UNITED STATES—It has been tradition for my family that we shop the day after Thanksgiving for as long as I can recall. The past few years have been slightly different because I’ve had to work my day job. This year the family went out on Saturday instead of Friday, and I must say the older I get the more I veer away from wanting to deal with the massive crowds. Why? Hmm, let’s see people tend to think they are invisible inside a shopping mall.

I hate when people walk super slow and sway when they walk blocking others from maneuvering around them. Guess what? That is just plain rude and annoying as hell. If you’re going to leisurely walk to the side, you cannot take up all the walking space. The weekend after Thanksgiving is some of the busiest times of year for retailers, I hate to say this, but I am going to say it, leave your kids at home. You don’t need to bring your kids out shopping if you don’t have time.

The fact that so many kids are acting a complete fool in public, running in stores, crying, whining, and just doing what kids do, it is just so beyond annoying. I get when some parents don’t have a choice, but if you have a choice, leave your kids at home. Why? Some parents just let their toddlers wander around. You have hundreds perhaps thousands of people walking in a mall, you don’t want your child to get lost. Eliminate the stress if you don’t have to. Ask a relative, a sibling to watch the kids for a few hours if possible.

For me, Black Friday is a bonding opportunity with family that I haven’t seen in weeks or months. It is actually fun to bond while spending money when possible. The problem with Black Friday shopping is the money can be spent very fast and before you know it, you might want to pull out the ole credit card, but resist if all possible. How can I say that? I easily spent $50 bucks within 15 minutes at two retailers. I did get good deals so I’m not complaining it is just the fact that money can easily escape your pockets and hands when you’re shopping.

With that said, I went to a particular retailer where I was looking for some specific gifts that I managed to find. I stood in this massive line and then when I get to the register, the cashier indicates, “Oh, our credit card system is not properly working.” Like are you kidding me, there was no way you could mention this to the consumers as they enter the store? I just waited like 20 minutes in line and I didn’t get to purchase anything. It had nothing to do with me not wanting to purchase something, I wanted to use my store credit card because I paid it off and had money to spend.

I’m not using my hard-earned cash if I don’t have to. So the retailer lost a sale as a result. I thought it was poor customer service, especially for a retailer where I have spent quite a bit of money in recent years. You want to show appreciation to your customers, not annoy them, especially on a weekend like Black Friday where the chaos at the retail stores is literally that, chaos. Some of the stores I visited had a line to get into the store, and guess what, I like that, I love that this sort of became a trend as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Why? It makes it so much easier to shop for items without the store being crowded to capacity.

I was surprised to see so many people utilizing cash on their purchases. I cannot recall the last time I saw so much green, but it was a good sign to me. People wanted to spend, but at the same time it notes that inflation might not be hurting the pockets of Americans as much as we suspect. With that said, it is not great that some of the retailers are charging the consumer for gift boxes. Like really? If a person just spent hundreds of dollars, are you not capable of giving a single box without charging the consumer?

There were some that wanted me to pay for boxes and I just refused, I mean come on be a bit generous when possible, that is the least the retailer can do. I will not spill how much I spent on Saturday, but I was pleased with my purchases, I got nearly 90 percent of my Christmas shopping complete and just have a few more gifts to purchase and I’m done! This might be the earliest I’ve completed all of my Xmas shopping in perhaps two decades and that makes me quite pleased.

No stress about that last minute shopping or finding the perfect gift for the hard to purchase family member. I am losing my patience though waiting in lines at retailers. In the past, it used to be something I had no qualms about doing, but with each birthday I find myself saying, “Is it worth it?” I would love to give you the answer, but I still don’t have it.