If you’re anything like this momma, then you LOVE Black Friday shopping! Almost as much as I love the Christmas season itself. Almost. Thanksgiving morning, my mom would send my dad out so early in the morning to get that Thanksgiving paper. You know the one that weighed 10lbs, that had every ad for every store within a 50 mile radius. One year, he waited too long to leave that morning, and had to go to several gas stations before finally tracking down that coveted newspaper.
My older sister and I would sit on the floor in the living room, searching through each ad, pen and paper in hand, making our Christmas lists for “Santa.” And even though we now live in a day and age where all the ads are leaked online early, I still send my husband (God love him) out after that Thanksgiving morning paper.
When I reached middle school (and figured out “Santa” was actually good ol’ Mom and Dad), I reached a right of passage: joining my mom and older sister for Black Friday shopping. One night and I was completely hooked.
My mom woke me up at what seemed like the middle of the night. It was still dark and quiet outside, the air was bitterly crisp, all the houses around were dark. We filled our thermoses of coffee, and with lists in hand, we headed out into the night, searching for the very best deals.
Black Friday has changed so much over the years. For starters, your biggest stores open at 6p on Thursday night, as opposed to early, early Friday morning. With the changes through the years, you have to adapt your strategy.
If this is your first year out, let me just say Congratulations! You’re (hopefully) going to have a blast! Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of your experience and get the very best deals you can:
Take a nap after Thanksgiving meal
If you’re serious about wanting to shop all night long, you need your energy. Black (Thursday) is absolute chaos. The last thing you want is to be a sleepy grump amongst a sea of mommas who will literally fight you for that LOL Doll. If you’re fully rested, you’re more likely to win in a smack down! I’m kidding.. sorta
Go into the store with a plan
Stores have come a long way over the years, a big thanks to the internet. Some of your biggest stores not only release their ads early, but they also release a map of the store! Make sure you take time to take a look at the maps so you know exactly where to head.
Before you ever step into a store, you need to know what your priority item is, and then go for it. If you’re a newbie, trust me when I tell you, those big ticket items Will. Run. Out. If you have your heart set on it, get in there and get after it.
Forget the Cart
You can always tell when a newbie has been in a store because you will find abandoned carts EVERYWHERE. Just don’t bother with them. If you’re planning on getting a ton of items, and you truly don’t think you can carry it all, you can try to find a hand basket (good luck), but trust me when I say, leave the cart in the cart coral. They are impossible to navigate through the rushing tides of people, and they will only slow you down from getting to your priority item.
Designate Jobs – get someone in line!
My favorite part of Black Friday shopping is going in with friends or family. Your best plan of attack for getting in and out of a store as quickly as possible (using the term “quickly” very loosely), get someone in line. Especially at the bigger stores like Target, Walmart, and Khols (especially Khols, their lines are the WORST). If you wait too long to hop in line, you could be looking at an hour long (or potentially longer) wait.
Just make sure one of three things happens, if you designate a line holder. 1) They don’t have anything they need at that store, 2) someone grabs their items for them, or 3) someone swaps places with them so they can grab their own items. Just don’t leave your liner holder up a creek with no Black Friday deals.. That’s not nice.
Forget the “cute” outfit
Nothing screams newbie like the teenager/college girl in her cute boots and hair all nice.. If you’re going out straight after a fancy Thanksgiving, take a change of clothes with you. You are headed into the danger zone. You need to be able to move quickly and smoothly. And trust me, by the end of the night your dogs will be barking, unless you are in comfortable shoes. One year, I made the mistake of wearing flats out, and I literally bought a pair of tennis shoes that were on sale so I could change.
Avoid Walmart Until At least the 3rd Wave of Deals
If you’ve never been to a Walmart on Black Friday, let me paint this picture for you. The items are placed on huge pallets, wrapped in commercial grade saran wrap. The pallets are then spread around the store and people pack in around them until the clock strikes 6p (or 8p or 10p, or midnight…). Then people rip into the pallets, literally like animals. It’s beyond chaos. People actually get hurt at Walmart.
So unless there is just too good of a deal for you to pass up, avoid Walmart’s first two waves. Especially if you are only going for movies or games. Trust me, there will still be awesome movie and game deals left over on Friday.
Follow these Black Friday tips and no one will be the wiser that you’re actually a newbie.