Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It's the only one left that focuses on connecting with those you love. Even the retail/media focuses on how to make the time with your loved ones better.
This Thanksgiving was fantastic. The family and conversation was great, and the missus cooked her first turkey and it tasted amazing!
At 11pm Thursday, glowing in good-day vibes, full bellies and gift beer (the tastiest kind), my wife reminded me that we should look for a Black Friday deal for a camera so we could finally get some decent shots of our girl's gymnastic meets. I'd been researching for months so I already had it narrowed down to a few options. The only question in my mind was how 'pro' should I go?
I looked at target.com and saw a great deal on a Nikon D3200 bundled with 2 lenses for $500 ($300 off). I remembered that they had already opened at 8pm so I hopped in the car at 11:30pm, bought the last one, and drove home very happy. In fact, I commented to myself that I really liked the "Open Thursday Night" thing since I didn't have to get up early to get this deal.
…and then Black Friday arrived.
I dropped my girls off at gymnastics at 7am, drove home, and as I sat down for breakfast, I thought, "I wonder what other deals are out there?"
I saw B&H had the same bundle I bought, but no tax, and included bag and memory card. I saw Walmart had an older but 'better' Nikon D5100 with almost the same lenses for the same price. I saw Best Buy had a 'fantastic' Nikon D7000 with a single lens for $800, regularly for $1700.
My 'I deserve the best' attitude kicked in, and thinking I could get an even better deal than the one I bought, I excitedly went online and noticed all were available! I went to walmart.com and put their deal in the cart. I went to B&H and put their deal in the cart. I then spent about 5 minutes to compare the D3200 with the D5100. I still wasn't completely sure since the Walmart lenses didn't have a VR feature, but I figured I could return it so I went to buy it. I clicked "Purchase", and Walmart nicely said, "This item was removed from your cart and is no longer available".
I lost out on a killer deal because I delayed 5 minutes to compare and be a wise purchaser? AND, some stranger just STOLE it out of my internet cart!?! I tried again but sure enough, the deal was gone.
I then went to B&H and clicked "Check Out". At least I'd get the extra goodies at the same price. What did I see? "This item is no longer available and is on backorder."
By that time I was furious.
Since I had an MRI scheduled for 9:30am (to diagnose my screwed up shoulder) I left early to stop by Best Buy and see if there were any of the 'fantastic' D7000s left. I arrived to learn the last one was sold an hour earlier. I immediately thought that if I had just drove here after dropping the girls off at 7am, I would have gotten the "only camera you'll ever need".
So friggin' frustrated.
Throughout the MRI, which was a 2 hour ordeal including 30 minutes in a claustrophobic tube, all I could think through was how I failed to plan, how I missed out, how I ended up with the worst deal ever, and how others would scoff when I bring out my entry-level D3200 while they hold their D5100 or D7000. The whole day was crap. I was angry, frustrated, and my family (and pup) got the brunt of it.
Now, a couple days after, I'm still ticked at the whole situation. I can't help but thinking through how I could have done it differently to get the best deal possible. But I'm starting to ask myself: How did I go so quickly from wonderful family vibe, to 'got a great deal', to 'life is crap, and my camera deal sucks' in the span of just a few waking hours?
I think it comes down to: Am I content? Do I have peace?
Both answers are a resounding "No" for me.
I should be. In all external metrics I should be content: family, income, hobbies, skills, opportunities. But I am not content. I do not have peace. Black Friday seemed to magnify my state of mind...
…There's something better just out of reach
…what I have is not good enough
…I might be satisfied if I keep pushing/moving/scheming/working
That needs to stop. If I was content, Black Friday would not affect me like it does. In fact, it might even be fun. But for now, it's a potent reminder that I need to find my purpose, my peace, my contentment.
In case you're curious, I opened my D3200; convinced myself that saving $300 was OK and I didn't need the pro camera since I'm not a pro, and you know what? I love the pictures I'm taking.
Hmm…content with an 'entry level' DSLR. Maybe there's a glimmer of hope for me after all.