Shining a Light on Black Friday
With Thanksgiving just a week away, most of you are pre-occupied with menus and travel plans, family and football. But for some of us, this holiday is not just about drifting into a turkey coma… it’s about diving into shopping chaos!
Venturing out to shop on Black Friday is not for the faint of heart. You’ll see things you’ve only read about in blogs: women will come to blows over a good pashmina, grown men will weep over dirt-cheap flat screens. Black Friday is the pinnacle of consumer competitions, and you must be prepared to muscle through these unnerving scenes if you want to make it worth your while.
For those of you who are determined to brave the throngs of devoted deal-hunters, I’ve put together some pointers to get you through it with greater success and fewer battle scars.
Here’s how it’s done:
Do your homework, online and in person. Armed with a list of your essential purchases, research the stores you want to hit by checking their websites and, if possible, by going to the store before Thanksgiving. If it’s a store with which you’re unfamiliar, going there first will help you get the lay of the land, so you don’t waste any time wandering around aimlessly on the big day. Being there beforehand will also give you the chance to question the salespeople about the merchandise you’re targeting while it’s still relatively quiet. Don’t expect to get anyone’s attention or assistance when Friday rolls around.
By sussing out the stores online, you can check out the mall map online and print out your route.
You may also be able to uncover some online-only discounts that can multiply your savings. Just make sure to print any coupons you find online and bring them with you. If the customers in the store don’t know about it, you may want to be prepared for some staffers to be in the dark, too.
Know thy list. The best thing you can do to streamline your Black Friday process is to have a thorough list prepared. Narrow it down to your “must purchase” items, and make careful note of your budget for each item – including any allowable wiggle room – so you don’t have to make decisions (or do any math!) on the fly.
Fortify yourself. Don’t attempt to navigate the jungles of Black Friday without a good night’s sleep and proper nutrition. Arrive well rested and fed. Have a good breakfast and pack snacks to maintain your stamina. Make sure it’s protein-based so it gives you energy, and don’t forget to stay hydrated.
Pack light and carry a big tote. Don’t bring anything you don’t need, but if you’re planning to pick up numerous smaller items, then it’s wise to bring a large empty tote bag with you. You can consolidate your smaller purchases in to one bag,which is easier to carry, and means fewer things to lose in the chaos!
Don’t go it alone. You’ll definitely want to leave the kids at home, but if at all possible, do use the buddy system! Bring a friend with laser-like focus, who willremain calm while barreling through a wall ofunsuspecting shoppers for you, just to grab that last pair of cherry red Manolos from the shelf.
Get a ride! The only thing more daunting than a shopping mall on Black Friday is the parking lot. Ask another friend to drop you off and pick you up so you can save yourself time searching for a parking spot and waiting on line to get out of the lot when you’re done. Offer to pick up something from their list, as a thank you.
Everyone knows that Black Friday is a hurricane of no-holds-barred, take no prisoners, full contact shopping. Make sure you have your battle plan in place and in the end you’ll be victorious… and ready for a big plate of Thanksgiving leftovers. Happy shopping!
Scott Roewer is founder of DeClutterYou.com and SolutionsbyScott.com, a professional organization company devoted to teaching residential and business clients throughout the Washington, DC metro area, how to create and maintain organization systems, master their time management skills, and dramatically increase their productivity.