a mall, I'm supporting the economy by....

Patronizing main street, independent restaurants, like Chapala Grill, in Bergenfield, New Jersey, which I picked to try for a belated birthday dinner my friend treated me to.

Feasting on vegetarian fajitas, $11.95, and a pineapple margarita, $6. We also took advantage of a 15% off coupon for the food items in the mail.

Giving business to the town cinema (this one in Westwood, New Jersey), which supplies jobs to local youths. In good times and bad, movies make a fun escape for all ages. Harry Potter: loved!

Donating to and shopping at charitable thrift shops (find one through While dropping off donations at a thrift shop of Housing Works, which helps homeless HIV-positive New Yorkers access medical services, housing, and employment, I picked up a brand new copy of Little House on the Prairie, a 6-disk season 1, for $18. I'll pass this on to a relative who so cherishes this show (as do I), not as a Christmas gift, but simply, "I saw this and thought of you at once gift."

Supporting animal friendly establishments, like New York City's all-vegan Blossom Cafe, where I dined after the Macy's Parade balloon inflation viewing.

Their seitan marsala: sautéed kale, roasted fennel, Yukon gold mash, mushrooms, and pan sauce, $21. A humane version of a dish more associated with chicken or veal. I shared the dish to off-set the high (for me) price of the entree.

I also shared their chocolate cake, $6: always a winner.

Supporting local food drives, like the one at my church. Find a local food bank through Feeding America. In Northern New Jersey, donate to the Center for Food Action.

Buying a charitable gift for a child in need. My church has an "Operation Santa Claus" program where you can purchase a gift (two gift suggestions are offered). I will be hitting Target to pick up the gift card that was requested - but to me, this is what holiday shopping is about - charity and children.

I also plan on attending a Colonial Christmas concert at the Bergen County Historical Society; purchasing Sting's If on a Winter's Night cd at an independent, main street record shop; having a tea party to celebrate the winter solistice, and will mail checks to any of my favorite charitites I haven't yet given to this year.

Depriving the economy by not shopping till I drop at the mall? I don't think so.


ConsciouslyFrugal said...

Omg!! They have "Little House on the Prairie" on DVD now? I didn't know! I'm about to fall over myself in glee.

I have to confess: I did some shopping this Black Friday. The first time in my 37 years. I felt dirty and gross after. I needed to buy some nuts for the soldiers I send goodies to through Adopt a Platoon. Post T-day, there was no farmers market. So, we went to...Walmart (it's right next to the Friday market). And then, I used a Groupon at the Body Shop. I still can't get the funk off of me. Not only did I shop on that hellish day, I went to chains!!

But at least the soldiers will have some treats in a few weeks. Right? Right?! Feh.

Catherine @ The Vegan Good Life said...

I know, so exciting! My library system owns many copies, I just discovered, and I will be requesting some for a trip to Plum Creek.

That troops gift sounds great! Living in Bergen County, New Jersey, home to an excessive number of malls, my overall message isn't don't go to them (or chains) ever. I am just insulted by the notion in the media we have to shop our way out of the bad economy by purchasing high-end electronics (while many of the still-working electronics go into the landfill); and am challenging the excessive spending people feel pressured into. I wonder if polled how many of those people on line at Best Buy at 4 a.m. have credit card debt?

There are far too many "For Rent" signs on main streets, so as often as possible, mom and pop shops, local artisans, restaurants, thrift shops and such are great to support as much as we can. Like our diets, our shopping habits need not be perfect , but we can do the best we can!

Chessbuff said...

How did you like Chappala Grill? My wife and I tried it for lunch, on a weekday, and wasn't pleased with its ambiance. The food was okay. I don't have the desire to go back there since I didn't truly enjoyed my lunch there.

Catherine @ The Vegan Good Life said...

I went on a Friday night. My friend and I agreed the food at La Batalla down the road is more authentic. But wanted to give it a try. Back to La Batalla.