I hate crowds. And yet, I love me some Black Friday shopping.
Here are the secrets to successful shopping on Black Friday:
1. Make a plan, write it down, stick to it.
This is NOT the day to browse randomly at stores. Save that for sometime next week. Black Friday requires precision planning. Get your ads, figure out what you want, and write it down along with the store name. Piece together your plan ("StoreName, Item, Price") and then stick to that on shopping day.
2. Avoid pricey, big ticket items.
I know, people stand in line and try to get cheapo televisions or game systems. But often stores only care one or two, not to mention that stuff like this is where the fights break out.
A cheap tv isn't worth a black-eye. Steer clear.
3. Do not wait in line outside the store.
Each year I get great deals and I never, ever, ever wait outside in line before the store opens. I may BE THERE before the store opens. I sit in my cozy car with a cup of coffee, listen to the radio, and wait for the doors to open. When the line starts to dwindle down, I casually get out and walk right on in the doors. No waiting, no pushing, no freezing cold! Again: lines outside stores are often where people get trampled. Black Friday is fun, but not if you get stepped on by 200 people. Stay in the car.
4. Go alone or with ONE partner.
Sure it seems like a fun idea to gather 5 of your closest friends and go together, but truth be told, that slows you down on Black Friday shopping. If you take a partner: one of you can go ahead and stand in the check out line while the other takes both lists and goes to grab everything. It can be like your own episode of Supermarket Sweep. (Haven't you always wanted to be on that game show???)
5. Be festive.
Some years I wear a Santa hat while I shop.
People sometimes have those reindeer things on their cars.
Wear a ridiculous sweater or Rudolph antlers.
The workers and shoppers always seem to appreciate the festive spirit and get a smile.
6. Be nice.
Does anyone actually need told that? Black Friday can be a nightmare, but my personal experience is that people are NICE. We're all excited for the coming holiday season, some of us wear silly hats (see #5 above), we're all carrying around cups of coffee.
Last year I was wanting a gift for a friend's little girl and could not find it. Someone walked by me with one in their cart, so I said "ooh where did you find that??" and they kindly pointed me in the right direction. People are wishing each other good luck, chatting in line, admiring each other's finds, and just very pleasant.
Good luck, be safe, and have fun!