Updated 11/25/19

Celebrating Black Friday?

It’s trendy these days to protest Black Friday by staying home and denouncing the commercialism of the holidays. It appears nothing could be as satisfying as posting a self-righteous screed on Facebook, denouncing the depraved shoppers who participate in such a craven capitalist ritual. 

All I can say to that is, allow me to introduce you to my Grandma Bonnie.

Although I think of Grandma Bonnie often, certain times of year stand out more than others. She loved having the whole family over for a holiday, or a Sunday dinner, or no reason at all.

Nothing Is More Important Than Family

When I was a little girl, she told me repeatedly “nothing is more important than family.” It was her mantra, although she would’ve laughed to hear me say that. She would’ve described the word “mantra” as high-falutin’.

Grandma really lit up at Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. She loved to cook, and watch “The Rockford Files” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” as she wrapped presents. And oh boy, did she love to shop–but only if she got a deal. She is the reason I sometimes cringe when paying full retail. I can hear her whispering sternly, “I taught you better than that!”

Getting to go shopping with Grandma was an adrenaline junkie’s delight. Once in the mall parking lot, she morphed from sweet, funny Grandma to drill sergeant Grandma as she tightly clasped my hand and hustled us toward the still-closed gate of JC Penney or Gottschalks or Mervyns.

“Here’s the plan: when they pull the gate up, you run straight inside that circular rack there with the big 75% off sign. You grab whatever I hand you and hang on tight. Somebody tries to take it away from you, you slap their hand. Got it?”

That One Time at the Big Fresno Fair

This caused flashbacks to that time John Schneider came to play the Big Fresno Fair and all the teenage girls were screaming and throwing their bras at him. Someone had thrown him a stuffed dolphin, and while playing Classical Gas–I remember it was Classical Gas, because my parents expressed shock he actually had talent, but mostly because I couldn’t figure out why a song would have such a dumb name. This was years before Smells Like Teen Spirit, obviously–John Schneider caught the stuffed dolphin, kissed it, and threw it back into the crowd. 

One row in front of us, a teenager reached under her seat to grab it. Unfortunately for that girl, Grandma Bonnie was right behind her and convinced my four year old brother would cherish the toy more. Grandma stomped on that girl’s hand til she let go. 

Hoping not to blow it, hoping no one else’s grandma had the same hang-tight-in-the-center-of-the-rack plan, I’d nervously nod my head in understanding. “Okay, good. Tic Tac?” Oh yes, please, give me all the tangerine Tic Tacs!

In we’d go, rack after rack in store after store, a blur of a half day and then done. Just like the cooking was more to get the whole family together, the shopping wasn’t so much about the deal (although paying full retail was never an option).


Remembering The Little Things

Grandma took advantage of Black Friday, and every other sale any time of year. Growing up in rural Idaho during the Depression, Christmas–a great Christmas–meant she and her brother got an orange and some walnuts in their stockings. 

That, plus becoming a real-life Rosie the Riveter at age 16 (after her dad’s premature passing meant it was time to leave school, move to Los Angeles, and contribute to the family) she was money-conscious her whole life, of course. But the big payoff for her scoring such great deals wasn’t about the savings.

It was seeing the looks of delight on our faces because she’d remembered an offhand comment way back in March about needing a green pair of Dittos. She’d noted the look of longing as we passed the girl in the iridescent purple Jellies, and she’d listened carefully (and with a straight face!) to my earnest 15-minute explanation of why I couldn’t possibly wear any type of hosiery other than white opaque tights because that’s what Lady Diana wore.

It’s ironic and unfair that a woman who got so much sheer joy out of remembering the little things in order to delight her family went on to die of Alzheimer’s disease.

All the Feels

It’s unfair and tragic in every family affected by any kind of neurodegenerative diagnosis.

So whether you find yourself enjoying Black Friday weekend because you love a deal, or you’re gritting your teeth and enduring it in order to put a smile on your family’s face, I’m sending you a virtual high-five.

However you’re feeling all the feels, whether it’s writing cranky Facebook posts about commercialism–because you know family really is the most important thing and you wish everyone else would wake up and realize that already!–or you’re out there in the thick of it because you need some retail therapy because your grandma is no longer with you and you know deep in your heart the holidays will never feel quite the same again–I won’t judge. I feel ya, and I’m sending you a virtual hug with an extra helping of The Good Stuff.


But if You’re Looking for a Deal…

And if you do happen to be looking for amazeballs deals smothered in awesome sauce, Dementia Sherpa is here for you come Black Friday (November 28, 2019). Here’s a sneak peek:

  • All products are between 30% and 80% off. Except for the one that’s 100% off, as a thank you bonus when you purchase any other product or service. 
  • Two new products are rolling out: The Dementia Sherpa’s Guide to Moving into Memory Care Master Task List & Timeline and The Dementia Sherpa’s Guide to the Language of “Behaviors” Mini-Course. Both at smokin’ hot price points, of course.
  • This won’t be for everyone, but for those who’ve been feeling like it’s time to do something and are ready to move forward, now’s a great time to make that decision. Because I always want to serve my clients at the highest level possible, this deal is a limited quantity situation.


Christy Turner is a speaker and consultant, host of The Alzheimer’s Podcast, founder of DementiaSherpa.com, and creator of the online programs Memory Care at Home and The Dementia Sherpa’s Guide to Moving into Memory Care. She’s enjoyed the privilege of working with over 1,500 people living with dementia and their families so far, including multiple experiences in her own family.