We decided against a new television and a 5 am start, heading out around 8 instead. The stores were crowded, but not as bad as we expected them to be.
The plan was to buy just a few gifts for each child, nothing too extravagant, nothing bought just for the sake of buying junk, and most importantly, no junk.
We went in and filled our cart to overflowing. At checkout as the price hit $100 I almost lost it. I haven't spent that much money in one fell swoop like that since I started bargain shopping. Then the price topped $200 and I died right there.
We loaded up and drove over to McSodiumFat for breakfast and sat in the parking lot, despondent over the ridiculous amount of money we just spend. We tried to justify our purchases, but quickly realized that it was all just crap. Then Gary recounted a recent conversation with his brother who was justifying his own ridiculous purchase for our daughter. He bought a very expensive much coveted gift for Katherine, and explained that he did it because he knows that it is quality and will last for her childhood, unlike the plastic crap from the PlannedObsolescenceMart. It turns out that my mother had also purchased a similar but different quality, ridiculously overpriced coveted item for Katherine. Gary's brother went on to tell Gary how wise it would be to purchase the ridiculously overpriced electronic items that the boys wanted for the same reasons cited above.
There we sat, clogging our arteries while the plastic crap sat clogging up our van. We ran some numbers, including the very generous check that Super Generous Brother In Law was planning to send, and decided that the overpriced items made more sense. On the surface it seems more extravagant, but in reality we would most likely be spending LESS money overall if we bought them.
We drove back to the PlannedObsolescenceMart with the brilliant idea to return everything right now, because all the fools were buying today, not returning. The cashier told Gary that we weren't the only ones with buyers remorse...he said that a great many people made similar returns that morning. Hmm.
It was decided that we would buy a refurbished model of the ridiculously expensive electronic item, but with a bit of research and a bunch of phone calls it was determined that the refurbished models were all the older, original ones, not the new and improved models. However the store was running a Black Friday sale so the super-duper new and improved model only cost $30 more than the reconditioned one. Yeah!
I just checked my account of last year. I feel like this year we have way less than ever before, but seeing it in black and white helps to know that I already have enough crap. To quote myself last year,
"Overall it was a very nice holiday... I purposefully kept it very simple and we all enjoyed it, although everyone was still completely exhausted by the end of the day. I'm glad that it's over. Christmas will be here again before we know it."
It's true. The holidays are here again, and it is exhausting!