Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving in the United States) provides consumers with bargains beyond their wildest imaginations. Retailers offer their goods and services at decreased prices as a way of persuading men and women to start their holiday shopping earlier. Seasoned pros know just how difficult it is to find parking on this day so they line up hours in advance to secure a place in line before a store or mall opens. A few brave souls camp outdoors in hopes of getting an electronic gadget or household item at a ridiculously low price.
Last year’s stampede at a Wal-Mart in Long Island, New York left one of its workers dead and caused a customer to have a miscarriage in the store as shoppers raced their way through the front door. Rather than be subjected to maddening crowds, nasty salesclerks, and empty shelves, many individuals opt to do all of their shopping online. If you happen to be one of the many men and women who actually enjoy visiting storefronts, there are a few simple things that you can do to help you find the things that you want and to get through the day relatively easily.
View Doorbuster Specials Online Before Heading Out
A simple web search can save you exorbitant amounts of time. Put in “Black Friday Specials” or “Doorbuster Specials” and the name of your favorite retailer and watch hundreds of sites pop up. Carefully review the store’s policy concerning rainchecks and take notes on their hours of operation. Many companies have set aside a specific timeframe for selling their most sought after items. Do not show up at midnight and expect to purchase something that is advertised at 6 A.M.
Bring Along a Family Member or a Friend
If you need two of one item and are not allowed to purchase it yourself due to a store’s limitation, bring your mother, father, sister, brother, or friend along with you and give them the money to buy the item. Expect to pay cash for the second item and do not make a show out of what you are doing. Many retailers frown upon these types of transactions and may even turn you away if they know you are trying to get multiple items at a low price.
Carry Drinks and Snacks With You
Food lines are often as long as those stores advertising holiday specials. Don’t be afraid to pack your bag with a sandwich, some pretzels or other snack items, and a bottle of water. Staving off hunger will help you get your shopping done faster.
Take Advantage of Rainchecks
If a store offers rainchecks, make sure to take advantage of them. When the product is back in stock, you receive the same special pricing that you would have received on Black Friday. Few stores offer this option with their doorbusters but it never hurts to ask a member of management if there is a “while supplies last” restriction on an item.
Be Prepared to Wait
You pay the price for bargains by standing in line. Be prepared. Avoid bringing small children with you if you can help it. Get your coupons in order before getting to the counter. Be conscientious of the people standing behind you and try to make your transaction go as quickly as possible.
For those die-hard shoppers looking to get the most out of their dollars, Black Friday offers a lot of potentially great products at reduced prices. Considering what we know about the “busiest shopping day of the year,” you can apply the tips listed above and get the kind of savings that you have come to expect without all the hassles.
Charissa Arsaoui is a freelance writer for ChickSpeak, Buzzine, DisFUNKshion Magazine, Student Stuff, and a guest contributor for Wisebread. She loves thrift related topics and can spot a bargain a mile away.
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Filed Under: Personal Finance
About the Author: Charissa Arsaoui is a freelance writer with a love for thrift. You can read about her adventures by visiting her blog, Confessions of a Closet Coupon Clipper.