Happy Thanksgiving…Oh and Good Luck On Black Friday!

Today is Thanksgiving and I hope you are enjoying yourself.  Every year we host Thanksgiving.  I know, the vegetarians hosting Thanksgiving, but we do…our moms each bring a turkey. 

Thanksgiving is a great holiday for me.  It’s all about hanging out with family and friends and eating great food.  There are no gifts, no pressure, just a nice relaxing day.

However the next day is Black Friday and that can be full of stress for many.  I have never gotten up to partake in the ‘early bird’ deals.  Now with the boys, I value any sleep I can get.  But last year, my cousin Jenny was leaving our house to hit the Black Friday deals, which now start at 12:01 am on Friday.  Since I was still up, I decided to go to Old Navy with her just out of curiosity.  What a crazy scene!

We waited in a line outside of Old Navy to get in the store for 15 minutes.  Then we pushed our way through the crowds to ‘shop’ or rather grab what we could find.  Then it was time to pay and the line to check out was ginormous!  It started at the front of the store, went to the back on one side and then across the back, back to the front and zigzagged five times to the cash registers.  I waited about 10 minutes to see how fast it would move and decided to put my stuff back as we were going nowhere! It was 1:00am and I needed to be up in five hours with two crazy boys.  Jenny stayed and waited two hours to check out.  Was it really worth it?

In case you are planning to check out the Black Friday fun, here are some tips I found to make your experience more enjoyable and successful.

  • Shop online first.  Before you brave the crowds at the stores, check to see if the retailer is offering the same—or even better—deals on its website.
  • Make a plan: Identify what you want to buy, which stores have the best sales on Black Friday and what time they open.
  • Timing is everything: Arrange stores by opening time, from earliest to latest.
  • A fool and his money: Be wary of Black Friday deals with quantity limits. If a store has only 10 items at that price, go elsewhere.
  • Visualize: Know where your items are in the store.
  • Power of numbers: Go with a team and attack separate stores or separate sections of the same store. Designate a meeting place.
  • Bring a snack: Only amateurs stop at the food court on Black Friday! (Or the bathroom — so go before you leave.)
  • The quiet ones: Don’t ignore stores that don’t advertise. They will have Black Friday deals, too!
  • See if you can get a price-match guarantee.
  • Buy the item you really want.  Don’t get drawn in to “doorbusters” as they may not be the best products for your needs.
  • Avoid the old bait-and-switch trick.  Don’t get pushed toward a more expensive model.
  • Dress (and Carry) Appropriately.   Plan on placing comfort above all else.  Beware of big, bulky sweatshirts and winter jackets due to their excess space (and way too much heat) once the sales-crush starts. What you carry can be just as important as what you wear. Bring a small water bottle if you can, but ease up on any extra beverages, and avoid coffee or energy drinks high in caffeine unless you want to spend your Black Friday in a crowded bathroom.  Lastly, please carry credit cards, not cash.  You’ll make far fewer enemies at the sales checkout line if you’re touting a MasterCard or Visa than a stockpile of ones, fives and tens.

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  • Great piece! Here's another thought about adding meaning to Black Friday: http://beyondsiri.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/how-to-add-meaning-to-black-friday/

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