November 25th, 2011 at 5:00 am
Black Friday has become a rite of passage for deal seekers looking to get a jump on their holiday shopping and finding the hottest items at great prices.
I’m a Black Friday lover.
From toys to televisions, everyone’s got their eye on a deal they just can’t pass up. This year, several retailers are upping the ante by holding Black Friday sales on Thursday night. Whether you plan on heading out Thursday or you’re sticking to Friday shopping out of principal, here are five pieces of advice I’ve learned while out in the trenches.
1) Eat (and drink) early! Why? Because you’ll be standing in line for a very long line and while some people are very friendly, others are not. You don’t want to have to move to the back of the line because you had to use the bathroom. You also want to give yourself plenty of time for that post-Thanksgiving, turkey induced nap. You don’t want to be tired while waiting in line because it’s going to be a long night.
2) Bring a buddy! Last year I dragged my husband along and having an extra set of hands was essential. We split up, each with a list of items we were responsible for. Divide and conquer! Not to mention, if you ignore my first tip, it’s good to have someone to hold your spot!
3) Scout! Many stores will begin placing their big ticket and hot items out before Black Friday. Know where the things you want are ahead of time! Every store will be a zoo on Black Friday and many people will be looking for the same item as you. Quantities are often limited, so get a leg up and know where everything you want will be.
4) Game Plan! With your advanced scouting complete and the circulars dissected it’s time to come up with a plan. Have a list of what you want and where it’s located. Prioritize your list, knowing that you need to get items with limited quantities first. Plan a route that allows you to move quickly and efficiently through the store with as little backtracking as possible. The sooner your shopping is complete, the better, because the sea of humanity that is shopping with you also needs to checkout. The lines get really long so the faster you get in, the faster you can get out.
5) Leave Early. Some people start camping out as much as a day in advance for limited quantity, big ticket items. If that’s what you’re after, plan on getting there as soon as possible or you’ll miss out for sure. Even if you aren’t looking for one of those items, plan on being there several hours in advance. Stores have become much more careful about how quickly they let people enter the store. Last year we arrived two hours early to Toys R Us and were already a couple hundred deep in the line. After they let the initial group of people into the store, they only let a handful enter at a time. It took a LONG time before we made it inside.
If you follow these rules, it should be an exciting night full of good deals and great memories. Please remember that NOTHING on your list is worth being nasty for, so keep your head and be smart when rushing into a store. If you’re lined up in a parking lot, be mindful of cars and traffic, you’ll be amazed at just how many people are out there who don’t deserve a driver’s License. Many people get real cranky standing in lines for that long. Try to be courteous and polite, and usually people will act the same in return. Most of all have fun!
Audrey McClelland can also be found at MomGenerations.com, Lifetime Beauty/Style, Momversation.com, GettingGorgeousEvents.com and GiftGuideGirls.com She is also the co-author of The Digital Mom Handbook.