Black Friday has been a fun time in the past. I had somewhat enjoyed the atmosphere of all of the shoppers out and about (except the part about getting up at 4:50 am to be at Walmart around 5:00 am, oh, and the long lines, and the overflowing parking lots…). Well, maybe it’s not all that great. Anyway, I have never been one to get up earlier than 4:50 am to go shopping on Black Friday. I have my limits. A deal at 3 am isn’t worth breaking up precious sleep.
Well, Black Friday was commercial five, ten years ago, but it’s so much more commercialized now. It’s very sad that Black Friday is bleeding into Thanksgiving Day. Starting the shopping excursion at midnight and now 10 pm or 8 pm on Thanksgiving? That just doesn’t make it Black Friday anymore! What are they going to start doing next? Opening on Thanksgiving morning just so people can get deals? (I know Kmart has been open for years on Thanksgiving. I even worked one Thanksgiving in college at Kmart.) A head start on Christmas shopping? Thanksgiving is not about the deals! Make sure you stop and be with your friends and family, enjoy each other, enjoy the food, enjoy the fellowship, and be thankful.
With that said, here are 9 tips from my own personal experience for having a smoother shopping experience on Black Friday.
- Black Friday ads can be huge these days. So take a permanent marker, circle the items of interest, and on the front page, write what the item is and page number if helpful. A lot of times we just have one or two items of interest per store, so this makes finding the items clear and super easy in the ad.
- Make a plan of attack. Decide where you should go first based on the item(s) you think may sell out the quickest and where you are in proximity to those stores. I put my ads in the order of places I want to go. It makes it easy.
- Go with a friend. Divide and conquer. One person can be parking and the other hunting for an item, or one person can be standing in line (depending how long the line is) while the other is hunting for an item, etc….
- Please don’t bring young kids. Please let them sleep. I always feel so sorry for those little ones!
- I learned this from a family member that previously worked at Walmart. If you have a hot item that seems to sell out quickly like a toy, go to the front of the store where they have the go-back carts. Often times people try to buy beyond their means, their credit cards get declined, the toy of interests end up in the go-back carts, and the employees can’t get the items back on the floor because they are busy checking. About 7 years ago I had my eye on a Cabbage Patch Kid. $10. Walmart. Back then, Walmart opened at 5 am, and we were there about 5:10 or so. The Cabbage Patches were wiped out. We went to the front of the store where the go-backs were and found one. Success!
- If you can live without a cart, don’t get a cart. It will slow you down!
- A lot of stores will price match, even on Black Friday. Price match at the store that doesn’t have the item on sale (where they will have a lot more of the product), and avoid the letdown of not getting your item at the store with the sale. I have brought a Target or Fred Meyer ad to Walmart and got the movie I wanted easily.
- Shop around, and know your prices long before Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) arrives. Just because an item was in a Black Friday ad doesn’t mean that it’s a great deal. In some cases I have found better deals between Black Friday and Christmas on certain items. A few years ago we were shopping for a TV during the holidays and got the best deal right in the middle of December without clawing and grabby hands, either.
- My biggest and final tip is “don’t buy based on emotions.” Don’t let the thrill of the hunt cause you to buy something you really don’t know what you’ll do with once the item is in your home. And if you happen to go that far and buy it, don’t be afraid to return it, either. I have had to let good deals go because I don’t know anyone it would be good for. Just let it go.
I hope some of those tips help!
These days stores are emailing their Black Friday ads early. Every Christmas season I am always looking for good deals on Pyrex, Crock-pots (for wedding gifts not for me:), socks and good movie titles. We really don’t buy much in the the way of movies these days, but it seems like you can get some super deals during the holidays.
I have already received the Fred Meyer and Walmart ads, and Black Friday is two weeks from today. I hold out buying socks most of the year to get them 1/2 priced at Fred Meyer every year, and this year is no different. I need more black and brown socks, and lots of white socks for the kids in case you really care :). I’ll try to get some tights, too. I saw a 6 quart Crock-pot at Walmart for less than $10. That would make a fabulous wedding gift! So if they have them when I get there, great! If not, I won’t fret.
Here’s a little blessed story from last year. Since Target’s ads have typically run Friday and Saturday with no special times, I haven’t felt pressed to be there when they open, because I am not a fighter for a product. It’s absolutely not worth it to me to stand in line, not to mention in the COLD, for hours and hours to TRY to get a product, just to walk away empty-handed. No thanks. Not for me. Not worth it. So last year I figured the $19 scooter I wanted to get my child at Target was going to be gone right away, so I didn’t even check it out on Black Friday. We went to Target the next day for something else, but I looked in the sports section, just in case a scooter happened to be there. I was PLEASANTLY surprised to find they still had a few scooters in stock. God’s grace I say.
Will you brave the morning and get out early on Black Friday or do you avoid the crowds? Do you look for certain items every year? Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!