Black Friday. Those two words are enough to strike fear into the hearts of most shoppers, but not for deal divas like us. Nope. We see it as a challenge. Out there, in the cold, on little or no sleep, going toe-to-toe (or pocketbook-to-pocketbook) with thousands of like-minded bargain hunters. This our time to shine.
Okay, so maybe Black Friday can be a little crazy. After all, it only takes one bad apple – and there are many bad apples in the masses on that day – to turn a 4 a.m. shopping trip into a nightmare you can’t wake up from. That’s okay though, because you’ll be prepared – as long as you follow these basic rules.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK – Of course you’ll get the sales fliers in the paper on Thanksgiving Day. That’s a tradition none of us should stop anytime soon, but the fliers are also posted online days (sometimes weeks) before that. Take a few hours to comb through the circulars to determine what you’d like to buy, when the stores open, and in what order you’ll be visiting those stores based on the opening times. And don’t forget to plan you post-shopping lunch. That’s the best part!
RECRUIT SOME FRIENDS – Shopping is always more fun with friends, and Black Friday shopping is not only fun with friends, it’s crucial if you want to score good deals. Friends can pull you away before things get physical with that pushy lady with two carts or give you someone to chat with while you wait for a store to open. Friends can also hold your place in line. Here’s a tip: as soon as you get in the store, have a friend get in the checkout line while you grab the one or two items you’re after. Just be sure to return the favor at the next store.
SKIP THE DOORBUSTERS (OR AT LEAST HAVE A BACKUP PLAN) – Doorbusters are those really great deals splashed across the front page of the sales flier. Walmart’s doorbusters this year are a 32-inch LCD TV for only $188 (normally $378) and a $49 Blu-ray player (normally $100). Those are definitely a good deal, but stores only stock a limited number of those items (sometimes less than 10), so if you aren’t first in line when the doors open, you’re probably not getting one. Have a back-up plan and know what else you’d like to shop for in that store to make all that time you spent waiting in line worthwhile.