Black Friday is just around the corner. Secret Black Friday sites are starting to crop up again and are already getting hold of some unofficial ads. I thought this would be the perfect time to give some tips about Black Friday so that everyone can have an enjoyable and safe shopping experience during the mad rush that is The Day After Thanksgiving Shopping, better know as Black Friday.
Prepare for the trip ahead of time. Black Friday is a madhouse. You won’t be able to just browse through the different isles and find what you are looking for. The best thing to do is create a list ahead of time, scout out the store a few days earlier and know where things are most likely to be. Map out where you will go first and prepare to be bombarded by people while trying to get your things.
You may be asking, “How can I create a list when the deals are only revealed the weekend before?”. We live in the information age, and do you really think employees or others that know the deals are going to keep quiet? There are tons of sites that appear around the end of October that have gained quite a following. These sites get their hands on ads early one way or another and publish them online so you can better prepare for the day. They aren’t always 100% accurate and some retailers have even put out false ads to throw these sites off, but they will give you an idea of what will be available.
A few of the sites I usually check out are:
- BFAds.net (My personal favorite)
- Black Friday@GottaDeal.com
Get there early! Most of the big ticket items you will find during Black Friday will be in limited quantities at each retailer. These items are obviously the most prized and more people will be after them. Needless to say, if you get there after daybreak, you will probably never see these items. If these are on your list, take a nap the day before then scout out the location you plan on shopping at around midnight. See if anyone else has lined up already. If no one has, you can probably take a few hour cat nap and go to the store around 2 or 3am to get in line. Usually around an hour before the store opens, an employee will come out and pass out vouchers to the big ticket items to those at the beginning of the line. This voucher will allow you to purchase the big ticket item, as long as there are still some in stock. Some years, there will be more vouchers than actual products in stock so again, get there early.
When you enter the store, leave the cart behind! Don’t think that having a shopping cart will give you an advantage over the swarming mobs because realistically, the place will be so packed with people, you and many others will have to abandon the shopping cart due to blocked isles. It’s better to be quick and nimble in this situation, forget the cart and just grab, guard, or set up camp around the things you intend to purchase. Some of the bigger items you will need store employee assistance to get such as a big TV or heavy computer set up. Don’t leave these things alone thinking they are too big for someone to swipe out from under you, I have seen this happen. Bring a buddy with you and have them go for assistance while you watch your items.
If you would prefer to profit from the event rather than actually use the items you purchase, one of the best and safest ways to make a profit is to go early and get a leading spot in the line or get a voucher for one of the bigger ticket items with limited quantity in stock. By arriving early and getting your hands on either or both of these prime items you can easily sell one or both to someone willing to pay for the time they weren’t able to spend waiting in line. I have heard of people paying a high price of a few hundred for a voucher for an item they would be saving a few thousand on and I have heard of someone auctioning off their place in line for close to $100 dollars so the buyer would have a better chance at some fantastic merchandise
Don’t wait till Black Friday to look at the deals. I’m not talking about preparing for Black Friday as some retailers will have special pre-Black Friday deals. I’m not sure what the reason is for this, but some of the deals are even better than some offered on Black Friday. In fact, Saturday, November 8th there is a pre-Black Friday sale at Walmart featuring some pretty decent merchandise. The best of this sale is probably the Compaq laptop for under $300. It’s not the best laptop, but it is definitely worth more than the price.
Buy online! Some online and hybrid retailers have the same deals online. You can get the same price and item without ever leaving your home. Some require the item be shipped to the retail store and picked up, but it’s worth it to avoid the crowd.
Black Friday has been around for years but last year, it’s history gained a black mark. An employee at a Walmart on the East Coast was actually trampled to death by people trying to get in the doors and snag the big deals. This is a pretty sad occurrence and you need to be careful when entering, guarding or even waiting in line during Black Friday sales. There are some crazy people out there and if you think road rage is bad, it is nothing compared to angry Black Friday shoppers who got up at the crack of dawn and are looking to score big.
Don’t bring small children on Black Friday. If you want to come and have kids, try and find a baby sitter. Even younger teens should be careful when coming to Black Friday.
Lastly, this is a Personal Finance website, I hope anyone reading will remember that buying things just because they are on sale is not what I would hope you would do. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it and please don’t put any of this stuff on credit cards or anything silly like that
Image by NoDents br>
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