The holiday season is about to be in full swing. For many, holiday shopping has already begun, but for some, it starts the day after Thanksgiving on Black Friday.
For others, it’s starting earlier this year on Thanksgiving Day, with many stores opening as early as 5 or 6 p.m. this year. Which brings me to my first tip for those of you brave enough to Black Friday shop:
Tip #1: Don’t partake. Put your pajamas back on, steer clear of the crowds, and shop from your computer instead (this is what I will be doing).
In all seriousness, for those who can’t miss a great deal, I do strongly encourage you to consider not shopping on Thanksgiving Day at all. Consumerism has gone too far when sales employees have to give up time with their families on a holiday meant to celebrate what we are thankful for so that people can get a cheap flat screen TV. The only way that stores will stop opening early for Black Friday shopping is if people refuse to participate, so consider thinking about those that are giving up their family time for you to shop before you head out to do so.
Tip #2: Have a plan of attack and do your research.
Figure out what you are shopping for to avoid buying things you don’t need. Compare prices to find which store has the best deal. Also, pay attention to the quantity they are selling at a discount, since many items (especially big ticket items) have very limited quantities. Plan which stores you need to go to in which order to maximize your chances of bringing home what you came for. Bring family members with you so you can divide and conquer to find items quickly and get to the checkout line sooner.
Scope out ads ahead of time to find out where the best deals are while you’re waiting for the giant dinner you just ate to digest. Make a list of what you are shopping for you so you avoid unnecessary purchases. Also check the price of items before markdowns—sometimes a deal is not-so-special, or the price was marked up higher than normal so that it looks like it’s more on sale. For big ticket items like TVs or laptops, make sure you look up their specifications in advance and make sure the parts are worth what you’re paying for. A deal may not really be a deal if the hard drive isn’t as big as the normal version or doesn’t come with the same accessories, etc.
Tip #3: Put on a smile and learn to be patient.
You will wait in long lines for at least fifteen minutes, and sometimes for an hour or more. People camp outside of stores for weeks in order to secure their deals, so expect to wait awhile for yours. Be prepared for lines that wind around the store, and be patient: The people working the checkout lines are doing their best to be efficient. They’ve probably been working for long hours at a miserable time of early morning/late at night and are putting up with large crowds of people the entire time. Black Friday shopping is fun for you, but a nightmare for them. They are doing you a favor by giving up their time on a holiday to work, so please be respectful and patient towards them. If you aren’t capable of maintaining your composure in this type of an environment, then Black Friday shopping is probably not for you, so do everyone a favor and online shop from the comfort of your home instead.
Tip #4: Have fun!
Shopping is supposed to be enjoyable, especially when it involves buying gifts for people you love, so enjoy it! Take a coffee break or rest your feet and people watch for a few minutes. Don’t be discouraged if you miss out on a good deal—you might be able to find a similar one online for Cyber Monday! Plus, you’ll be waiting in line for a long time, which offers the perfect opportunity to make a new friend in line or at least hear a cool stranger’s story.
Tip #5: Take advantage of online deals.
Most big retailers and small businesses now participate in Cyber Monday, and many run deals throughout Thanksgiving and Black Friday online. Amazon.com already has a preview of their Black Friday deals, many of which you can already take advantage of. Most clothing retailers will advertise their Cyber Monday deals on their sites throughout the week so take a look and see if there’s anything you can wait on and buy later. A lot of promotions will include free shipping, making online shopping cost the same as in-person Black Friday shopping minus the crowd. Some stores already have pre-Black Friday deals up, too. Here’s a list of sites offering deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday (it’s not exhaustive, so if your favorite isn’t on here, be sure to check their site to see what they have planned!)
- American Eagle
- Best Buy
- Target (they have free shipping now and for the rest of the holiday shopping season)
- Banana Republic
- Old Navy
- PetSmart and Petco (furry friends need love too!)
- Rue La La (online only)
Have a tried and true Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopping tip? Share it in the comments below, or tweet us @litdarling!
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