The Best Deal

I hate shopping.

I hate crowds.

Hence I should hate Black Friday shopping.

But I don’t. Well, I hated one Black Friday.

Normally I look forward to Black Friday, but not for the same reason most people do. I don’t get up at the butt crack of dawn to stand in line next to a pallet in WalMart hoping to score a TV for $3.  I don’t head out in the middle of the night to snag a deal at Target. I don’t camp out at Best Buy for steals on electronics.

Nope. I go with my mom, someone who also is not a fan of shopping.

Now don’t get me wrong. We both like buying things; we just don’t like to do the stereotypical girl shopping trip thing. Neither of us enjoys scouring racks of clothing for the “perfect” dress. We only go to stores when we need something.  Not just to “browse”. We are not browsers.

So anyway, we go Black Friday shopping every year.

We go around 9:30 long after the “crazies” have left the stores. We don’t go armed with tazers or ready to punch someone out over towels.  Armed with lists we planned out in the days before of exactly what we want to get for whom and what stores we need to go to, we start our yearly routine.

First we go to the dying mall in our town where we hit Younkers because everything in the whole store is always on sale. In fact, this year I got about $250 worth of items for under $100.  After Younkers (which takes about an hour), it’s time for a coffee/cookie break and usually a quick stop at Dunham’s for golf balls.

Then it’s time for the stand alone stores. We avoid Kohls at all costs because it breeds insanity. Instead we head to Shoe Carnival, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Barnes & Noble because they are all in the same strip. Barnes & Noble means an extended latte/pastry break where we re-evaluate our lists and chit chat.  Then I wander the store sniffing lusting over buying books for as many people as I possibly can.

The last stores we hit are Target and Michael’s because they are right next to each other. Michael’s is not a yearly stop, but this year we hit it up because it had inexpensive craft supplies for a certain 4-year old’s stocking.

Target is where the magic happens, as usual.

Our cart gets so loaded up that we have to do creative balancing acts to make it to the cashier without spilling doll strollers and jammies and holiday towels all over the aisles.

Then we head back to my house to unload, after which my mom goes on her way to attack her pile with wrapping paper, bows, and tags.

I usually collapse.

But this post isn’t really about the shopping we do. It’s a fun tradition, but these yearly shopping trips are more to me than they used to be.

I can’t remember not doing this with my mom. One year she invited my very VERY into shopping Grandmother (bless her soul) along. we never did that again. She looked at every. single. rack. in Younkers.  Twice.  I think I was in high school at the time, so add a browsing grandmother to my already angsty self? Yeah, it was a disaster.

But what I really love is that this year shopping trip is time for my mom and I to really spend quality time together.  No brothers or in-laws or dad or husband or kids.  No boys.

Just me and my mom.

As she and I discussed books over our lattes this year I realized something very sad.

There is a very real chance I will not ever have a daughter to do this with someday.  I may never have a mother-daughter relationship where I am the mother.

My mom and I joked in Target about an adorable dress that I am obsessed with and may have carried around with me every time I go into Target (what?).

My mom and I have had some tense times. I was not an easy child, teen, or young adult.

(I know. SHOCKING.)

(stop it.)

But I cherish our together time.

These shopping trips have taught me more about who she is than any other time spent together has. I’ve learned things about her growing up, about being married to my dad, about what it was like to have young kids in the late 70’s/early 80’s.

I’ve learned that while we come from very different generations, my mom and I share a very similar heart.

Our opinions and stances may differ, but underneath it all we are so very much the same.

That makes me happy.

In the midst of the mad commercialism of Black Friday, my mom and I smile and laugh and share our hearts.

Even Black Friday can’t give me a better deal than that.

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. It makes my heart all warm and fuzzy, reading this. Because that’s the best deal, isn’t it? Spending quality time with the ones you love?

  2. My mom is a great shopper. She comes from a long line of shoppers. Shopping is an Olympic Event for her and her 6 sisters. Oh yes, SIX. You should see them descend on a mall – it’s pure poetry in motion. LOL If there is a deal to be found, a sought after toy to be bought: they will find it. And they will be unfailing polite and full of good cheer about it too. My one aunt actually went to the USA to find a toy for one of my children one year. Amazing dedication.
    So my mom and I have this tradition too. And it really is the best day ever.
    It’s all what you make it right? And I hope to make it right for my 2 daughters one day too.
    I don’t have as high hopes for the boy – LOL
    he’ll likely be bonding over Wii game scores and sledding jumps with his father. and that’s pretty darn good too.

  3. You may not ever have a daughter, but you’ll find other special girls in your life – a daughter-in-law or niece, the baby of a close friend. (I know you know this already, I’m just saying.)

    I have three sisters-in-law (I was so scared to meet them, believe me!) one of whom is in many ways easier for me to spend time with than my own sister. Don’t get me wrong – I ADORE my sister. But my husband’s younger sister and I could be together all the time without the stress and angst of a lifetime growing up together.

    It’s simple, uncomplicated. We stay up until the wee hours of the morning talking, sipping wine until it’s time to sip coffee. I couldn’t wish for a better female relationship.

    We find the ones with whom we connect in many places. Some live in our homes and some visit.
    Some dwell only in our computers 🙂

    And then again, you just might have a daughter of your own.
    Either way…


  4. I’m glad you’re creating happy memories with your mom. I might never have a daughter either but remember there is a special bond between a mom and her son. Ask my hubby he phones his mom ALL THE TIME!

  5. Sounds like you did get the best deal indeed.
    I used to go Black Friday shopping with my best friend when I lived in the US (like a looooong time ago) and I still miss it.

  6. Oh, Katie, sweet Katie, I LOVE this! Definitely THE best deal for Black Friday. What a lovely post and these are great memories forever with your Mom.

    If we are in town, my Dad and I have the tradition (still) of going to the mall on Christmas Eve and picking out something together for my Mom. And we always have the best time. I just love traditions like that. Time with family like that is just so precious…

  7. katie,

    i got choked up when i read this.
    because i have 3 girls…and yet… and yet…i’m a terrible mom to them some days.

    and yet…and yet….three is more than i can handle, but i will never have a little boy. (tears). my tubes are tied. we can’t handle any more kids. my heart aches. i know we are blessed, but…

    just wanted to say that i feel this. or at least part of this, what you’re talking about here.

    love that you & your mom are close and have such a good time together.

  8. This sounds like the perfect morning/ afternoon. I love that you do this every year! My aunt is like your grandma….the most serious of shoppers. I also went shopping with her… once. I love quality time with my mom, though. And who knows… if you don’t have a daughter, maybe you could be the best aunt ever to a niece?

  9. I love that you have a way of bonding with your mom and this is it! My mom and I….we don’t have that. Ours is more a mother-daughter relationship in name only (sadly? just the way it is.) What a fun tradition for you guys 🙂

  10. I love this tradition! What a wonderful thing to share with your mom. And the combination of shopping/chatting/coffee/cookies sounds just perfect!

  11. You might get to do it with your daughter-in-law. My MIL doesn’t like to shop but I do love her and we have different traditions together.

  12. I love this. I only went Black Friday shopping once with my mom, which is fine with me because I don’t like shopping all that much. My husband is the one who loves it. Yours sounds like a great tradition and who knows? Maybe you and one of your boys will get to share it together.