Surviving “Black Friday”

Surviving “Black Friday” Need Not Be Stressful

Chris Furguson
With the day after Thanksgiving comes “Black Friday,” the day where stores traditionally start showing a profit for the entire year.  With Black Friday comes big sales and big crowds of rabid consumers willing to do just about anything to get the items they’re after.
That is why the Weekly-Chronicle presents this “Black Friday Survival Guide” for those considering joining the fracas of Black Friday.
One, know exactly what you want and where it is. Black Friday is not a day where you want to dawdle and “shop.”  In fact, while you’re looking for that special gift with a cart full of stuff, someone may wind up taking one of your better finds for themselves!  And that’s not mentioning all the pickpockets and more criminal elements that still thrive on Black Friday.
Bring a list of exactly what you want and, when you grab it, move on.
Also, most department stores have a similar layout to one another and the more you know about the store, the better you know how to navigate your way through it.
Two, realize that the item you want may not be available, even if you stood in line for hours.
Retailers, more often than not, have a nasty policy of having the bare minimum of a popular item in stock.  In other words, if the advertised minimum is five and you’re #6 in line for it, you’re out of luck.  It’s a practice not liked among critics of the retail industry, but it does exist and it does happen.
Three, ask the manager if there are any backup sales planned.  Sometimes, a store will allow other items to be sold at sales prices once the listed item is gone.
However, don’t just accept any item at the listed price.  Make sure the item being offered is similar to the sold out item.  Do not let your desire to get a gift cloud your overall judgment.
Four, find a smart shopping buddy. A recent online quote about Black Friday says it best.  “Taking a lover is like taking a walking argument – just don’t.”  Keep the kids at home as well.
Sometimes, you want an extra pair of hands for a big item or for another chance at a particular gift.  What you don’t want is the added stress of a potential argument or fight if you don’t get THAT item.  Leave the spouse at home when you shop or let them shop at other stores to spread your potential.
The stress of excited and disappointed kids who will become aware that Mommy or Daddy need help for their shopping addictions will also contribute to your overall discomfort, so leave them at home as well, especially if you plan a shopping spree of more than 3 hours.
If you must have a buddy, consider a like-minded friend who isn’t interested in any of the deals.  One who is strong or determined enough to pull you away from the fray if need be.
Five, bring a survival pack of advertisements, water and snacks.
It’s going to be cold while you wait.  Then, with the rush of shopping, you will be dehydrated from all the sweating you’ll be doing.  Bring some water or some other refreshing drink with you and keep yourself hydrated.  Also, if you know you’re going to get hungry, bring a snack instead of rushing to the food court/restaurant.  Those places will be packed.
Also, sometimes the computers aren’t programmed with every bargain in time for shopping, so bring any ads with you that you’re considering.
Six, consider shopping another day.  More often than not, the sales on “Black Friday” aren’t necessarily the best deals before Christmas.  Shopping another weekend before the holidays may result in a better gift for your loved ones.
There is a growing movement amongst shoppers where they exercise almost total restraint during the Black Friday weekend, just because of the almost rabid-like nature of their fellow consumers.  Consider the same thing for yourself and just wait for a less stressful time.
Seven – Consider shopping at home.
Online shopping can be a more pleasant experience than shopping in person, especially on Black Friday.  Trust reliable websites and be careful with your credit/debit cards and you can have a stress free holiday experience.
At least until the packages arrive, that is.