Before You Leave for Black Friday Shopping
Dress for Success: Some of us will do our Black Friday shopping in sunny California, but others of us will be trudging through snow-covered parking lots to get into the mall. Either way, once you’re indoors, you can be sure that hunting for Black Friday deals will be nothing but walking or standing in cramped quarters. So wear comfortable shoes, and also make sure to dress light under your coat, unless you want to shop in a sweat bath. (Also check the weather this Black Friday 2013 — if it calls for it, you might be looking for your most comfortable boots, not shoes.)
Know Your Friends/Family: Whether you ask for lists ahead of time, or simply know what you want to buy your friends, have as many specific ideas on paper as you can. Having a Black Friday shopping list can be helpful considering Black Friday is a grab-‘n’-go affair. You don’t want to be hemming and hawing while others are snatching the best Black Friday deals. Also, know clothing sizes in advance — the best Christmas gift is one you don’t have to return.
Watch the Clock: Compare sales papers (or for the technologically inclined, sales PDFs) ahead of time. Now that Black Friday is spilling over to create Black Thursday, retailers are throwing different “events,” meaning a deal good at 6 p.m. Thursday won’t necessarily be in effect once the 8 p.m. Thursday bonanza begins. Make appropriate notes on your Black Friday shopping list and plan accordingly.
Identify the Doorbusters: The devil’s in the details — specifically, the fine print that says “ONLY 2 PER STORE” right underneath the giant, bold print that says “60-INCH HDTVs FOR 50 CENTS.” Determine what Black Friday deals are the most important to you ahead of time. And if they include any of these limited-quantity deals … well, start dragging the camping supplies out of the attic.
Case the Joint: Because no one has created an infinite-capacity storeroom, there’s technically going to be a limited quantity of everything. Improve your chances of success this Black Friday 2013 by knowing the layout of the stores you plan on hitting up — especially if you’re going after doorbusters and other limited-quantity deals. It’s hard enough to find what you want without having to peruse through human walls.
Plan a Route: If you’re not beholden to doorbusters, you can save yourself a little traffic hassle by planning out your route for Black Friday shopping. Try to hit stores in a line, and use a paper map or GPS to suss out back-road routes. Time spent driving is time not spent shopping or relaxing.