Black Friday -- not! An alternative to the Wal-Mart madness
"Black Friday" and "competitive shopping" seem antithetical to the phrases I think should represent this time of year. Maybe it's old-fashioned, but I prefer the "spirit of giving" over "competitive shopping;" "peace on Earth" instead of fistfights in parking lots; and "goodwill to men" rather than pepper spray aimed at fellow Wal-Mart shoppers.
The antics of greedy, bargain-crazed big-box shoppers Friday left me seriously considering my own "Don't Occupy" movement -- as in vowing that I will not set foot inside any retailer that opened its doors before shoppers had had time to sober up after a day of watching football, eating turkey and drinking the beer, wine and other spirits that probably accompanied Thanksgiving festivities. (Yeah, good idea, retail industry. Wait till people are most likely to be tanked up, herd them into crowds, work them into a frenzy thinking they'll save some bucks on limited-quantity TVs and toasters -- and what did you think was going to happen? Yes, the shoppers are to blame for their own behavior, but you need to be better prepared to stop this stuff from happening.)
My "Don't Occupy" movement will be a challenge. But I can purchase many gifts online, at mall stores that handled their crowds with aplomb and at other kinds of stores (my local grocery has some surprisingly decent possibilities). I can make a few things. I can give gift certificates for services such as manicures, massages and car washes.
And thanks to writer Susan Carpenter's story in the Image section this weekend, I have a selection of small, relatively inexpensive boutiques I can visit too. These are places with unique merchandise, decent prices, customer service and owners who are passionate about what they do. They sound downright civilized. And "civilized" is just what I am looking for this holiday season.
-- Susan Denley
Photo: Camille De Soto, owner of Lady boutique in Eagle Rock, displays her shop's collection in "closets." Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times