This year, I accidentally shopped the Black Friday Sales. Really, I did. 

I’m usually anti-Black Friday. I abhor the whole frenzied shop until we (or the sales staff) drop thing. I’ve always eschewed the Black Friday sales here in Canada because, well, aren’t they supposed to be an American thing? I mean, our Thanksgiving is in October. 

Of course, I’m not opposed to saving money on clothes that I would probably buy anyway. And if I could shop a sale without the crowds and the frenzy, find something that fills a niche in my wardrobe, fits in with what I already own, and with what I’m currently hoping to find, and which is even on my list for that season… well… that would be wonderful. But usually next to impossible. 

I normally have to put in lots of legwork to fill empty niches in my closet once I’ve identified them. And I’m totally unaccustomed to finding pieces when I’m NOT even looking for them, most especially when they are on sale. I’m normally a very deliberate shopper. Accidental shopping does not usually happen to me.

I love my new checked pants which I “accidentally” bought at a Black Friday sale. 
Bu-ut… that is exactly what did happen to me last week. When I arrived home from New Brunswick, I contacted Liz to see about picking up the Rag and Bone plaid pants which I’d purchased before I left on my trip, and which had been altered while I was away. I’d planned to pop into Nordstrom at the end of the week. Then it dawned on me that Friday was BLACK Friday. 
Ackkk! Cue the Psycho shower scene music. The last thing I wanted to do was to get caught in Black Friday furor. Crowds, long lines at check-outs, sitting in rush-hour traffic. Since I’ve been retired, and no longer have to travel or shop when everyone else is doing so, I’ve almost obsessively avoided these things. So I rearranged my week to allow for me to pop into Nordstrom on Thursday morning. 
The store was quiet when I arrived, so Liz and I went for a cup of tea and a chat. And afterward when she ran down to the alterations department for my pants, I had a browse. Most of the Black Friday sale merchandise was already out on the racks, much of it marked down only that morning. Hmmm. It wouldn’t hurt to have a rummage around. See what I could see… while I was waiting. 
I tried a few things on. Some just because they were on sale. Most things I knew I wouldn’t buy. 
The exception was this cosy cashmere sweater from Theory. It’s a lovely basic, will go great with my black leather trousers, with jeans and my black boots, and most particularly with the long skirt that is still on my list. Can’t you just see this sweater with a long full skirt and boots? 
This sweater fills all kinds of niches in my closet
And I picked up these black and white checkered, cropped pants from Rag and Bone. I love them with my burgundy Akris sweater, my Paul Green loafers, and this necklace and matching earrings from Anne Marie Chagnon. I haven’t decided if I will have the hem let down like I did with the burgundy plaid pants. I’m still thinking about that. 
I love these pants with my now ubiquitous Akris sweater and Paul Green loafers
But, since I can’t wear my Akris sweater all the time with everything in my closet, I’m working on what else works with these pants. Maybe my new sweater and my Stuart Weitzman black boots, with my black Max Mara knee-length coat. I’m still playing around with pieces. No rush. I agree with Liz that these pants will be great in the spring too. 
This outfit is a work in progress

So I arrived at Nordstrom planning to pick up my burgundy plaid pants and went home with two pairs of pants and a sweater. Totally unexpected. One might even say accidental. The sweater was 40% off, and the pants were an even bigger bargain at 60% off. 


And, there was absolutely no traffic when I left the mall; I made it home in lots of time to squeeze in my afternoon work-out, and enjoy a pot of tea and my book for an hour or so. A serendipitous day all round. 


I don’t know why I’m usually so rabidly anti-Black Friday sales. Maybe it’s all the hype. The huge signs everywhere shouting about Black Friday deals. Maybe it’s all those annoying Black Friday and Cyber Monday e-mails. Maybe it’s the hysteria to buy, buy, buy. The endless gift guides, the engendered panic that Christmas is coming and we won’t be ready. And Black Friday is like the crack of the starter’s pistol. The race to December 25 has begun; it’s time to ramp up the stress level. 


The whole thing just makes me lethargic. Makes me want to brew another cup of tea and, overcome with inertia, sit even longer with my book. Maybe I’ve created a new psychological phenomenon: passive aggressive shopping behaviour. 


But when Black Friday sale shopping is purely accidental, uncrowded, is combined with tea with a friend, and a calm and stress-free drive home… well… as Hubby says, “that’s a horse of a different hue.” Particularly when I arrive home with two great new pieces that I’d probably have bought even if they hadn’t been on sale.  

Now I must go ice my foot and make some tea with lemon and honey. Chirpy, smiling photos to the contrary, I’m feeling pretty low today. I hurt my foot at Mum’s, tripped over something, exacerbated the bruise (or sprain, or whatever it is, even the doctor’s not sure) by too much walking in my hiking boots on the raggedy, icy trail and it’s been swollen and difficult to walk on ever since. And now I feel a cold coming on. If it’s not one end it’s the other, and sometimes it’s both. Ha. 
Imagine my chagrin if I’d injured my foot tripping over rampaging shoppers at the Black Friday sales. Now that really would be accidental shopping. Sort of. 
How about you, my friends? Did you partake of the Black Friday hysteria, accidentally or otherwise? Find any treasures that made it all worthwhile?


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31 thoughts on “The Accidental Shopper”

  1. I'm pretty rabidly anti-Black Friday as well, but if I'd accidentally found such great pieces as those under similar circumstances, I hope I'd have had the good sense– as you did– to take them home with me. Both sweater and pants are sure to get worn often and with the extra pleasure of 40 and 60%-off 😉

    1. I thought, as I read your comment, of a couple of serendipitous finds that you wrote about ages ago, found at J Crew, I'm pretty sure. I noticed when I was at the Rideau Centre to pick up my pants that the J Crew store there is now closed. I've always been disappointed in the clothes that store carried, especially when I would read what you and Lisa had to say about the brand. Liz and I were talking about it last Thursday and we came to the conclusion that they definitely didn't carry the best of what J Crew had to offer at their store here. Funny how sometimes brand stores can be so wrong about what Ottawa shoppers want.

  2. Also anti-Black Friday/Cyber Monday, but Sue at Une Femme posted that Bloomie's had my favorite Eileen Fisher silk long sleeved tee at an amazing price, so I bought that in soft white (I have it in black and would have bought another if they'd had it in my size). I work about a block from the Bloomie's in Century City (LA) so I could just order and wander over at my leisure to pick up. No parking hassles, no lunchtime crowds… ahhhh.

  3. Like others, I am not crazy about Black Friday; in fact, the last time I was physically in a mall dates back years–not months. It does helps that a 70 mile round trip drive is required to get to the nearest mall–very easy to talk myself out needing anything. However, I did succumb to two online sales: a fair number of books–as Powell's and Better World Books had sales; and a Christmas present for a friend from Lands End–50% off was too good to miss.

    1. I'm becoming more accustomed to on-line shopping. Especially when I was sidelined with shingles last summer.. books, my favourite cream from Nordstrom, and even my David's tea I ordered on-line and had delivered. Your 70-mile trip would make anyone think twice about what they actually "need" at the mall.

  4. I love the length of the checked pants – I'd keep them that way. You really found great items, classics. I did purchase a very lightweight wool coat, that I'd been eyeing online and bought when it was 60% off.

  5. Black Friday and I was on my way to the gym and passed two of our biggest shopping malls… NO TRAFFIC!! I was shocked. I've never worn checked pants, but you're thin enough to make them work beautifully! Sorry you injured your foot. I did as well, a few years ago, and it's never been right again. xoxox,

    1. Now, going to the gym is a Black Friday activity that I can totally get behind. My foot seems to be getting better this weekend, but the limping and favouring one side over the other has messed up my back. Sheesh. I'm hoping that I don't go in for eye surgery this week with a cold and a bad back!

  6. I am not keen on Black Friday sales either that seem to have travelled world wide. I hate malls in general but obviously sometimes have to visit. You lucked out with your early visit to Nordstrom's and finding such great buys. As you say, you would have bought them anyway so the gods were with you that day. You look great as always and enjoy your purchases.

    1. Most sales just put me off, Black Friday is the worst because everyone seems to have jumped on the bandwagon. I hate the racks and racks of clothes crammed into a small space, with so much merchandise that it's half falling off hangers, abandoned on the floor, line-ups for dressing rooms… gad I hate all that. Much better to stay home. I know some people love it, and see shopping as almost a competitive activity. The few times I've shopped during Boxing Day sales, I've wanted to shout.. "Get me outta here!." Ha.

  7. Accidentally, sort of! Like you, I've discovered that one of the best things about retirement is being able to shop when most people are at work and the stores are quiet. I would NEVER have purposely planned to shop on Black Friday, but I have no control over when my twice a year cancer treatments are scheduled. As it happens, one was set for Nov 26, the Monday after Black Friday weekend. We could go to the city on Friday and finish up our Christmas shopping then spend the weekend with our son and daughter-in-law suggested my ever practical hubby. Plans were made and then I realized that it was Black Friday! We went ahead anyway because I really did want to finish the shopping before my treatment. Thankfully, we didn't have a lot left to do and we did find some great bargains, but after a few hours in the malls, I was all done in!

  8. You definitely scored some terrific stuff in your accidental shopping trip. Same thing for me at Nordstrom online a couple days earlier. I usually do strictly online shopping on Black Friday and this year, it was pretty ho-hum because the retailers I shop had already posted their sales on Tuesday. I do often find gifts that let me get well underway for Christmas and usually manage to find some bargains for myself also. This year my favorite me-present is some boiled wool dark navy wide leg pants from Eileen Fisher. I am having fun coming up with ways to wear them.

    1. It's good when the brands you know and love, and whose fit you are familiar with, go on sale, isn't it? Otherwise, I'm not much for on-line shopping. It's too much of a pain to pay duty on and return from here in Canada. Unless the product is shipped from a Canadian warehouse, which some brands are… thankfully.

  9. Beautiful trousers and sweater-you did the right thing to buy them-Black Friday or not
    Black Friday is not a big deal here and the sales are not very good-yet-so,anyway I'm pretty uninterested to shoulder in the crowd ("normal" sales happend from time to time and I use them to buy products -usually cosmetics- or lingerie,if they have what I want)
    Nevertheless,I was near Douglas perfumery this year and have bought some gifts (20% less price). I checked a couple of things online though but didn't buy anything

  10. Gad, I love that turtleneck sweater! I need three of them, maybe four — in black, grey, cream and maybe red. Well, maybe I could be by with only the black and red ones.

    I'm such a greedy child!

    Ann in Missouri!

    1. It's a really comfy sweater, roomy without being too over-sized, and the sleeves are nice and long without being those ones that hide your hands. I don't get those super-long sleeves.

  11. Sorry about the foot – warmth is really more healing, I find, stimulate the circulation, etc… of course elevating it, reading something escapist and having some tea.


  12. Love the turtleneck sweater and it would be quite comfortable in my winter wardrobe as turtlenecks and slim pants are my fashion staples/necessities at this time of the year. Black Friday is a date to be avoided and it does seem to be the beginning of a frenzied rush to December 25…lucky you to have had the sales AND a quiet mall. I've aimed to keep the Christmas season peaceful by making time for peaceful contemplation with a good book, a pot of tea and slowing down the pace of holiday decorating…that said I still have this internal clock that is aware that there is limited time between now and Christmas…much to be done yet! It's difficult to push down that familiar sense of holiday panic that has been ingrained over the years.
    I would be adding length to your new pants but I'm not really a fan of the bare ankle look…love the black/white fabric and how they can be styled with items already in your wardrobe and the new sweater purchase. Hope your ankle and the pending cold are better in no time….Cheers, Alayne

    1. I just decided this morning after trying my checked pants with several other pieces that I'm going to have the hem let down. There should be a good inch more of fabric. I think I'll be happier with them that way.
      We all seemed to be programmed for Christmas stress, don't we? I keep thinking of my first few years of teaching when we had exams before Christmas, and the baking, and house decorating, and shopping, wrapping and mailing of gifts to family back home was compounded one year by trying to get all 185 of my exams marked before the holidays because we were going away between Christmas and New Year. And I remember my Mum baking and baking and baking: 7 or 8 kinds of cookies, three kinds of pies, several kinds of squares, a couple of different fancy breads, fruitcake (light and dark) and a plum pudding. Next time I talk to Mum on the phone I must try to enumerate all the kinds of cookies.

  13. Love both the checked and plaid pants!
    I didn't shop on Black Friday, aka, International Buy Nothing Day, but I did pick up several thrift items during the month. The excellent quality shirts, pullovers and jeans were welcome additions to my small wardrobe.

  14. Very late to the party I’m afraid! Great post Sue.. I used to be more of an accidental shopper than an organised one! Not always with great results. Thanks to you I’ve become much more thoughtful and selective! Both your trousers and sweater are great choices …I’d happily buy them both. I usually avoid shops and shopping on line over the Black Friday period. Although this year I did stock up on Caudalie products that I use regularly ( 20%off). and unfortunately overlooked the fact that Selfridges had 20% off a bag that I planned to buy. Now I’m reluctant to buy it at full price … 🙁 I’m presuming you’ll be having your op around now Sue, hope everything goes or has gone well. take care Rosie xxx

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