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Nov 25, 2013 06:26 AM

Guests ducking out for Black Friday (Thursday?!) shopping

Thanksgiving has been scheduled since October 30th. Show up around 4:00, eat at 5:00, hang out and play cards and what-not. Most folks are having dinner at their in-laws and what-not earlier in the day and then coming to our house.

Well, my boyfriend's parents came to dinner on Saturday and she was going on and on about all of the things she was going to buy for her grandson on Black Friday at Wal-Mart. Okay, cool. She's always been a Black Friday shark, while I've never given a hoot about it.

Then she mentioned that they are actually starting at 6:00PM on Thursday, and the things she wants to get will only be that price from 6-8 that day. My brain started to melt at that point, but I did work out that to be able to be in line to maybe get that TV she wants when the doors open, she'd have to be there well before 5:00.... She asked us to "hold (her) a plate."

Now, I haven't heard anything, but I have the feeling that when her sisters find out she's going, they'll all want to go too. That will take about half of the guests.

I'm really not sure how to handle it. Part of me just wants to cancel the whole thing and go out for Chinese. Can't move it up, as it will then conflict with the other dinners people are attending.

Is anyone else experiencing grief over the ever-earlier shopping madness?

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  1. If I were in your shoes:
    "Oh, I'm sorry you'll miss dinner. I hope that $25 you save on a TV makes up for it. If there is anything left after shopping, come over and microwave yourself a plate."
    The people who do come to dinner are the people you really want there anyway.

    2 Replies
    1. re: iluvcookies

      Wholeheartedly agree, lluvcookies and lookingforaname. She sounds like the kind of person for whom the traditions of Thanksgiving don't carry much weight anyway. I would be very disappointed too, but stick to your plans, Kontxesi.

        1. I absolutely despise that stores are opening on Thanksgiving. It is bad enough that the employees get paid next to nothing, now they are made to give up holidays too? I would never shop then. Tell her she's welcome to come for drinks after her shopping, but dinner will be over.

          1. It is incredibly rude of her. I like the suggestion of telling her to come for a drink or dessert after her shopping and then next year would not include her at all.

            1. Since this is your (possibly) future mother in law if I'm reading correctly, I would take a gentle hand in this. Maybe this is her "tradition," and while I also hate it, it could make for a looonnggg holiday season if you have to see her again (and again) before the new year.

              I would tell her that while you can't guarantee her a plate since your non-retailing guests will arrive hungry, you'll be sure to have a fresh pot of coffee/tea and some great dessert awaiting her'll save her a piece of your "famous pumpkin pie" or something.

              Sort of a compromise without condoning her behavior.

              11 Replies
              1. re: pinehurst

                Yes, this. I'd be pissed too but now probably isn't the time to declare full-scale war.

                Standing in line at Wal-Mart to buy on sale crap has less than zero appeal to me. Stand your ground and enjoy your party.

                1. re: pinehurst

                  Nope; I would make no changes in my plans nor would I coddle her with promises to save her anything. I think it's rude of her to accept the invitation or understanding that the meal would be at a certain time since October then say, "oh by the way, I'm going shopping" at the last minute.

                  If anything, she should apologize to the OP for pretty much destroying her plans. My thought would be, whoever shows up does and those who don't, may not get anything. But I wouldn't go out of my way to save anything. If the OP starts changing her plans now, she might feel like she always has to change her plans to accommodate the lady when she gets married. No way to start off the marriage being disregarded. Stand your ground.

                  1. re: Cherylptw

                    I'm with you, stand your ground.
                    It's well worth standing for.
                    This is precedent setting stuff, so don't set the expectation that she and other family can do this to you!

                    1. re: Cherylptw

                      I don't agree. Life is too short to get upset that grandma will miss dinner because she wants to pick up a gift for her grandchild. How difficult is it to put aside a dish for her? Is it worth it to put your spouse in an awkward position? Or set a bad tone for your relationship with your future MIL? She won't be around forever and you will have plenty of years with your spouse.

                      1. re: Jerseygirl111

                        Where are you getting 'grandma', 'grandchild', and 'spouse' from?

                        I agree that it would not be a good thing for the OP to confront this woman and to have the lady's spouse save a plate for her, but that's as far as the OP's obligation should be with the information we have so far.

                        1. re: John E.

                          The OP clearly states that she is hosting with her BF and it's her boyfriends mother that is buying a gift for her grandson hence grandma. She later clarifies she and the BF are actually engaged so I guess technically it would be future spouse.

                          1. re: foodieX2

                            Thanks. I just re-read the OP. I guess I forgot about the grandson part. At least she isn't just shopping for herself.

                            I'm going out Friday, but not too early, to buy a digital camera for my father.

                        2. re: Jerseygirl111

                          Sorry, I'm not buying it...the OP's BF's mother is putting herself in that position. It's one thing to be invited & decline from the gate but to accept then back out without regard to the fact that the OP has made plans AS WELL is thoughtless. It's the principle of the situation. The future MIL is the one, in my opinion who is setting the tone that she's going to be running things, which is not the way it should be. Starting off being a doormat will only get worse. Give respect, you'll receive respect. Disregard and you'll be disregarded. And who is to say there will be years with the spouse? People leave here everyday. Don't assume.

                          1. re: Cherylptw

                            Oy, such a negative way to view things. I guess I just prefer to hope the OP will have many years of happiness with her future husband. I don't think that not allowing yourself to get upset by the actions of your MIL is being a doormat at all. You can't control other people's actions, only your own reaction to them.

                      2. re: pinehurst


                        yes, this is the best way - and its what i would probably do (depending on how tired and/or pissed off I felt).

                        but a "Miss Manners" response is best. Say the good thing but look _straight_ into her eyes and hold that eye contact for a solid 20 seconds. Make her break away.

                        mission accomplished - no hurtful words spoken.

                        1. re: kariin

                          kariin - but the high road is so boring and lonely (and windy).