Every year, I begin Black Friday bright-eyed and bushy-tailed despite the ungodly early hour, ready to be welcomed into the sweet embrace of my local shopping mall. Of course, I'm also usually yawning despite my excitement, as well as occasionally concered about the piteous cries of my bank acount... all of which, I understand, might seem a little conflicting. What can I say? Black Friday inspires a lot of emotions. Fortunately, though, I've perfected a variety of wine pairings for every stage of shopping on Black Friday over the years in order to cope with the huge, crashing wave of emotions that strikes me each time I venture out for the shopping extravaganza of the year. My process for determining each pairing occurred largely via trail error; it takes experience to know exactly which full-bodied red goes best with your perfect holiday deals.
If you, too, just can't seem to quit Black Friday, don't abandon hope just yet. As a seasoned veteran of the exquisitely American tradition, I'm here today to share my time-tested findings with you. If you utilize my advice correctly, you can shop till you drop this week — metaphorically, that is. And as long as you exercise some restraint, the following wine pairings should make your Black Friday even better than you were already planning for it to be. Bottoms up!
Stage 1: Realizing What Ungodly Hour You Have To Wake Up
Research has shown that drinking a glass of wine before bed puts you to sleep at first, but in the end it can disrupt your sleep cycle and make you wake up earlier. Here's the catch: That suits your purposes perfectly! Stick to a rich red like Cabernet, though, and only have a glass or so. Believe me, you really don't want to be hungover for Black Friday.
Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon
Stage 2: Choosing Between Staying Up All Night Or Going To Bed Crazy Early
Of course, you could just stay up all night so you can hit up the ridiculous midnight sales. Either way, stick to something light while you're making your decision.
Stage 3: Being Incredibly Exhausted Either Way
Whether you stayed up all night or tried to take a cat nap, your sleep schedule is so messed up that you're exhausted no matter what. Try Chardonnay so you don't overdo it before you even get to the store — plus, the acidity might even wake you up a little.
Stage 4: Getting Competitive With Other Shoppers
Once you see how many people are competing for the same half-price sweater, your blood starts pumping. Time to break out something a little stronger now that you're finally awake. If it happens to lower your inhibitions a little so you're more inclined to muscle people out of the way, who cares?
Wine: Red Blend
Stage 5: Watching Someone Snatch Your Favorite Item
It was taken BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES! Drown your sorrows in Pinot Noir, which is dark like your soul.
Wine: Pinot Noir
Stage 6: Recognizing Your Group Has To Split Up
Whoever you came with, chances are you're going to wind up dividing and conquering eventually, which makes fighting the crowds so much easier. Celebrate your newfound freedom with some Pinot Grigio.
Wine: Pinot Grigio
Stage 7: Hanger
Around 10 a.m., we all start getting a little hangry. Unfortunately, the thinning crowds make it easier to shop, so you're forced to choose between giving in to your hunger or making it through your shopping list before people come back from lunch. Drink something full-bodied like Zinfandel to stave off the hunger for a little longer.
Stage 8: Waiting In Line At The Last Store
So close and yet so far. On the other hand, you're practically done, so why not break out champagne to pass the time?
Stage 9: Checking Your Bank Account The Next Day
Oh, god. Worst of all, you know you're going to do it all again next year.