Ah... Black Friday. I have fond memories of standing in line, making a mad dash for the back of the store and even grabbing for the last digital camera. Black Friday can be hectic, fun, painful and EXPENSIVE all at once.
With all of the "early", "late", "extended" and "online" Black Friday deals, it isn't really necessary to brave the masses anymore to get a great deal on what your looking for. I had to work last year and did almost all of my shopping online and I was happy with it. This year we don't really need anything, so we are skipping the temptation. However, if you feel the need to venture out....here are some tips.
1. Dress in layers. You will probably spend some time waiting outside at some stores and time waiting in large warm crowds at others. If you have warm layers you will always be comfortable.
2. Be informed before you go. There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to Black Friday. If it sounds too good to be true, chances are that there are only a few of those items per store. If you can, call the store beforehand (at least a day before...not during Black Friday) to find out how many the store is stocking. The ads are designed to get you in the door, they don't promise endless supplies.
Another thing to keep in mind is that a lot of products on sale on Black Friday are made for Black Friday (electronics/ appliances in particular). You will not be able to find that exact sku on any other day. What does it mean? They typically cut a few corners and shave costs in producing the item to account for the lower cost. It is probably still worth the cheaper price, but just keep this in mind.
3. Be Prepared. Make a list and take your ads with you.
*Make a list of all the stores that you want to visit organized by
a) opening time
b) priority of store/ item
*list the items price and page number in the ad to make it easier to find. A lot of stores are disorganized on Black Friday and it's hard to find help.
*Every time you go into a store take your list and the ad for that store with you
Your list should look like this (this is all made up for an example since I am not doing it this year)
*Skylanders for Xbox 360 $30 page 3
*Grilling Set $5 page 4
*Sodastream Machine $80 page 2
*Sony Flatscreen $200 page 4
*Ipod Nano 16gb $40 page 2
4. Stay Focused. It is easy to be sucked into all the great deals on the endcaps and in the aisles as you walk through the store to get to the electronics you need. Don't be sucked in! Make a list and stick to it unless it is something you NEED and can't pass up. You probably don't have the extra time or money to browse.
5. It's not the end of the world if you miss a deal. Back when Xbox 360's were new and "hot" we attempted to get one on Black Friday at two different stores. We were bummed and walking around our 6th store for the morning when we saw a STACK of them for the same price as the one's we missed earlier! Chances are you can get something similar or the same deal at another store or online. Shop around if you miss out on a deal you were hoping for. Definitely don't get into any fights over the last iPad at the mall. It isn't worth it.
I hope these tips help you! Have fun, stay safe and warm. Feel free to come back here and brag about your scores. I would love to hear about them.