Another Black Friday, Another Year I Didn’t Buy a Single Thing

By Kat Holleran

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Photo Courtesy of J. Crew

As Told by a Former Compulsive Shopper

I’ve never shopped on Black Friday. This is despite the fact that, when I was seventeen, I would visit one of my three shopping spots an obscene amount of times each week (think four out of the seven days). These spots included: the mall, which was conveniently ten minutes from my school; a street called Coventry, which houses my favorite thrift stores and was fifteen minutes from my school; and the town closest to where I live, that boasts upscale boutiques and is ten minutes from my house. I was a solitary girl who spent her free time studying, shopping, and sitting (babysitting, that is).

I’m also a person who experiences immense guilt whenever I do something stupid–the kind of debilitating guilt that prevents me from making rational decisions once I’ve made a stupid one. What’s /weird/ is that most people who consider themselves compulsive shoppers probably don’t experience a lot of guilt, as this is what allows them to buybuybuy without either regretting spending money or realizing they bought something they’ll never wear. But, you see, when I was seventeen I kind of hated myself and thus was unable to care that I was constantly putting myself into a manic rut by buying things I didn’t need and constantly checking my bank account to make sure it wasn’t empty.

It is this compulsive shopping→ guilt→ shopping more to make myself feel better→ guilt cycle, along with frighteningly large crowds, that has kept me away from Black Friday in the past. I guess I could rouse enough self-respect to keep myself from entering the self-hate shitstorm that would be me in the mall on a Black Friday.

Something was different this year about my reason to abstain from the beloved consumerwhore holiday. After Thanksgiving dinner, I checked Fashionista to see where the best online sales would be and, come midnight, was browsing Net-A-Porter, Intermix, J.Crew (40% off!), and Need Supply to see if there was anything I liked. At midnight on Friday night, I felt no sense of urgency. I had put things in my shopping carts–CUTE things, at that. Yet I held back. When I woke up Saturday morning, I felt no remorse or contempt for missing out on the deals.

Let me tell you, this is huge. As someone who was previously unable to differentiate between need and want (because I obviously needed everything I wanted), not buying the things I found online on Black Friday simply because I knew I didn’t need them and would be buying them to ‘save’ money is a really big personal feat.

As for Cyber Monday… well that’s a different story.

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