Survived Black Friday?

There are a lot of shopping blogs out there — but nothing like this.

Most of them focus on deals, shopping tips and latest trends. In The Bag will be more focused on the experience of shopping, whether that’s a pet peeve about customer service or finding the perfect gift for the dad who has everything. We may talk about the best deals we find — but the focus will be on more the finding and less on the deals.

In The Bag will feature stories by Nonstop writers and guest bloggers several times a week. Join the conversation!


I can’t say that I’m a fan of shopping on Black Friday — today — the biggest retail day of the year.

For starters, I hate shopping. I’d rather point-and-click than look for parking, fight crowds, try on clothes and stand in long lines. It’s less frustrating to wait for a website to load than to deal with pushy shoppers and irate sales associates who wish they were somewhere but working at the mall.

I mean, who wants to fight with what some industry folks are estimating to be as many as 138 million shoppers hitting malls across the country this weekend, 4 million more than last year, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal? Not me.

And yet it’s 12:45 a.m. on Black Friday and I’m contemplating which malls to hit in a few hours.

It’s not because I have a long list of Christmas gifts and a limited budget, where fighting crowds at Walmart (above) is worthwhile. I want to go because, well, it seems like a lot of fun.

I’ve covered Black Friday for The Honolulu Advertiser, when I was a city reporter there. I got to talk to people who left their Thanksgiving dinners early to wait in line at Circuit City or Toys “R” Us to get the latest electronics and toys at the lowest possible prices. They were into it, sitting in line on lawn chairs and coolers filled with enough snacks and caffeinated beverages to last them a week. And I thought to myself, “One day, I’m going to do this, too.”

There’s something exciting about being part of an event like this, where you’re chasing sales, talking strategy with other shoppers and suffering along with everyone else — crowded parking lots, long lines, rain, stores running out of the sale items — that makes you feel you’re part of something so much bigger than you. (Or your wallet.)

I’ve already set my alarm and packed my bag, ready to take on the determined shoppers out there, who will likely be gone — and with all the good stuff — by the time I hit the mall at 4 a.m.

But at least I was there.

— Nonstop blogger and freelance writer Catherine E. Toth didn’t think she was much of a shopper — until she saw her credit card statement last month.



In the bag