On Thanksgiving, we take the time to appreciate our lives and loved ones. The next day, we put all of that sentimentality behind us and refocus on what’s really important: shopping!
Well, at least that’s what the millions of Americans who participate in Black Friday do. The day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday because it’s one of the busiest shopping days of the year – and the unofficial beginning of the Christmas holiday season. Most malls and stores open their doors early and offer dramatic sales to encourage shopping on that day.
But Black Friday is not for the casual shopper – or for the meek. This is not the day to go for a stroll in the mall for some window-shopping. The most important thing to remember about Black Friday is that you’ve got to plan ahead.
Plan Your Strategy
Most stores publicize their Black Friday sales in advance with newspaper ads, sales fliers and online advertising. As soon as the advertisements roll out, start planning what stores you’ll go to and what items you’ll buy at each store.
Because you want to get the most out of a busy day, your goal is to get in and out of each store as quickly as possible. Make a specific shopping list for each store and have coupons organized accordingly. It’s easy to get distracted by all the great deals, but stay focused on what’s on your list or you may not end up getting everything you set out for.
Depending on your dedication, you may want to arrive really early – some stores even open at 12:01 a.m. When you’re planning your day, make sure to find out each store’s special Black Friday hours and any promotions that are available only at certain times. Many stores only offer sale items in limited quantities, so if you’ve got your heart set on something, you may want to get to the store and hour or two before it opens.
Divide and Conquer
If you want to take advantage of Black Friday sales at a lot of different stores, consider dividing the shopping with a group of friends or family members. Make your lists together and have each person shop at a specific store for the whole group. If you’re shopping for several items at one store, you can also split up to cover more ground within the store.
Get in Line
On Black Friday, the only thing worse than the crowds shopping in the aisles are the lines at the checkout. If you have a shopping buddy, have her get in line while you pick up what’s on your list. If you’re shopping alone, pick up your items and get in line as quickly as you can.
The best Black Friday sales are in the morning – so get up early, get your shopping done and go home. By early afternoon, crowds are cranky from waiting in lines all day and disappointed that sale items are already gone. So do the best you can to complete your list by mid-morning — and then go home and reward yourself with some leftover pumpkin pie.
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