Gray Thursday Black Friday comes with a mixed bag of emotions. Most people love it, hate it or are too afraid to even try it. I can understand being afraid because there have been some awful stories of people acting crazy during the day. However, I’ve never witnessed that and hopefully I can help you feel relaxed about one of the biggest shopping days of the holiday season.
*Begin rant* Let me say that I am NOT here for stores that open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, which means employees don’t get time to spend with their families. STOP IT! I know retailers say numbers show consumers want to shop, but employees also
want deserve the HOLIDAY off and should have it. Those $59.99 gizmo and gadgets will still be there and on sale at 6 a.m. Friday. *Rant over*
No matter what time you decide to venture out into the massive crowd (yes, it will be overwhelming if you are a newbie) this tips will help you survive the madness and you may find you want to tackle it again next year. I’ve been Black Friday shopping with my mom since I was a teen, so I’ve got years of experience under my belt.
- Dress comfortably. You can always tell who’s doing Black Friday for fun vs for sport. I giggle when I see women wearing stilettos, leather coats and jeans like they are shopping on a regular Tuesday. Ma’am, this is BLACK FRIDAY. The day where no darns are given. Where people will literally trample over you for a camera and not blink. This is not the day to be strutting your stuff in your best mall attire. The key is to dress as comfortable as possible and in layers. I suggest wearing jogging or yoga pants, preferably with pockets to hold essentials. Wear a heavy sweater/hoodie with a T-shirt underneath so that you can be warm or cool when needed. Trust me, there is nothing worse than being hot and holding a big coat while standing in line. Also, wear comfortable shoes. You’re going to do a lot of walking and your shopping trip will be cut short if your feet hurt. Instead of bringing your big purses, try to consolidate everything down to a crossbody so your hands can remain free for grabbing. Oh, keep a coin purse or something for your cash and any coupons you might use for easy access.
- Pack a snack. Put that leftover turkey to use and pack a sandwich, apple, granola bar and a bottle of water or whatever you fancy to tide you over if you get hungry. You might think that’s a lot, but if you have Thanksgiving dinner in the afternoon and head out at midnight, trust me, after all the excitement of bobbing and weaving your way through stores you’ll need a pick me up. Plus, why waste money at a fast food joint when you have plenty of food at home?
- Have a game plan. For the past three years, I haven’t really wanted or needed anything during the Black Friday sales. However, if you’re trying to get a deal on the latest toy or gaming system, have a plan. Know where you need to be at what time because a lot of things run out before you can even step foot in the store. Often stores will give people standing in line tickets for some of the hot items and those run out fast, so it pays to be in line early. My mother and I always check the sale ads the night before and make a list of where we want to go and for what. Of course you can find a some of the ads being leaked online but I’m old school and love flipping through the glossy advertisements.
- Shop in a group. Unless I’m with my mother, I typically like to shop alone. I just like being on my own schedule and in my zone. However, for Black Friday, you need at least two other people with you. You need one person to hold a spot in line and the others to be eyes and ears for things on the list. I see a lot of teams, especially parents teaming up for Black Friday because I hear Toys “R” Us is no joke!
- Have a budget and stick to it. This one may be the hardest because it’s hard not to get distracted by the low prices of all the shiny things. Don’t do it! Black Friday is NOT the only time you can score a deal. In fact, sometimes it’s better to wait. I know we all want to make our friends and family happy by giving them a great gift, but it’s not worth it if it’s going to put you in debt. If they love you a homemade dish or card will warm their hearts just as much.
- Get in and get out. Unless you’re seasoned at this, Black Friday is not the time to window shop. True story: one year I saw several people doing regular grocery shopping in Walmart on Black Friday. I don’t know if they forgot what day it was or just didn’t give a darn, but they sure were there with eggs, milk and bread in their baskets looking at the rest of us like we were the crazy ones. There are some stores that don’t have much hustle and bustle like New York and Company, so browsing there is OK, but don’t think you can do that in Old Navy. I used to work there and OMG! Get what you need and get out of there to head to the next location and no one gets hurt. =)
I hope my tips help you on this new adventure. It can be overwhelming, but it also can be fun to watch all the madness. I still haven’t got my plan together, but I’m sure I’ll be in the thick of things.
What’s your Black Friday game plan?