Black Friday: Survive the Battle of Bargains

by Beth Montgomery on November 23, 2009

in Holidays, Tips & Basics

Okay, lets do a mini quiz…

I love a good deal and snagging great items for almost nothing, so on Black Friday, I am usually :

A) up at 2:00 AM with my plan of attack in hand to get in line and grab all the best deals before they are gone.

B) moseying out of the house around noon when the crowd has calmed down to snag a few wonderful bargains I can’t pass up.


C) hiding out at home hoping that I won’t have to leave the house and struggle through the packed roads or crowded stores.

Did you answer C? You’d be correct.

Here’s a little secret stores don’t want you to know. While there are a few amazing deals at most stores on Black Friday, most deals aren’t anything better than what you would see on sale throughout other days of the year.

So, what’s the lesson here? If you don’t want to deal with major crowds and crazy customers, don’t feel guilty about skipping Black Friday. You can still find some amazing deals in time for Christmas in the days to come.

I know many of you love Black Friday though… the crowds, the deals, the hype. It’s hard to ignore the call. Even I get excited and start thinking about going each year. And then I change my mind and bunker down. However, I can help you have a wonderful Black Friday shopping trip… and who knows… maybe I really will venture out this year.

Compare: Just because it’s on sale and/or advertised, does not mean its the best deal! Compare prices and make sure you know where the best deal really is and also that it truly is a bargain and not a phantom sale!

Plan: Make sure you have a “plan of attack”. The hottest items will sale out quickly and most quantities are limited, so you have to hit these first. Plan your day around these items and be there when the store opens. Keep in mind that different stores will open at different times, but lines will form long before the store opens at the hottest stores, like Toys ‘R Us. To have a productive Black Friday experience, you MUST plan, plan, plan! The best Black Friday shoppers have a back-up plan for their plan and a back-up plan for their back-up plan!

Sleep: Go to bed early (or completely forgo sleep) to be ready before the crack of dawn. Stores open as early as 4:00 AM, while others let you sleep in a bit and open at 6:00 AM. And, if you plan on shopping Black Friday, do it right! Get out there early (and I mean EARLY), when the best deals are still available. Dress lightly, so you don’t overheat and don’t worry about the hair. Everyone will be in too much of a rush to notice.

Partner Up: Black Friday shopping is a team sport! Have a partner or partners to help you scope out deals , grab items for you, and pull you through the crowds. You can also have one person stand in the check out line, while the other shops to save you some time getting back out and to the next store. You can trade places to take turn shopping, because some check out lines can resemble amusement park lines. Don’t forget your cell phone, so you can keep in contact!

Chill Out: Take it in stride! Black Friday can turn even the sanest person into a complete nut. Emotions run high. Drivers become crankier, shoppers become pushier, and everyone is feeling a bit chaotic, so remember to stop and take a deep breath so you don’t find your self among the nuts!

Break: After the early morning rush, slow down! The morning is the craziest time, because everyone is trying to snag the hottest items. As the day goes on, you can take breaks and browse. Many great deals are unadvertised. Don’t get too comfortable though. Some stores have late night deals too!

Don’t Skip Clothes: Grab some tops and pants too! Clothing is usually one of the best deals on Black Friday, because clothing stores are trying hard to compete with the electronics deals. Keep a list of sizes with you, so you can grab and run.

Receipt Please: Keep an envelope or section of your purse reserved for receipts. In all the grabbing, there is a good chance you’ll walk out with something you didn’t really want or doesn’t fit, so you’ll want to be able to return it.

Note: Most stores do not release their Black Friday advertisements until Thanksgiving Day. They’ve asked us bloggers not to leak them, until they are official, so I’m going to respect their wishes. However, A Full Cup has a great forum watching out for the best Black Friday deals, so join in on the fun and check it out!

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