So just how do you survive Black Friday, let alone get the bargains that caused you to leave your comfortable bed in the wee hours of the morning?
Have a strategy. Plan to survive. Plan to win. Plan. Plan. Plan.
First, check the stores online and the circulars in your local paper. See what deals appeal to you most. Remember, when an item is available in limited quantities, it will go very quickly. Plan what store you will hit first—and know where the merchandise is in that store. Have your coupons organized, and use credit or debit cards that offer some kind of rebate. Be ready with a backup strategy for shopping if the top item on your list is in short supply.
Sometimes it is good to divide and conquer—several members of a family can divide up, with one at each store. Or decide which store is most important to shop first, and spread your team out! No matter how early the doors open, be there as far ahead as you can. If a large store opens at 4 or 5 a.m., you need to be standing in line no later than an hour before opening if you want to score the most limited deal.
Yes, the lines really do stretch all the way around the store and down the parking lot to the highway. So dress warm, and carry cell phones and bottled water. Plan which items you will be looking for first. Once the doors open, it will be a rush, so you really have to know where you are going. If they ran out of cameras at one store, your cousin at another store might be able to score the item.
If you are shopping alone, just focus on the items you are after. Don’t get caught up in the initial confusion and rush. Know where you are going and work the store. If you have young children with you, make the occasion a sleepy but happy one, with time for treats, potty breaks, and fun. Yes, even children are part of Black Friday, in strollers and slings and wraps, or riding in the basket. Of course, Santa’s helpers will have to be discreet!
Above all, be of good cheer! Don’t be pushy, rude, and argumentative. Stand firm in the line, and develop a friendly rapport with the other shoppers. People often swap tips, but beware of rumors that might mislead you or throw you off track. Courtesy goes a long way with bargain shoppers.
The nicest part of Black Friday is coming home with great bargains, making leftover turkey sandwiches, and then setting up the computer for Cyber Monday—and all the incredible online sales that will take place daily and hourly from Thanksgiving eve through Monday.