Your Black Friday survival guide
Black Friday used to be a strange -and slightly embarrassing- event that we all read about on Thanksgiving weekend. Now, it’s the day that marks the official start of the Christmas shopping season, and it’s even gained an extra day for online offers, dubbed Cyber Monday. And the whole thing has become a global phenomenon.
So here’s your guide to get through it.
Planning the list
Make a list of things that you plan to buy. Research them; make sure that you get the best price/quality ratio before going shopping so that you know exactly what you want and where you can buy it.
Is there a sure-deal method to know if you have the best price? Yes, checking with the kings, Amazon or Wal-Mart. If they match that price, you’re doing well.
Also, if you know that any of your purchases might need to be returned or exchanged later, learn the store’s policy for returns and exchanges on Black Friday merchandise before you buy. Don’t get stuck with something you cannot exchange!
Regarding quality: Are you aware that many stores now have low-cost production lines aimed for mass sales on Black Friday? If you stick with specific things that you wanted to buy before, and avoid the temptation of random sale displays, you will save yourself from later upsets.
Many name brand boutiques -as in the actual stores belonging to name brands like YSL, Channel, or Tiffany- will have sales on that day which they simply do not advertise. If you want to buy a specific name brand item, Black Friday might be the day to visit those boutiques.
Keep in mind that, in order to really save, you shouldn’t buy any designer item on Black Friday that is not at least 35%, especially clothing, cosmetics and perfumes.
Planning the best shopping route
There are lots of Black Friday sites and apps that can help you route your day based on your shopping list. Get familiar with them and have them on your phone or tablet.
Additionally, shop around for the best deals before Black Friday. Once you have your shopping list ready, go online and compare the online flyers or advertisements t see who will have what you want at the best price.
Planning your schedule
Ultimately the best deals and the best inventory choices are going to be available when the stores open, so if you know exactly what you want and where it is, going there in person can guarantee your purchase in most situations.
Planning for your body and mind
Here’s a list of mental and physical tips that will help you get though the day. They become more important the longer you plan on shopping:
- Get a good night’s sleep
- Avoid taking your children with you
- Be ready to wait an hour or more to pay at the cashier: bring snacks and water
- Going with friends or family will help you keep your place in line, use those restrooms, and get small breaks
- Stay calm; if you choose to shop on the craziest shopping day of the year, you should already know that it is not going to be like other days.
Black Friday crowds are loud, rude, driven and ruthless. There have been reported cases of violence in past years.
Obviously it isn’t like that everywhere, but it’s good to keep it in mind and stay alert. If someone starts acting strange, erratic or violently, it’s best to move away from them discreetly. If another customer is giving you trouble, walk away or contact security to report them.
Try not to leave your shopping cart unattended. When putting things in your car, put them in the trunk and if you see someone watching you, move the car to a different spot.
At the register
I don’t advocate the use or owning of store credit cards but I also know that many of you do have them. If you do, now’s the time to put them to good use,
As many retailers offer special discounts if paying with the store card.
Be sure to pay off the complete balance before of the next billing cycle though, because we both know that their rates are horrendous!
Remember to ask for gift receipts. they used to exist only in the United States but now stores worldwide are giving them during the holidays. They’re a must I your purchase will be a gift.
Shopping in your pajamas? Why not?
As it turns out many of the large stores -over 70%- that advertise their Black Friday store sales also sell those items briefly at the beginning of Black Friday on their online websites. For instance, this year Walmart has already announced that it will sell many of its items online starting 10 pm EST on Wednesday the 21st.
Would you want to work on Thanksgiving Day?
Sadly, in the United States, there are many stores advertising sales on the very day of Thanksgiving. Thousands of people will be forced to work at those stores for the sake of corporate greed.
Please, don’t go shopping on Thanksgiving Day; it’s the country’s dearest holiday and, if we all send the message, they will stop trying to make them work.
Black Friday is not for everyone, but it’s an experience worth trying at least once. The savings are real and, if you really know what you want to buy, there’s no better time, price-wise, to get it.