Once a year across this great land of ours, millions of people arise way before the sun, their tummies still digesting turkey, and embark on the craziest day of shopping known to mankind—Black Friday. Otherwise sweet and kind people turn into raving lunatics as they push and shove, grab and grope, and shop ‘til they drop. I know; I love it, too!
While I generally avoid crowds and claustrophobic situations, Black Friday is my day of reckoning. I’m a woman on a mission for deals, and not just for me, for my family. And, by golly, my niece is getting that Hello Kitty whatchamacallit and my mom is getting that $8 sweater. I try to be polite, say excuse me, and observe social etiquette despite the bargain-crazed crowed and I usually wind up with some awesome deals, especially because what I think is an awesome deal isn’t necessarily what everyone else is after.
As a savvy Black Friday shopper, I am sharing with you my words of wisdom so you, too, can plan your own memorable way-too-early-to-be-up shopping trip this year! Pre-planning is the key to having a good, safe, and fun Black Friday experience.
Plunge into those Black Friday ads like nobody’s business. I do an initial scan circling items with a Sharpie marker, and then I go through the ads in my Thanksgiving Day paper a few more times making sure I have found everything. Then I sort through the ads figuring out which items are the ones I want most. It’s impossible to get every thing, so prioritize. Also, some retailers are also offering great buys online—why wait in line when you can hop online for the same (or even a better) deal?
Price check and read up on those “deals.” With sites like BFads.net, it’s easy to see what many retailers will be offering as door buster deals on Black Friday. But remember, sometimes their “deals” aren’t really deals at all. Check consumer reviews at Amazon.com and counter the price points to make sure you’re not being tricked into something that’s less-than-satisfactory.
Make a list and check it thrice. After I’ve figured out what I want to purchase, I make a list of the store, the items I want to buy at the store, and the price of each item. I also make a notation if I have any special coupons. Then I strategically plan my attack—when does the store open? What stores are in the same proximity? Where can I go to avoid big crowds? Using all this data, I make a schedule with the approximate arrival and departure time at each destination, the importance of the story, and what we will purchase at the story. So far, my best friend Sarah and I have really kept on schedule! It keeps us moving, motivated, and gives us a sense of adventure.
Carry cash and keep it close. It can be easy to overspend when surrounded by so many deals. Therefore, a lot a certain amount of money to your Black Friday spending and stop there. I budget ahead of time and then add in a few more dollars for unadvertised items that catch my eye. Last year, I was right on budget. If you can do this using your debit card, more power to you. I use both cash and my debit card because some retailers offer “cash only” lines which will get you in and out of the store more quickly than plastic. Be careful because pickpockets are on the prowl and they’d like nothing more than to grab your holiday cash.
Keep a smile on your face. People are going to be rude, pushy, and obnoxious. Instead of getting upset about it, just laugh. I mean, they’re the ones who look ridiculous, right? Plus, when you’re stuck in a long line it’s fun to make friends with the people in front of or in back of you. It makes for a more pleasant experience for everyone. Smile brightly at all those hard-working store employees who are probably having a rough day already. Encourage them by saying, “You’re doing a great job!” And if you can’t find an item, ask a store employee—not only will it save you time and keep you on schedule, but you might be the only kind customer the employee encounters all day!
Some may call it retail therapy, but I love getting a great day and Black Friday provides me with enough happy hormones to last for days! Cynics write off the day as an event that only highlights the greedy consumerism that plagues Americans, which is fine because it just leaves more bargains for me to snatch up. Have a safe and happy Black Friday!
What deals have caught your eye in early Black Friday ads? Is there anything you plan to go out and buy?