It’s the Blackest Time of the Year: Surviving Black Friday Shopping

November 24, 2011  |  
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Thanksgiving is tomorrow! And while getting pudgy on that good stuff, laughing with friends and family, and being thankful (yada, yada, yada) is pretty much the most important aspect of your Thursday, we know what your mind will be on once that food is cooked: Black Friday!

Most normal people will probably wait until Friday afternoon to head to overcrowded malls, boutiques and department stores, but the thirsty folks (there’s no shame in your game!) will probably be up bright–make that dark–and early trying to grab some deals. Keep these tips in mind as you get prepared for the second big part of your holiday weekend. Happy shopping!

Eat, Eat, EAT (and maybe medicate yourself)
I beg of you, eat before you go. Make a turkey sandwich, eat some leftover stuffing, or just go regular and have some cereal, but a full stomach will alleviate a nagging headache while moving about. If you’ve ever felt your system slowly start to shut down because you ran out without eating, you know it will feel ten times worse around screaming kids and droves of louder adults. I would even recommend throwing an aspirin back just to be prepared.

Work as a Team
If you decide to go Black Friday shopping all by your lonesome, expect to be looking around and standing in line until you’re just about ready to fall out or do some cussing out. Rolling in a pack with some of your most rough and tough siblings or your craziest cousins can allow you all to grab what you came for quickly and get out in good time.

Cousin Debbie: electronics; your best friend: the home goods department; your sister: checkout line patrol; You? Toys! There’s nothing that makes a gal happier while shopping than knowing not only did she get a good deal, but she’s got a place in line whenever she’s ready without being anywhere near checkout.

Leave Your Kids at Home
Kids are cute. Really, they are. But no one has time to be holding anybody’s hand during these hectic Black Friday experiences. And while you’re getting prepared to get your fisticuffs on with the lady holding the last $200 laptop, the last thing you want to hear is, “Mommy, I’m hungry,” or even worse, a temper tantrum that has you and your baby frustrated. Not to mention that if they see toys or candy, it’s a wrap on your plans. Stay focused on the task at hand (as ruthless as that sounds…) and keep the little one with that same family that was eating all your food the night before. Tell them to be useful!

Be Aggressive But Not Crazy
And this is for all aspects of the Black Friday experience. If you don’t move fast and think smart, you’ll still be circling around the parking lot while all those iPods you were hoping for on sale get swooped up. If you don’t put someone in their place in line (you don’t have to lose your mind though), then any Tom, package, Harry, Jenny, Sally (Jesse Raphael) and her two snot-nosed kids will be cutting you with all their clipped coupons. Don’t hit anybody (unless they hit you first), but know that being aggressive will get you in and out faster.

Uh…Have a Plan If You’re Going Out Early (don’t just go shopping)
Unless you’re leisurely shopping in the late afternoon and want to see what you can see, don’t stroll through the Wal Mart’s, Targets, Macy’s, Kohls, JcPenney’s and the likes at 8 a.m. trying to window shop. If you don’t know what you’re looking for when you step in the joint, you’ll be wasting your time and you’ll be in eager people’s way. On top of that, everyone knows that when you don’t have an action plan, you’ll probably wind up spending more money than you want or need to (like you did at the grocery store last week).

Wear Good Walking Shoes (for parking reasons…)
If you’re not one of the lucky people who can hop on public transit, know that unless you’re the thirstiest person in the world, you might have to park in a made-up spot at the end of the biggest parking lot you’ve ever seen. If possible, it never hurts to have someone drop you off, especially when you’re thinking of hitting up a mall for a couple of hours. But if you can’t…go ahead and put those inserts in your shoes and get the stepping…

Don’t Take Things Too Personal or Get Wildebeest Wild
PLEASE don’t get riled up over someone taking the last of something or accidentally bumping into you, because I don’t want to see you on the 10 0‘clock news as the crazy lady caught on a camera phone stomping someone out for an e-Reader. Cool? Black Friday has become one of those things that people use as an excuse to push, shove and even trample folks just for a deal that might not even be THAT good of a deal. Take everything in stride, and know that even if you don’t get exactly what you were feening for on Black Friday, you’ve got weeks to find it for at least a decent price before Christmas.

And Of Course…Shop Online
The smartest Black Friday shoppers might be the folks that grab some coffee or hot chocolate, put on their slippers, turn on their laptops and surf the Internet for deals in the comfort of their home. No ripping and running, just refreshing and browsing. You can compare prices a lot faster and easier online and you will get a better selection of stuff when you look at sites like Zappos, Overstock, and more, who usually offer great deals for Black Friday. You don’t have to literally come home black and blue on Black Friday from fighting in the stores if you don’t want to, so letting your fingers do the walking might be the best and most relaxing option (except if you’re bidding on eBay. Hurry up!)

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