Thanksgiving is almost here and we all know what that means – friends, family, football, and stuffing yourself until you can’t move. Thanksgiving brings out the best of the holiday season – and then the next day, Black Friday, the absolute worst in people.
Black Friday is the day that retailers pull out all the stops in attempts to get you to buy things you didn’t even know you wanted by lowering the prices so low that you’ll stand in line for 10 hours the night before. This is all in hopes of getting a new laptop for $200, only to find out that there is a limit of one per store and you’re not gonna get it because the stock boy already promised it to his girlfriend.
However, smart (and brave) shoppers know that if you play Black Friday just right, you can get all your holiday shopping, pick up some stuff for yourself, and save a bundle in the process!
Here are some tips to help you survive Black Friday:
Don’t wait until Friday morning. Get the ads early. Many retailers are releasing their ads online in advance to those who are subscribed to their mailing lists. You can also check out Black Friday websites such as http://www.blackfriday.info/ for an advanced sneak peek of Black Friday ads. Knowing what deals can be found where and what stores are open at what hours, you can create a strategic mission plan to make the most of your time and dollars. And of course, you can always check fatwallet.com for the latest deals!
Dress properly. If you’re going to camp out the night before in a line, make sure you’re dressed for comfort. If it’s cold, wear extra layers. Wear shoes you don’t mind standing in for a while – because you’re gonna need them. You’ll also want to make sure you’re dressed for the battle for bargains which will ensue the minute the doors to the store open and the riots break out. Of course, if you really want to be prepared, you should be prepared for the eventual trampling which seems to occur on this day every year. Decked out in an assault suit complete with a riot shield, bulletproof body armor, and a gas mask, you’ll be ready to deal with anything that stands between you and that $300 iPad!
Bring the right gear. Remember the days before the internet, when you had to stand in line for concert tickets two days in advance? Take it from me – you don’t want to be the one person in line without something to pass your time or make your wait more comfortable. Bring folding chairs, books, and portable electronics to make your wait go by a bit quicker. These items can also, and perhaps most importantly, be used to keep annoying people at bay.
Make friends with the people in line. Make no mistake that these people are your enemies, many who would stab you with a fork to get a cheap flat screen TV, but being friendly with them can have advantages. You can save each others’ spots in line or even agree to get limited items for one another.
Shop online. In recent years, many stores have gone online to expand their favorite holiday. Some online retailers offer discounts for a few hours early in the morning, before their brick and mortar stores open. Others are holding Black Friday events which extend the entire weekend. In short, there are plenty of opportunities to get great deals. However, be sure to check both the print ads and the online ads, as some specials will be exclusive to in-store or online purchases only.
With a bit of preparation, lots of patience, and perhaps a bit of sadomasochism, you can survive Black Friday, should you choose to go out. I’d like to say I’ll see you out there, but I’ll be at home buying my stuff online. Sometimes sanity is worth the extra bucks you have to spend to keep it.