Unless you have been hiding under a very substantial rock, you already know the Saturday after Thanksgiving is “Shop Small Saturday.” This year it comes on Nov. 30. The idea originated a few years ago as a response to the Black Friday sales held by big box stores and online companies.
Not long ago we waited eagerly for the Friday after Thanksgiving to go into town to shop, or at least window shop. Some stores made exciting by covering their showcase windows with butcher paper, making us wonder what would be revealed.
Many larger department stores set up their Santa’s Village, including a sign to announce that the red-clad North Pole denizen and a few elves would arrive on Friday. We experienced the delicious luxury of waiting. When the day came there was a frenzy of activity. Parking spaces were at a premium, sidewalks were crowded and stores were a madhouse of shoppers and employees. It may have left grown-ups exhausted and heading for the Tom ‘n’ Jerry mix, but we children loved it.
Then someone came up with the idea of firing the starting gun on the annual conspicuous consumer craziness at midnight on Thanksgiving.
You know that drill: rush through the Thanksgiving meal and dash to the mall or big box store to stand outside in miserable weather to be one of the first to stampede through the door to get a bargain. It’s a bit like a rugby scrum, but with too many players on the field. In the words of her late Britannic Majesty, “We are not amused.”
Thank goodness for Shop Small Saturday. There is something incredibly civilized about walking into a non-chain store, being greeted by the owner or employees, and finding a gift that isn’t cranked out by the millions and shipped to this country. We can find something made by a craftsperson or artisan that is special for us and the gift’s recipient.
I avoid shopping from corporations or ordering gifts that come in big brown boxes with lots of packing. What have any of these sellers done for those of us living in Saugatuck, Douglas, and the township? What joy is there in giving the same thing a few million other people are giving as gifts?
We have an opportunity to do a lot of good for our local economy, the people to whom we are giving gifts and ourselves.
So get out your pen, pencil or electronic calendar, mark Saturday, Nov. 30, and have a wonderful time exploring our own area for holiday shopping.