Black Friday Shopping the Right Way

Well, here we go again! Another crazy Black Friday is on its way! I’m sure you’re seeing all of the posts on Facebook criticizing the Black Friday shopping tradition, debates over whether stores should be open on Thanksgiving or not, and general conversations like “are you doing Black Friday or not?”

How do you feel about Black Friday? Love it? Hate it? Don’t care either way?

I will admit to being solidly on the fence when it comes to Black Friday. I love a good deal as much as, maybe more than, anyone else. Still, the chaos in recent years has ruined what could have otherwise been a fun after-Thanksgiving tradition.

It’s pretty clear why people do not like Black Friday:

  • Crowds to a dangerous level
  • Black Friday greed is swallowing up our holiday which is all about being thankful
  • Long lines
  • No sleep
  • Thousands of people vying for a handful of items; a situation which can turn folks crazy
It’s also obvious that many people enjoy Black Friday for these reasons:
  • The thrill of the hunt
  • Great bargains
  • A yearly tradition
Honestly, Black Friday shopping used to be fun! On the Friday morning after Thanksgiving, we would wake up at 3:30 AM and rush out the door to get to the first store when it opened 4:00 AM. Other stores opened at 5:00 AM, so we worked with a pre-arranged strategy. It was generally quiet since the shoppers were all pretty sleepy. The lines were not excessively long. People were friendly. We got some good deals and then went to a diner for breakfast before heading home for a nap. Totally fun!
 
Then it got crazy. too many people caught on to the Black Friday thing and it got ugly. Literal stampedes, people getting hurt and even killed, stores opening earlier and earlier until we got what we’re stuck with now: the Black Friday Monster. It’s nasty, folks. Sad because it used to be so fun.
 
Since having a child I’ve found sleep to be SO much more valuable than anything that Target sells. If they could make a safe potion to make a baby sleep through the night then I’d be knocking over little old ladies to get in the doors too. But they don’t, so all of the shoppers are safe from me.
 
Last year I figured it out. I stumbled upon the solution to the Black Friday chaos: SHOP… online. On Thanksgiving evening after the big meal and family time, I pulled out my laptop and the Black Friday ads and went shopping. It was hours before anyone waiting in line would be able to get the same deals, and I was ordering everything I wanted PLUS getting free shipping.
 
So 2013 was the best Black Friday ever:
 
9:00 AM – roll out of bed
10:30 AM – Big breakfast at Cracker Barrel
11:30 AM – Pictures with Santa at Bass Pro (free!) and lazy shopping
 
Yep, “lazy shopping” because all of my Black Friday deals were being mailed to me.
Black Friday Shopping the Right Way

As you gear up for Black Friday, here are some tips for doing it the right/smart way:

  1. Set a budget. Don’t be dumb; do this first.
  2. Make a list of items you need to buy.
  3. Go through the ads and match the sales to the list of things you want to buy.
  4. Do some research to see if those items can be purchased online with free shipping.
  5. If there are items you want that will not (for some dumb reason) be available to order online, then plan out your Black Friday shopping time wisely.
  6. For the love of Pete, stop for a minute and think twice… no, five times! before you go shopping on Thanksgiving Day. It’s a holiday. Spend the day with your family for goodness sake!
  7. When you go shopping, dress warmly if you’re in a cold climate because you might be waiting outside.
  8. Bring coffee and snacks.
  9. DO NOT bring small children! This from the lady who brings her kid everywhere… Black Friday shopping is not appropriate for little ones! Seriously, it can get crazy and small children can get hurt. If you can’t afford a sitter then you can’t afford to go Black Friday shopping.
  10. Be NICE! Be patient. Be smart. 

Have fun all you crazy shoppers! I’ll wish you a happy Black Friday from my cozy bed in my warm hotel room.

Black Friday Shopping the Right Way

 

6 Comments on Black Friday Shopping the Right Way

  1. Stephanie Schramm
    November 25, 2014 at 12:25 pm (3 years ago)

    We figured this out a couple years ago. We shop on Black Friday for ourselves. We needed a printer and were doing research and saw that on hanksgiving night at 8pm, office max had the same price online as it did in the store ad for the next morning, with free shipping. By Monday evening, we had our Black Friday printer! I have never gone out on Black Friday again….

    Reply
  2. Angie
    November 26, 2014 at 7:10 pm (3 years ago)

    It's so nice to meet you and your adorable self!

    Not a Black Friday Shopper myself, would MUCH rather sleep in and wear my comfy (read stretchy) pants all day.
    But I LOVE a good bargain and seriously considering doing the on line thing this Thursday night after everyone goes to bed.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Reply
  3. Jennifer DeFrates
    November 26, 2014 at 9:17 pm (3 years ago)

    Oh, mylanta. Good luck! It sounds like you have a plan.

    Reply
  4. trehernemommy
    November 27, 2014 at 5:30 am (3 years ago)

    I'm with you. I used to love Black Friday and have some great memories from past years but am now kind of on the fence. I feel like because so many stores open on Thursday it kind of takes the sparkle out of Friday. And honestly since finding fun websites like thinkgeek.com I have started buying more unique gifts for people than the typical stuff you would find in a department store. The only reason I might get out this year is to spend time with visiting family or to buy a DSLR camera.

    Reply
  5. robbie @ mom hats and more
    November 29, 2014 at 8:42 pm (3 years ago)

    My family has a decades-long tradition of shopping on Black Friday, and I agree, it's not as "special" as it used to be other than it's something we do together.

    Reply
  6. Helene
    November 28, 2015 at 3:53 am (2 years ago)

    Very good information. Lucky me I ran across your site by chance (stumbleupon).

    I have saved it for later!

    Reply

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