For some time Americans have followed their Thanksgiving celebrations with an early morning of highly discounted Christmas shopping known as, Black Friday. Stores all over the country drop their prices and consumers flock. The race to get the best deal and most significant products have become a sport of consumption. Stores have gradually pushed their respective opening times back earlier and earlier to the point where Black Friday madness now begins as early as 6:00 PM Thanksgiving night.
Every year people’s most carnal instincts bubble to the surface as they fend for the best deals in the Black Friday jungle. Many have given up fighting the crowds and potential conflict of the early sales and opted for online shopping or just skipped the sales altogether. While that is an understandable position, we’d like to offer a few options for shoppers that could make the Black Friday experience less daunting and more enjoyable.
+ KNOW WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR
Under no circumstances should anyone ever show up to a Black Friday sale not knowing what you are looking for. Take the necessary time to look at the catalogs from the stores you plan on hitting up. This is not the time to stroll around perusing the aisle’s of your favorite department stores, you need a focused blueprint to have a successful visit. If you want to get extra technical, go the store a day or two ahead of time and scout out the most direct route possible to your aisle of choice.
+ MAKE WISE PRODUCT SELECTIONS
Every year each department store has a few mega deals that seem too good to be true. The truth is those deals do exist but for anyone who has ever tried their hand at a Black Friday sale knows that the best deals fly off the shelves at the rate it takes Terrence Gore to get from first to second. Whether it’s the TV that is marked down 70%, the laptop that is half off, or the major appliance that is delightfully cheap, just assume that if you have any chance of getting one of those items you’re going to have to get in line hours before opening. Now that stores open as early as 6:00 PM that means you would have to kiss your Thanksgiving feast goodbye. There are good deals all over the place so pick a few items that are more likely to last a little longer.
+ DON’T GO WITH ANYONE WHO WON'T STICK IT OUT IN THE LINES
For this survival guide tip, I speak from painful personal experience. Several years ago I went with a friend and his father to a Black Friday sale at an electronics store that opened at midnight. We were all excited to take the plunge into the consumption derby and made sure to get hopped on caffeine before we entered (my friend’s dad drove us there, a crucial detail). My plan was to stock up on top notch Blu-Rays (Yes, there was a time when buying hard copies of movies made sense) and boy did I strike gold. I had everything from the 90’s Keanu classic, Speed to the Lord of The Rings Trilogy box set. I filled my arms with as many of these crystal clear pictured discs of perfection as I could and headed for the line. My buddy and his pops “didn’t see anything they really wanted” and stood sheepishly with me for a few minutes. After about fifteen minutes of standing with me they declared their fatigue and stated they wanted to leave, crushing my savings jubilance. Learn from my mistake, make sure everyone is in for the long haul.
+ BRING SOMETHING TO PASS THE TIME WHILE STANDING IN LINE
Long lines are a given when Black Friday shopping so make sure and bring something to entertain you while you wait. For starters, make sure your phone is fully charged and ready to stick with you through the wait. For readers, bring your Kindle, tablet, or even an old fashioned hard copy book.
+ COME DETERMINED, NOT HOSTILE
Something about the scent of a great deal tends to bring out the worst in people. So many videos have surfaced over the years that mirror the insanity of the fight between Arnold and Sinbad for a Turbo Man in Jingle All the Way. Remember, no amount of savings is worth losing your dignity over, or worse, spending the night in jail. If you and someone do come to a confrontation over an item contest to a point but when push comes to shove be the bigger man/woman and extend the Christmas spirit by letting your fellow shopper walk away with the prize.