If you’ve never experienced Black Friday shopping or you’ve went out but were overwhelmed by the number of sales and the number of people at those sales, I would suggest arming yourself with a battle plan, or in the least a set of guidelines and tips you can follow when heading out this Friday.
Here our 10 tips for Black Friday 2009 Shopping:
1. Fill up on gas the night before. This is especially important if you live in a heavily populated area where thousands of drivers will be on the road sometimes by 2 or 3am in the morning. You can save yourself a good 10-15 minutes if you don’t have to stop on the way to your destination. You may also beat some other sale shoppers to the same items you want.
2. Prioritize your list based on general public interest. I suggest determining if a certain item is a “hot ticket” item. For example, last year it would make sense to shop for that Nintendo Wii sale before the blender Aunt Thelma has been eyeing. If you’re kids have certain items they want, just ask which the hardest to get are and if a sale exists arrive early at that location first.
3. Don’t buy every sale you see just because it looks “great.” My wife and I bought a $3 Crockpot last year, it was just a mini pot and we used it once, at $3 the quality was horrible and it burnt on first use, not to mention we didn’t need it and we never use it.
4. Watch Out For Crazy Soccer Moms and Steroid Induced Fathers – Basically if they look like they’ll kill you for the next big Tickle Me Elmo, they probably will. I once had an 80 year old lady call me a “Stupid Fucker” and hit me with her cane because I grabbed the last item on the shelf, a good 10 seconds before she was even in the aisle! Just be careful, people in some areas will push, shove, kick, bite and do whatever else is necessary to get that hot ticket item.
5. Find out if Doorbuster sales are offering what you want. Doorbusters tend to start around 3am and give special deals to customers during a specific time. For example it may only be 3am-6am. After those times you’ll pay more for those items. These tend to “reward” customers for their early patronage and they tend to be the best deals of the day.
6. Shop Online – Many stores such as Bestbuy and Buy.com will offer sales online that are just as good, if not better than retail stores. You can even spot a bunch of “free shipping” offers during Black Friday online sales. You can also check the following Monday for “Cyber Monday” sales which have started to grow in number over the last several years.
7. Wear comfortable shoes and eat breakfast – I shopped for hours upon hours last year during Black Friday and I have to admit I was exhausted and hungry by 10am, yet I shopped for many hours later. I would suggest a nice comfortable pair of walking shoes and a big enough breakfast to keep you going throughout the day.
8. Compare Prices – Many companies this year are offering the same GPS, TV and Computer items at varying prices. You can check pricing by looking through each Black Friday 2009 Ad and then choosing your plan of action from that point.
9. Map Your Route – If you have to go to 7 stores I would suggest mapping the shortest route from point A to point B to point C and so on and so forth. The more stores you cover, the better chance you have of finding all the items you want. You may not get everything, but if you start with your one big ticket item and work from there you have a better chance at fulfilling your shopping list.
10. Clip Coupons When Necessary – Some stores will require customers bring coupons with them. While this is increasingly rare, there are still “limit one per customer” coupons for some stores. I ran into this issue last year and was not able to pick up the item I wanted. If there is a coupon clip it, they may not ask for it, but it’s worth the extra precaution.
Those are my top tips for Black Friday 2009 shopping. Just remember to keep your eyes peeled for deals, plan accordingly and watch out for crazy people.
Happy Hunting and Happy Thanksgiving.