Tried and True Tips for Shopping on Black Friday
Shopping on Black Friday (and yes shopping in the cold) became a ritual for me a few years ago when I was in search of a good deal (read: very cheap) on a laptop. My search led me to a laptop deal at Best Buy. The deal was so good that the laptop was pretty much free and each store could only guarantee a few laptops. Naturally, people really really (including me) wanted that one of those unicorn laptops.
On Black Friday, after stuffing my face with a southern style (a treat for my Hispanic self), I started to get ready at 1am. I also got my companion (my sister), who was the only person daring enough to hit the Black Friday streets with me, ready by insisting she join me.
In my mind to shop, all I had to do was get online and wait for the store to open. Once opened I would go and grab my laptop and leave happy. Pretty simple, if you asked me. She proceeds to side-eye and tells me “You’re not prepared and you can forget about getting your laptop because a lot of people are already online and that deal is gone.” Still despite her warnings get all of the necessary tools to “wait in line in the cold!”
She was right. I was clueless. But after of years of shopping on Black Friday, I think I’ve gotten pretty good at shopping on the biggest day of the year without losing my sanity. I’ve also gotten really good at figuring out what’s really good deal. Here are some my tips.
Dress Warmly and Comfortably. Dress in light layers. I’ve learned that bulky sweaters seem like a good idea but once you’re inside and shopping with a lot of people you will start to get hot. It also makes it harder to try on clothes on the fly. Also, wear comfortable shoes or boots. This way you can walk around. One store might have what you’re looking for but another one might and you need to get there quickly.
Pack plenty of water and snacks! On Black Friday some stores do offer snacks (including Old Navy. They sometimes offer free doughnuts) to door-busters. But that’s rare. If you’re serious you won’t stop for such a little as eating. You’ll be prepared with nuts or apples.
Use your smart phone. Go on twitter. Plan your move with apps like with ShopTrotter or BuyVia.com, . Seeing what others are saying about a store can help you determine whether its worth your time to attend or whether the deals are really really deals.
Research the deals ahead of time. Some retailers offer faux deals to get you into their store. Don’t waste your time on those. In my experience stores like GAP, H&M, Express, Old Navy, JC Penney, Macy’s, Best Buy, do offer great deals but only if you’re willing to get up really early. Also, study the circulars along with the websites of the products you are lusting for. Some deals are not fully advertised and those are the best deals.
Don’t buy outwear (unless it is heavily discounted at least 50%) and do buy electronics. On Black Friday, chances are you won’t get the best deal on outwear (that happens in January) so save your money for something else. In my experience on Black Friday, the best deals are on electronics. Look for items that are bundled such as iPads with itunes gift cards.
Bring a friend. Preferably one who is not afraid to push on your behalf or afraid of crowds. You also want to bring a person who is willing to wait online and enjoy doing so or at the very least not complain while doing so.
Have fun. You’re shopping after all. If you’re stressed out you’re doing it wrong.