How to Survive (and Hopefully Enjoy) Black Friday

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, Black Friday is rearing its rather ugly head into the picture, and with all that Christmas shopping (and maybe even some personal shopping) to be done, why not do it on Black Friday?

The crowds, you say? The traffic? The chaos? The madness?

Well, no fear, because Danica is here! (I would apologize for the lame rhyme, but I could not resist.)

Despite the crowds, the traffic, and the occasional incident that gets on the 10 o’clock news, Black Friday is worth every single deal you can get. With retailers especially desperate for sales, they’re handing out as many bargains as they can. Sure, there will be crowds, traffic, and lines that wrap around the store, but there are ways to avoid them or at least make them easier to deal with. Black Friday will be a good shopping day as long as you go in prepared and ready to shop.


Preparation will help you get in and out of stores more quickly, which is what you want.

Well, it would be a good start to know where exactly you will be shopping. If you intend on going to a mall, it’s good to make a list of stores you intend to go to so that you can prioritize. It’s also good to print out a store map if you’re not so familiar with the mall just so you don’t waste time trying to find a store or one of those “You are here” maps in the mall. It’s like trying to find Narnia looking at those things.

If you intend to go to a retailer like Best Buy or Target, make sure you know what you plan to buy. Places like Best Buy and Toys ‘R’ Us are absolute madhouses. I’m not going to pretend these retailers do not scare me, because they do. They are my Black Friday forbidden zones. If you’re a brave soldier, go for it. Just make sure you know what you want first. It’s not necessary to go at midnight (unless you really want to), but go as early as you can to beat the crowds. There are some malls that actually have retailers like Best Buy attached to them and they tend to be less busy so if you’re lucky to go to a mall like that, go for it!

Unless you like dealing with the madness, save yourself by making a list of what you want to buy and looking up prices on Amazon to compare to the prices you find in store. If a retailer gives you a price much lower than offered on Amazon, go for it. Otherwise, chuck it.

Search the depths of the Internet for coupons and deals. Know what stores/items you want, do some browsing on Google or store websites to find coupons, and print them out. It’s good to cut them out so you can put them in your wallet and take them out whenever you need them. Unfortunately, some stores only give deals for a short period of the day, so look those times up while you’re web browsing. Then, prioritize where you’re going first and where you’re going last.

Another thing you should definitely do is to plan this shopping trip with friends to go with. I’ll explain soon!

2. Traveling

I know you’re going to hate what I have to say next, but I have to say it. You have to wake up early. I’m talking 5:00 a.m. – 6:00 a.m.-kind of early. Yes, it is early and the tryptophan probably hasn’t worn off completely yet, but it is worth it. The earlier you get out there, the earlier you get to leave. Make sure you have that GPS ready or those Hopstop/Mapquest routes printed out because today is not the day to get lost.

Oh, and if you intend to get somewhere through the Belt Parkway, chuck that plan out the window because on Black Friday, the Belt Parkway will become the Belt Parking Lot.

3. Shopping

So you’ve got your coupons, your lists, and your mall map…now get shopping, soldier!

Oh, no. There they are. The dreadful crowds. The nut jobs fighting over a boot that’s just a size-and-a-half too small for them. The woman who has a beady eye on that sweater you’re holding. The line that practically wraps around the whole store. The line that’s waiting to get into the store.

It’s your worst nightmare, but it won’t be. You know why? Because you brought a friend!

There are many tricks to dealing with crowds and long lines by having a shopping buddy. If you intend to buy some of the same exact items, one of you could buy two of that sweater you both want in one store while the other buys two pairs of those jeans you need in another store. Also, to avoid lines, one of you could get immediately in line when you enter a store, while the other shops. Then you can both trade off so you avoid waiting in line for hours.

Also, use those coupons! Do not be afraid to be a shameless coupon user. Do not be afraid to mention a deal that is mentioned on a store’s website or sign. If something rings up on the register priced at an amount you were not expecting, question it. Today is the day to fight for a deal!

Good luck and happy shopping!

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