This past Saturday, I was able to take advantage of the long holiday weekend to get together with some friends that I hadn’t seen for some time. Most of my friends have children who are Millennials so I always feel like I have a living Millennial laboratory everywhere I go.  I never miss an opportunity to listen in or hang out with my friends’ kids because I love getting their perspective. Typically, that perspective is very different than their parents which has always been the case no matter what generation you are a part of.

I was “allowed” to listen in on a conversation my friend’s daughters were having with 4 other friends (boys & girls).   These were older teenagers who were sitting close to where their parents were sitting & commenting on what their parents were saying.  The subject was Black Friday.  One of the teenager’s mother was telling everyone how much fun she had shopping on Black Friday.  Apparently, she & some of her girlfriends made a fun day out of Black Friday.  They all got up early, went out for breakfast, battled the traffic, went into the malls, battled the crowds, bought stuff on sale and spent most of the day in the mall.  When they finished shopping, they all went to a nice restaurant near the mall and enjoyed a nice, leisurely dinner & ended their day with a treat at an ice cream shop located next to the restaurant.  They managed to turn what could have been a pretty hectic event into a casual, fun event that they looked forward to instead of dreading.

As the woman was recounting her adventure, her daughter, Gina,  was rolling her eyes in disbelief.  As her friends laughed, I asked her if she had joined her mom in her Black Friday adventure.  She looked at me with this disgusted face and said ” Are you crazy?  That’s so old fashioned?”  Old fashioned?  When had shopping on Black Friday gotten passe?  Now personally, I wouldn’t be caught dead in a store on Black Friday because I hate crowds and the discounts are not worth the bother.

So I asked Gina why she thought that was old fashioned.  Like a typical Millennial she said ” Duh, have you heard of this thing called the Internet”?   I quickly learned that Gina & her friends loved to go to the mall but not for shopping although they occasionally would do that.  For them, the mall was a place to socialize & hang out with their friends & eat.  Shopping was done online.  In 30 minutes, Gina and her friends gave me a crash course in online shopping. 

Now I am no slouch when it comes to shopping online but what I discovered with these Millennials was the inside scoop for getting great discounts & alerts for anything you want to buy. I clearly don’t spend as much time online as they do so it made sense that they would know all these great hidden goldmines. They showed me where to go on Facebook to get great discounts, they showed me how to get Web ads that gave even better discounts than going into the physical store, they showed me how to get free shipping for practically anything I wanted to buy and… they showed me how to do this all on their mobile phones.

I always learn the coolest stuff from Millennials.  Last Saturday was no exception.  I couldn’t argue with the convenience and hassle-free nature of shopping online AND getting great discounts to boot.  For those like Gina’s mom that make Black Friday an “experience” they look forward to & enjoy, then shopping online seems like an impersonal way to make purchases.  I can understand that.  But for those of us who hate crowds, don’t have time to go look through endless racks in department stores & hate to walk a mile for a parking space, it’s a pretty good deal.  Especially when you are armed with the social media “insider tools”  that Millennials have at their fingertips to save money & get free shipping.

I was so glad to have seen my friends & even more so to see her kids & their friends.   Now I’m part of Gina’s tribe & I get updates on who is discounting what on Facebook or where to get the latest Web Ad for a coupon.  I’m in with the “in” crowd now!

So move over Black Friday.  I’ll take Cyber Shopping any day of the week… and so will most Millennials… at least the ones that don’t like crowds.