Black Friday is approaching and if you are an avid shopper, you may be gearing up to head to the mall or a big retail store to buy those expensive gifts that are finally at the price where you can afford purchasing. I have been Black Friday shopping only twice in my life and both times I was overwhelmed and told myself that I would never go back. But unfortunately, I had to because I worked retail and taking off for Black Friday was never in the cards. We had to be there, awake, friendly, and ready to move. So from my experiences shopping and working on Black Friday, I have come up with some a Black Friday Survival Guide to help you get through Black Friday shopping if you’re planning to go.
1 – Shop Online
I’m sure that many of you know that the same sales that happen in the stores during Black Friday are also happening online. And even in some cases, those sales start before midnight of Thanksgiving Day and last weeks past this eventful day. Now, I know that some people don’t like ordering things online because either they want to try on the clothes that they are buying or they don’t want to pay for shipping and handling. My advice for that is to let you know that most stores for Black Friday sales provide free shipping at any price or free shipping at a low-cost which most people surpass because they are buying so much. And, once you get the merchandise you can try it on or look at it and if you don’t want it take it back to the store for a refund or for an exchange.
2 – Don’t Go at Midnight
The madness typically is at its worst from midnight of Thanksgiving Day until about three or four in the evening of Black Friday. So wait. Get some sleep, eat some breakfast…maybe even lunch, and go later in the day when the crowds have somewhat subsided and the deals are still happening. Most of the products that you may be looking for will probably still be there as many stores don’t put out full stock that day or in even some other cases, stores get shipment later in the evening and something even better may be in the store when you get there.
3 – Don’t Drive Yourself
One of the worst things about Black Friday is finding parking. Most people spend hours driving around the parking lot waiting for that one single person to walk out of the building towards their car, and as they creepily follow this person to their car, this person waves at them and tells them that they actually aren’t leaving. Another hour in the parking lot wasted. So instead of burning your gas driving around looking for a parking spot, have someone else drive you. You may have the free option and could have a friend or family member drop you off and pick you up later or better yet, use Uber or another taxi service to drive you to the mall or outlets and then when you’re almost done shopping, send that notification or give the service a call and have them pick you up within the next hour. Better yet, this would be a great time register to be an Uber driver with the holiday season upon us. Get some extra cash instead of spending it.
4 – Plan Ahead
This is the key thing for every serious shopper. Make your list for all the items that you want to get and where you can find them. If the items aren’t brand specific, write down multiple places that it can be found and which places are having the best sales. Start where the lowest price is and work your way up. The worst thing you can do on Black Friday is walk into the mall or store and wander around not really sure of what you’re there for. Most people who do this tend to buy things they don’t need and then later spend a whole day visiting the different stores to return the items that they should haven’t even bought in the first place.
5 – Check Your Receipts
This is something that every shopper should do in any shopping situation. But pay special attention on Black Friday. There are instances when the person who is ringing people out forgets to put in the discount. For some stores, the store discount is not automatically applied and the cashier has to put it in manually. People get tired and after so many hours and a never-ending line, those cashiers may get tired. Or, you might be the person walking up to the cash register during a shift change and the new cashier hasn’t been told that he or she needs to manually put in the code for the discount. Watch the screen as you are being rung out and before you hand over your credit card, check to make sure that the expected total is what is actually showing on the screen.
There is no way to avoid the long lines if you are planning to physically go to the mall, so bring some good walking/standing shoes and your patience. There will be bumping and shoving and maybe a few arguments because someone grabbed the last item before the other person was able to get it. Hopefully these tips can help you get through one of the most dangerous shopping experiences ever.