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Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday

Now that Thanksgiving is over, a number of my friends are braving the crowds at stores around the country, trying to get those best deals. Some began as early as 5 am, and on last night's news I was astonished to see film footage of crowds and long lines on Thanksgiving Day. One lady was even eating her Thanksgiving dinner on a paper plate in a parking lot, between shopping.

I don't remember ever being actively engaged in Black Friday and shopping deals. And for more than a decade, my holiday ritual has been to create a family calendar, which I give to each of my relatives. The calendar has photographs of family members in each month. I used to beg for new photographs and then scanned them, but with Facebook it's become so easy to pop onto my relatives' pages and save the photographs I want to use.

My father spent many, many years working on our genealogy and I add those dates, as well as wedding dates, birth dates, and other important dates, to each month. I use Microsoft Publisher, which has a great set of calendar templates. Afterward, I email the file to my wonderful neighborhood PostNet in Lumberton, North Carolina, and they make the copies I need on 14" long by 11" wide paper, staple it, and punch the holes for hanging.

I won't do much if any shopping in stores, and for those things I'll buy, the Internet loves me. :)

However, I remember when my writing career was just beginning how I was scheduled to sign books from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve. My first suspense was published when I lived in the Richmond, Virginia area. Within 30 minutes of my home there were scores of book stores, from small independents (who were fabulous to work with, and who frequently recommended my books when I wasn't there), to chain stores like Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, and the now defunct B. Dalton, Waldenbooks, and Tower Books.

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I began book signings in earnest on Black Friday, and was scheduled at four different stores on that day alone. One signing at Potomac Mills led to the plot behind Ricochet, my third suspense. I was also scheduled at a Barnes and Noble on a Friday evening at 10:00 pm once, because they were located in the mall's outparcel and when the mall closed, the crowds descended on their store, which remained open until midnight.

From Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve, I signed in too many stores to count, primarily on Friday evenings, all day Saturday, and Sunday afternoons.

Since moving to Lumberton, I find with the closing of Waldenbooks that we don't have a book store in the entire county. The closest one is 45 minutes away in Fayetteville. Others are more than an hour and a half away in Wilmington, Myrtle Beach or Raleigh. I used to travel throughout the United States on book tours but in recent years, I've been doing many more virtual book tours, where I can visit with fans and readers from all over the world.

Are you braving the Black Friday crowds today? Will you buy most of your holiday gifts in stores, or online? And will you buy books as gifts?

I'd love to hear your comments on the holiday season and your buying habits.


Joyce said...

I did the black Friday shopping madness twice, I think, and I went to work right afterwards both times. There was the thrill of getting that special item for my son, that I thought he would want, but those times were also fraught with the anxiety of maybe not getting that item and the frustration of having to deal with crowds where common courtesy and patience were left at the door. Having worked in retail for most of my adult life, I never get why shoppers are so darn grumpy and feel as if the stores' staff are their personal punching verbal punching bags. I don't do the black Friday madness anymore, thank the goddess, I found that I could get just as good or even better buys after the madness has passed.

p.m.terrell said...

Joyce, thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. You have a very good point about the deals being better after the madness has passed. They ran a story on that on the news this weekend, and it turns out many of those deals were matched during previous holidays - they're nothing special. I really don't feel like I am "missing out" in any way since I didn't join in the Black Friday shopping frenzy. Like you, I am thankful I no longer participate!

maggiethom said...

I so avoid black Friday and all the deals. I don't think it's quite the same here in Canada but I still don't go near the stores or the deals. Not worth it. Way too stressful. And there is really nothing I need that much to venture into that madness. :)