How to Survive Black Friday
The latest gadgets, toys and electronics at deeply discounted prices?! To some, nothing could be sweeter. To others (self-included), it's an opportunity to sequester oneself at home with ample leftovers, cable television and a good book. It can get pretty rough-and-tumble out there, and that just scares the bejesus out of me.
For those of you strong enough to brave the shopping elements, there are several thoughtful, efficient tips to keep in mind to get you in and out of there quickly and with all your limbs, your must-have items and *most* of your sanity.
Get your planning on. This is a given, no? Few shoppers head out at 4 a.m. without a clue as to why they're getting up before dawn. But get organized. Don't just make a list, but actually plan your shopping route based on different retailers' locations. And then get more detailed. Plan your route once you're inside the store.
Take the advertisements with you. Nothing will incite a quicker "Where can I find...?" response than a finger point at an image in the latest flyer. Customer service personnel should be well-versed with Black Friday stock, so don't think that you can find it faster on your own. Get help, get the item and get to check-out!
Take a large albeit comfortable handbag. Stock up on snacks with provisions like almonds, string cheese or a protein bar, which will tide you over once your stomach gets to growling. This means you can make it to more sales while the average Jane hits the Starbucks' drive-thru for a "quick" pick-me-up. But yours -- cheaper and quicker! Plus you'll be one of the few shoppers without an attitude, and isn't that something to be proud of? You can also throw in a bottle of water, coupons, advertisements and that ibuprofen you'll be needing.
Let technology help you. Those of you with iPhones and Androids can take advantage of a handful of helpful shopping apps, which we've outlined in our "Download These Apps" story. And get friendly with the apps before you need them -- there's no learner's curve on Black Friday.
Pay attention to return policies and price-match guarantees. There's nothing worse than getting a good deal and realizing you're stuck with it, even if something goes wrong. Plus, if you stay aware, you just might get an even lower price with many retailers' price-match guarantee -- another good reason to keep those ads in your handbag.