You know it’s nearly Black Friday when:
- Ridiculous ads about the virtues of power shopping are everywhere.
- Food, family and even football are all shoved aside for some room to study store circulars and pore over relentless email enticements.
- A new electronic miracle device is launched and breathlessly touted just before the big day and even though you know it’s shameless commerce and diabolical marketing, you want it anyway.
- You don’t need to go shopping, you hate malls, but something mysterious and compelling lures you out there anyway. And all your friends come along, too.
A charming piece by Alexa Wilansky in yesterday’s Massachusetts Daily Collegian called a ‘Black Friday Survival Guide‘ had some timely suggestions for shoppers gearing up to face the big day. She recommended grabbing some coffee and heading out, with the following guidelines:
- Get a good night’s sleep before you start. Now, I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty challenging after Thanksgiving unless you have a terrific crew to help with all the chores. And we don’t sleep well with full bellies, either. Still, do what you can – you’ll need all energy you can muster just to handle the lines to the cashier.
- Stay out of the dressing rooms, if possible. Use your head here. If you are picking up a basic sweater or tank top and trust the sizing, don’t bother trying it on. But skirts, dresses, trousers – they’re worth the trouble. Otherwise you’ll have to trudge back to the store later and return stuff.
- Buy necessities first. When the prices are really amazing, stock up on underwear, socks, cami’s and t’s – the things you and yours need all year long. The rule is to get what you need before you get what you want. Dull, maybe, but smart.
- Avoid the urge to buy out the store. Just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean you should bring it home. Basically, if you wouldn’t buy it at full price, don’t even consider buying it now just because it’s cheaper. Think about it. What’s hanging in your closet right this minute that you have never, ever worn? Something that was on sale, right?
And here are some more handy tips:
- Check those store flyers well in advance for the best deals.
- Make a shopping list. Respect that shopping list.
- Read carefully all product reviews. Some items will be marked down because they are crummy products in the first place.
- Go online and print out coupons for extra savings.
- Dress comfortably, in layers.
- Bring along water and (healthy) snacks.
- Shop in a group, but divide and conquer. Coordinate first, then split up, with each member of the group picking a line and buying for the rest. Settle up later, back home.
- If you are super tech savvy or resourceful, while waiting in lines, check the store Facebook pages and any tweets on your mobile or cell phone for new price or availability updates.