The hour is upon us. Thanksgiving week is here. How insane is it that 2016 is almost over? It is still boggling my mind. We all have a million things on our to-do list for this upcoming week, and a lot of us probably have some shopping to get done as well. Luckily, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has some a great tips of how to survive (and thrive) during your Black Friday shopping trip!
Quick & Simple Tips to Surviving Black Friday Shopping
Black Friday…so ominous right?! I will throw a little history lesson at you; give you something to talk about around the Thanksgiving table. “Black Friday” was coined in the early 1960s to mark the kickoff to the holiday shopping season. Referring to the time when retailers would go from the red to the black when entering in accounting numbers (red for a loss, black for a profit). For a little extra credit; “Black Friday” also refers to a financial crisis in 1869. Regardless of the definition it is practically a holiday in and of itself, making for long lines, excitement, some disappointment, and has been fulfilling wish lists for a long time. But how do you survive this one day? I will give you some tips that are sure to make your day (or night) of shopping easy and successful!
Let’s get the elephant out of the room first. If you really want a successful shopping experience stay home; set the alarm for 2AM and hop on the internet. It may take some time for the site to refresh and it will most certainly be slow, but you will have a fairly good chance of being successful and you won’t have to venture out in the cold. But where is the sport in that?! My husband goes out in the below freezing weather to walk through a field looking for that one perfect deer, then drags it back to the truck where unimaginable carnage takes place to put deer meat in our freezer. This is the same thing people! I am going out in the freezing cold to stand in line for four hours to “hunt” that one toy that is on my daughters’ list only to drag it home wrap it and place it under a hacked up pine tree!
We will start around November 1st. Why you may ask? Because that is truly when Black Friday ads begin to make it on the internet and we can see them. Take a look at TheBlackFriday.com, there are plenty of others but this one always seems to get all of the ones that I want. These aren’t leaked either, some sites may say they are but retailers want you to look at their ads, they want you getting excited as early as possible. Another option is waiting until Wednesday or Thanksgiving Day to go and get a paper with ads. If you do this, make sure to go early—like before putting the turkey in the oven! They will sell out quick. And now comes the fun part!
Make a Wish List
Once you have claimed the entire dining room table or living room floor, whichever you prefer, make sure that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is on for the kids and get focused! Get a pen and paper, if you have wish lists or lists of those that you need to buy gifts for, get those out too. I like to remove all the ads that I know I will shop at and then go from there to stores that maybe I won’t go to but they may have that off the wall gift for husband or father-in-law. Now, check times on all your favorites and put them in order from earliest to latest. A couple years ago some stores started to open on Thanksgiving Day—I really hated that! Oh no, not because they were opening on turkey day, if someone wants to skip dinner to go stand in line all the power to them, it just messed up my timing! Now we start to scan, looking at each page and thinking about the people on your gift list, write down (DO NOT CIRCLE or DOGEAR) on your paper the name, gift, price, store, and open time. You will probably find this same item at several stores so make sure to leave room for that, it will come in later. If you really want to get type A you can take this list at the end of your scanning and make it into an Excel file! (Insert: Type A control freak aka Sarah)
Map It Out
Now that we have gone through each ad and we have written down every gift, we are officially ready for Black Friday (or Thursday) ad reading. Now you have to have your plan of attack. Go through your list and look at each store you have to go to. Let’s say its Target, Wal-Mart, Old Navy and Toys R Us, for example, then you know from your list (or excel sheet) that Target opens at 6PM on Thursday, Wal-Mart at 6PM on Thursday, Toys R Us at 5PM on Thursday and Old Navy at midnight. You see what I am saying about moving everything to Black Thursday? Messes with your method! You plan to head to Toys R Us first since it opens at 5 then weigh what you want to buy at Target and Wal-Mart and whichever one has the most important “get” on the list then go there first, then Old Navy at midnight. If you haven’t ever done Black Friday shopping then you know from news reports that this isn’t something you just walk into, there are lines—lines city blocks long in some cases just to get in. Take a look at your list and really ask yourself what the most important thing on the list is—focus there. Because unless Target and Wal-Mart are right next to each other (which I am going to guarantee you they aren’t) then you will have to pick your battles, theoretically speaking of course.
Day Of Morning
The day has come! Or it is several hours later because you just looked at ads this morning! Imagine you are going on a four hour hike, then pack and dress for that. I would recommend leaving the kids at home, for obvious reasons if you are buying gifts for them but for the pure agony they will feel about 10 minutes in. Take a big purse, no we aren’t stealing anything or planning on hitting anyone on the head! This is for putting in gloves, hats, anything that won’t fit in pockets. Don’t wear a coat, a vest would be better, less bulk and little easier to manage once you are inside. Take some coffee and granola bars for energy and caffeine and store in the big purse. And finally, wear tennis shoes for goodness sake, I have to say this because I have seen women in heels and two hours into waiting in line they are complaining about their feet hurting! If you can it is always a good idea to bring someone along with you. Its makes the time move quicker but also comes in handy, more on that in a minute! Don’t worry you will know when the doors have opened, usually screams of joy erupt and the line starts to move quickly. I have never been in a line with pushing but I have heard it happens (insert sarcasm!) This is the point where I don’t care how cold it is, take off the hat, gloves and put up the coffee!
Day Of Action
When you get in, have your plan of attack on where to go. Sometimes those pesky stores mix it up and put the TVs in the clothes section so keep a keen eye! SKIP THE CARTS! Everyone always goes for them and it takes up time. Unless you are getting a big item, you can come back or you may have to awkwardly carry smaller items through the store. Back to that person who came with you, have them stand in a different line now, head to the registers and when the line starts to get long have them save a place. I know this is the worst and I am not a fan when people do it but let’s face it—brilliant idea! Please, don’t push and shove for your item, no one likes that, but you should be aggressive and forceful but polite—it is the holidays anyway! And no pressure, but the “Hallmark moment” you imagine when your daughter opens up that one desperately wanted toy of the season depends on your ability to be a little aggressive.
So you have scored your item! Head to the registers and check out, looking at other things as you go along, or sending said “line holder person” back for more things! If you did not score the item—do not fret! Pull the store website up on your phone find the item and place in your shopping cart, and then head to an open spot and purchase. You may be asking—why didn’t we just do that in the first place from our nice warm house? Sport my friend; it’s called the sport of it! Happy hunting!
From iFamily to Yours,