I have mixed feelings about Black Friday. As a teen, I avoided the shopping on principle. Then again, I was also much better at shopping locally, seeking out unique items, and shopping throughout the year. I don't know if it was more time or more opportunity to shop from living in a big city. I was really anti-conglomerate as a teen.
Years later, I have moved all around the country. And, like it or not, the continuity of chain stores has made it easier to shop there than locally. In my own small town, the stores have fairly limited hours, and I just don't make it in much other than during the summer.
Side note: I try to avoid Walmart on principle, even though it's the only big-box in my town. I usually try to combine trips to Target with other trips out of town to save gas.
These days, I do a little casual Black Friday shopping. We spend each Thanksgiving in Iowa with Matt's family, so I see Black Friday as a chance for some bonding with my mother in law. We wait until "late" to head out; we usually leave between 9.30 and 10 am. By then, most of the stores aren't too crowded. Kohls is more busy than usual, but Target was just fine today.
My other benefit from doing Black Friday down here is that I can pick up Christmas and birthday presents for my nieces and nephew, wrap them up, and leave them here so there is no shipping here for Christmas. Plus, I get to see what the kids are into before I go spend money on them. This year, purchases were Home Alone (the movie) and a puzzle for the 7 year old, tumbling classes for the 5 year old (so excited for this!), and a Little People set for the 1 year old.
I always am sure to thank the employees for working. I appreciate them being there for the day. I do refuse to shop on Thanksgiving, and I don't like the 3 am shopping either. I would like for people to spend at least some of the holidays with their family. But I am glad to have this opportunity to get a little shopping done and know I picked up items the kids will like.
Some day, I hope to know my area well enough (and the kids) to get back into more meaningful local shopping. But in the mean time, this tradition is working well.