It was the only day of the year my eyes ever saw 4am when I was in high school: Black Friday.

My cousin, visiting from out of town, and I would rouse ourselves before sunrise, pull on our jeans, slap leftover turkey into a sandwich, and drive to the mall near my grandparents house for doorbuster sales. One year, we spent eight consecutive hours in that mall – and it wasn’t a big mall by any means. We had “shop till you drop” down to a science of sorts.

My family never had much money growing up, but I shopped clearance racks and discount stores like a pro. Head to the back of the store first, clearance racks are always in the back. Look through the whole rack, not just your size as things often get put back in odd places. I could – and did – spend hours and hours shopping when I was a teenager, working the rules of when and how to get the best deals. When I was in college I worked in retail over holiday breaks; the extra money helped out and the 30% off employee discount was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

I volunteered to work the opening shift on Black Friday every year for five years because I loved the energy of that day so much. And after an 8-hour shift (beginning with 5am door busters) I would go out shopping after work. It was almost an addiction of sorts; whenever I felt bad or ugly or stressed I would go shopping. Finding something new and beautiful always made me feel good – especially if it didn’t break the bank….

You can read the rest of my review of The True Cost over at my friend Jon’s site Cinema Faith.

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