By: Jessica DiRamio
It’s here, whether you are ready or not. No, not the winter. Although thanks to our Halloween Nor’Easter, we can’t ignore that either. No, not Thanksgiving either. Although, yes, that’s coming, too. And no, I don’t mean Christmas. What I’m talking about is…
For those of you in the know, I could possibly finish this blog post with those words. It’s an unspoken alliance those of us Black Friday’ers have. For those of you not in the know..well, sit back and enjoy the lesson: in bargain hunting, that is.
Years ago, Black Friday was the day after Thanksgiving: a wonderful day with businesses offering steep discounts in store only. Fast forward to the current Black Friday and you will find stores open on Thanksgiving Day or right at midnight, all the way through the weekend and into Monday, aka Cyber Monday.
Deals, discounts and freebies are in abundance and I typically do the majority of my shopping during this time period. I can safely say it’s a little extreme, but the savings is worth it in my book. Over the years, I’ve done some crazy things to snag a deal on Black Friday, including standing in line, 7 months pregnant, at the Wrentham Outlets hours in advance of their midnight opening. In 2009, when Zhu Zhu Pets were all the rage, I went to the Brockton Toys R Us at 8pm, in the rain, and waited for their midnight opening. Guess what? I got the Zhu Zhus! I was 1 of only 25 people to get those adorable rodents that night. Anything for a bargain, right? Well, that plus I love seeing my girls get so excited at their presents under the tree each year. Santa is the best to them and I intend to make sure they feel that way for years to come.
Interested in the secrets to a successful Black Friday? Check out my top 10 tricks and tips:
- Get the Ads in Advance and Plan Ahead. Thanksgiving night, Black Friday at 4 am and even Cyber Monday are definitely not days for browsing the stores. One must go into a store with a plan of action.
- Shop the Store Before the Event to Understand the Floor Layout. Locate where the items are you want to buy and remember where they are. Take pictures if you must. (I do!)
- Shop with a Friend. It is the key to getting in and out fast: one friend gets in line immediately (trust me, there will be 100+ people in that line within 20 minutes of the store opening), while you shop for you and for her. Finish up and join her in line. Voila: a 1-hour wait to checkout instead of a 2-hour wait. You can thank me later for this piece of advice.
- Coffee. Lots and Lots of Coffee! Hit the stores at the wee hours of the morning for the popular stuff.
- Pace Yourself. Early morning doorbusters are great, but if you aren’t interested in those, there is no reason to head to your local Walmart with 2,000 other people at 2 am. Be strategic and remember, Cyber Monday will have great deals, too.
- Educate Yourself on the Store Return Policy. Do you really need that $250 laptop from Best Buy? What if you end up having to return it, did you know Best Buy has a pricey electronics stocking fee? You may end up losing money in the deal.
- Bring Reusable Shopping Totes or Rolling Luggage. You will not be lucky enough to get a carriage.
- Dress in Layers. People line up outside before the stores open. You will be one of them and you will be freezing. Once inside, those outer layers will make your skin boil.
- Don’t You Dare Pay with a Check. Who has time for a check? Certainly not the 300 people in line behind you. Cash is best on Black Friday!
- “Big Boys.” The “big boys,”as I like to call them, have very enticing offers during this wonderful weekend long event. Don’t forget to also support your local businesses. You may be surprised at what you find.