I've never been one to go along with the crowd. I don't know if it's pride or cantankerousness (probably a bit of both), but when masses of people say, "Let's do this, or read this, or see this," I tend to stand back, more than a little dubious. I still haven't read "The Work and the Glory" series. I only read the first book of the "Twilight" series because my son wanted me to read it with him. On that game show "Want to Be a Millionaire?," I would definitely trust the audience option last (even though, time and again, the audience has proven to get it right).
But that is not why I stay at home on so-called "Black Friday." (Okay, in all honesty, that is PART of the reason I stay home on the biggest shopping day of the year. I don't like crowds, particularly when shopping.)
It's the whole American shopping experience that I've grown to detest. As it has evolved, it has become less personal, more time oriented, and with a lot less space in which to maneuver. That may sound strange coming from someone who grew up loving the cramped souks in Baghdad and Beirut. But that was a whole different shopping experience. Lots of people go there, but they meander in small groups, never hurrying. Because there are so many little shops and stalls, you still feel as if you are a valued customer. Why? Because each shop owner treats you as if you are the most important client on earth. They offer you a chair and a cup of tea (which, when refused, they replace with your favorite soda) while they present you with their wares. It is the most hospitable way to shop and bears no resemblance to America's "Black Friday." So I guess I was spoiled.
In the souk, you can always find something unique, some artifact or trinket that seems to speak to you alone, something for which you don't have to stand in a long line out in the cold. Rather than being told by a thousand ads that this is something "you must have," you discover it like a bit of treasure. Think of the souk experience as a combination of antique shopping and Nordstrom's (where they actually wait on you, the customer). My husband thinks I like Nordstrom's because I like expensive clothes...but it's really more about the service. It harks back to childhood memories where, indeed, the customer was king.
Now, if you could find me a souk in my neck of the woods, I'd be there--even on Black Friday.