I have been inundated with offers for me to spend both my time and money in a variety of places this upcoming Black Friday. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, traditionally the beginning of the holiday gift-buying season. Supposedly it is the time when stores break even and then start to turn a profit during the holidays. Recently Black Friday has morphed into Cyber Monday. As consumers we no longer camp out in front of the brick and mortar shops and do much of our shopping online the Monday we get back to our desks — we do it instead of actually getting back to work.

Today in the mail, still a few weeks away from Black Friday, I got offers for Black Friday replacement windows, patio doors and “Buy 3 tires, get one free: good through Black Friday”— an interesting gift idea. Everybody is offering a Black Friday deal— even our local library. The Pequot Library having a Black Friday sale? They have a summer sale where they have 140,000 used books that are donated all year round, and they sell them in giant circus tents on the lawn for a few days in late July. Now they are getting into the whole Black Friday thing. They are selling used books that I am to give out as gifts.

Really? I’m to carefully gift wrap for my mother-in-law a used, dog-eared copy of Fifty Shades of Grey? I hope the good parts are already underlined. In college, I never actually read my text books. I just bought them used and read the parts that the person before me thought were important enough to highlight. I trusted their judgment. Probably not the best way to do it, but it saved a lot of time. Time that I used wisely sipping Old Milwaukee with my friends.

So I called the Pequot Library and talked to Adair Heitman to see what I could buy for my mother-in-law at the Pequot. She lives in a very strict condo association, so I think getting her the patio doors or replacement window may be a problem. And she just bought new tires so that won’t work.

“We don’t just have books this year. “ explained Adair. “We also have a collection of antique cameras we are selling, and to go with it we have beautiful coffee table photography books.” Hmmmmm, My mother-in-law hates to have her picture taken, actually she hates to have her picture taken and then posted online, then the relatives call her and say “I see you were at...” She hates that. No cameras.

I have been very fortunate with mother in laws. The other day she made me Panna Cotta just because I said loved it. She presented it to me when we stopped in a rest area in New Jersey. I ate it right there in the car, in the parking lot of the Molly Pitcher rest area. My mother in law even brought fresh fruit and a spoon. I really lucked out.

What else you got? Adair added “Signed books by Billie Jean King and Amor Towles” My mother-in-law went to The Amor Towles event at the Pequot when he was there talking about his latest book, She got two books signed by him there on the spot. Damn. “We have new ‘in the wrapper’ CD’s and DVD’s, quite a selection of classical and other music.” This is closer. My mother-in-law has not yet made the transition to streaming music, she loves to listen to classical music and audio books, and her car has a CD player. My mother in law will be happy that the proceeds will benefit the library.

Now to work on my wife’s gift. I’m thinking about replacement windows.

Thomas Lawlor lives in Southport with his wife and two daughters. His column appears every other Friday. He can be reached by email at Tlawlor@mcommunications.com.