Black Friday shopping

Shoppers stream into the electronics department as they begin their Black Friday shopping adventure at Nebraska Furniture Mart, 700 S. 72nd St. in Omaha, on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016.

When it comes to Black Friday shopping, most people fall into one of two categories — those who live for it and those who could live without it.

Personally, I fall into the latter category. Black Friday shopping is one of the few societal holiday traditions I just can’t seem to get on board with. As hard as I’ve tried to make sense of it, I’ve never understood waking up at the butt-crack of dawn to fight people for a few deals.

I know not everyone is interested in scoring the best deals on the hottest gadgets of the season; many people actually enjoy the bonding experience the holiday offers. But for me, the day is likely to cause more anxiety than it is to be a fun-filled experience.

Here are five of the main reasons I avoid shopping on Black Friday.

1. My own personal experience. The main reason I avoid Black Friday shopping is because I used to work retail. What’s more is I used to work at one of the largest retailers — Wal-mart. And while I only worked there a few years, you can bet each year of my employment included working this sordid holiday. And I’ve never really gotten over these somewhat painful memories — the early morning wake-up call and the endless stream of shoppers — so I choose not to relive it, regardless of what side of the cash register I am on.

2. I don’t care for large crowds. Truth be told, I am terribly claustrophobic. The idea of dealing with a large crowd can cause me a lot of anxiety. This makes shopping on Black Friday extremely stressful for me and not something I choose to do often. The few times I have attempted to make it out were cut short due to the experience being both frustrating and overwhelming. For that reason, I tend to just avoid it altogether.

3. I prefer shopping online. Shopping online allows me to do so at my own pace and in the comfort of my own home. While I might not find as many great deals, the experience is more pleasant and causes me much less anxiety. And as online shopping becomes more mainstream, many retailers offer discounts and free shipping throughout the holiday season as a way to entice shoppers like myself to continue making purchases online rather than in the brick and mortar stores.

4. It starts too early. Personally, I don’t like that Black Friday now starts on Thanksgiving night. While I didn’t exactly enjoy heading to work in the wee hours of Friday morning, I feel this recent trend puts the emphasis in the wrong place. Because of this, there are many families who cannot enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday because their family members who work in retail positions must instead leave early to take care of holiday shoppers.

5. It can bring out the worst in people. Year after year, I read stories about people who get violent with one another over limited quantities of the year’s hottest items. Sadly, I’ve noticed that most of the time, these people are parents and the items in question are toys for their children. In my opinion, that type of behavior doesn’t exactly scream holiday spirit.

Do you shop on Black Friday? Why or why not?

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Amanda Smith, a working mom of two children, writes weekly for momaha.com. Read more from Amanda »

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