I’m anti-Black Friday. For days I’ve been posting things on Facebook about buying local or staying home instead of mobbing the big-box retailers at oh-dark-thirty for whatever this year’s “must-have” gift items are. The whole notion of storming the gates of retail to get all the holiday shopping over with in one mad blur leaves me puzzled.
That’s because when I shop, I like to enjoy shopping.
I want to linger. I want to talk to someone. I want to get a good look at what I’m buying, for heaven’s sake. And if it’s a gift, I want to spend some time thinking about whether it’s just right for the person who will receive it. None of that happens on Black Friday as it now takes place.
I recently took a survey put together by one of the Washington State University interior design students. Among other questions, she asked for a description of what makes for an ideal shopping event. I wish I had saved what I wrote there because I came up with quite the list. I’ll do what I can to recreate it—
- I want to feel as if the owner and/or people engaged in the transaction know and love the products they sell.
- I want to feel welcome whether or not I look as if I will buy anything.
- I want it to smell nice (which for me means not full of plastic-y off-gassing or mustiness–better yet, a nice smell that makes me think of something delicious or something beautiful).
- I want to stumble on some little unexpected find I wasn’t looking for that is just right.
- I want to enjoy time with friends and drink some good coffee as part of the experience.
- Ideally the shopping is part of a process of discovery on my bike—I’ve never had so much fun shopping as I have on the Bikespeditions I hatched this summer.
And guess what? Along with the lovely ladies of Belles and Baskets, I’ve put together a little event for this Friday that accomplishes quite a few items on the list.
I didn’t manage to get the “funky discovery of some new shop I’ve never heard of that I fall in love with” element that was also on my list. But with a bike ride mid-morning, coffee and conversation at The Shop on South Perry after, then some light shopping at my house with all the Bike Style goodies from this summer on display—plus new fabrics in Po Campo bags and Nuu-Muus/Ruu-Muus—I’ve come as close as I can get without mounting a full Bikespedition.
I’ll put some Green Bluff cider in the Crockpot, make some hot, tasty Roast House Coffee, and set out a goodie or two for snacking. You can try on a Nuu-Muu (two new fabrics just in!), see if the new helmet covers from Hub and Bespoke in Seattle (available in black or cranberry cotton velveteen) look awesome on your helmet, and talk bikes with whoever’s there.
If you do head out into the shopping madness and burn out–or if it’s the family madness at home you need to escape–I hope you’ll come have fun with us!
11 a.m.: Meet at The Shop. The Belles and Baskets ride assumes the weather will cooperate, and at this point it looks as if it will be cold but sunny.
We’ll do a short loop with a long-loop option for those who want more of a hill climb.
Officially 2-6 p.m.: Stop by my house* for a drop-in Bike Style shopping event. I’ll have the usual product assortment I had at the various bike events in Spokane over the summer (on sale) plus some new jewelry, helmet covers, and ear covers. (I say “officially” at 2 p.m. because whoever comes on the Belles and Baskets ride is welcome to head on over to my house whenever we start breaking up.)
If you’re thinking, “Oh, I shouldn’t buy things for myself this time of year—I’m shopping for others,” I’ll offer up a special Shopping Helper service. Come shop, make notes about what you want, and tell me who to email the list to. I’ll take care of it and you’ll know that at least one important gift recipient—you—has been taken care of in the manner you deserve.