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Black Friday: Tips to Survive the Holiday Shopping Madness

Written by Cait Russell  |  23. November 2011

As we head into the holiday season, this Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, marks the beginning of the chaotic Holiday Shopping Season. For some, this day is a fun family tradition of bonding that marks the start of the holiday spirits, while saving a few bucks on major holiday purchases, however – for others this early shopping day can bring about stress and fatigue, especially when combined with the large crowds that are sure to come out earlier than ever this year. It’s important to keep a few things in mind when planning your Black Friday Shopping excursion, or any Holiday Shopping this season: prepare yourself to be comfortable and safe on the trip, as well as be conscious of those around you.

Here are some tips to help you prepare for a fun and successful Holiday Shopping Trip this Black Friday:

Plan Ahead

  • Make sure that you know what stores have the items you want, and what price they are selling at – you can map a route in order to get to all of the shops you need to go to.
  • See if the stores with the best sales on hot-ticket items this season will offer rain checks, should your desired purchase be sold out. If not, have a backup choice, or a 2nd store that carries your desired item.
  • Clip & sort any and all coupons before leaving the house – in order to keep wait times to a minimum, and make check out a breeze
  • Check pricing online to see if you can get the same or better deal from the comfort of your own home – without the hassles of waiting on long lines and dealing with crowds.

Know the Store’s Policies & Procedures

  • Make sure you have the correct opening times for the stores you plan to shop at – this way, you can optimize your shopping list by store, and make sure to pick up your most important purchases first.
  • If there is a limited quantity of a big ticket sale item, make sure you know whether you can reserve your desired purchase while in line – many stores now offer a ticketed system for big purchases, to prevent chaos and confusion when entering the store.
  • Find out if the store will have the same sales online – you might be able to purchase your desired items online without having to wait out in the cold on Friday morning.

Remember: Safety First

  • Large retailers are notorious for creating major buzz around their holiday sales – and this can sometime have the unfortunate side effect of chaotic, irrational behavior – if the crowds are getting too intense or rowdy, step back – no sale is worth getting injured over.
  • If the crowds are getting to rowdy in or outside the store, or if you see someone else in trouble, contact store security or local authorities immediately if you feel that you, or anyone else is at risk of bodily harm.
  • If an employee or security guard instructs you to clear a path, step back from the door, or asks you to move, make sure you listen to their directions - they are trying to make sure that everyone is safe, and sound during this chaotic day of shopping.
  • Make sure to dress warmly – it can get to below freezing levels in the hours before dawn, and if you plan on waiting outside for a store to open, make sure that you have a hat, gloves, warm socks, and scarf to avoid hypothermia.

Last but not least – in the holiday spirit, remember to always respect the employees of the shops you plan on visiting this holiday season. It can be frustrating when many shoppers are after the same gifts, and stores can become overcrowded in a very short amount of time. But it is important to keep in mind that retail employees are people just like us, and are doing their best to help shoppers have the best experience possible.

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