Since I have been alive, Black Friday has taken place during the third week of November. This day is the unofficial kick off of the holiday shopping season and people go nuts. According to a Deloitte study, 89 percent plan to shop in-store and 91 percent to shop online during Thanksgiving weekend. I remember waiting for the newspaper to read the official Black Friday advertisements before technology made our lives easier.
Instead of drinking on the biggest bar night of the year, I walked around Target and Walmart to see how they are preparing for Thursday/Friday shoppers.
While I was walking around, I overheard some employees talk about their craziest Black Friday experiences. Naturally, I joined in on the conversation to hear what they had to say. As one employee was sharing their story, I noticed some of the newer employees became more anxious/confused about what they should expect on Black Friday.
Taking what I have heard from a few people who have worked multiple Black Fridays and what I have researched, I came up with this article to help you prepare for the busiest day of the year.
- Research and plan out which stores have the best discounts on toys, technology or other products you want. You can use Google Shopping or other apps like Shop Savy to find the cheapest selling price on the product you want.
- Nerd Wallet has provided us with a list of applications to help us find the best local/online deals.
- Stay in and enjoy your Thanksgiving. Don’t feel obligated to go shopping during Thanksgiving dinner or early morning Friday to get the best discount. Most deals have been available online since the beginning of November. Online Black Friday shopping is pretty AWESOME in my opinion. You don’t have to worry about parking or looking down every aisle to find what you want.
- Be patient and respectful. We don’t want to make our life or anyone else’s life harder than it needs to be. Let’s be honest, shopping can become stressful and exciting all at the same time.
- Keep your elbow strong. Expect the unexpected and keep your muscles flexed in case someone tries to swipe your cart (or purse).
- Believe employees when they say they are out of stock on a particular item! Most stores have a set limit of inventory. Once they are out, they are out.
- Physically touch someone to get something you want. We don’t know how they are going to react and we don’t want to intrude on anyone else’s personal space.
- Cut in line – this is a big no! We are all civilized adults here. Patiently wait for your turn. If you cut, you might get sent back to the end of the line, start a ruckus or get kicked out.
- Don’t die for the deal – don’t go out of your way to buy that specific product. Most stores increase their prices before Black Friday to make the discount look larger than it is.
- Bring your dogs or children. They might get tired, bored or trampled.
- According to Black Friday Death Count, there has been 10 deaths and 111 injuries on Black Friday since 2006.
- Be mean, rude or disrespectful. Treat others how you would like to be treated!
What to expect:
- Long lines. It is the busiest day of the year! If you find yourself waiting in a long line, see if the company has an app that allows you to purchase the item online or on the app for faster checkout.
- Long lines can definitely test our patience. If you find yourself becoming annoyed or stressed, understand it is not the employee’s fault! They are working as quickly as they can to make your shopping experience pleasant.
- Do your research (math is included).
- Create a set spending amount.
- Keep all your credit cards at home. Take only one.
- Go to the ATM and withdraw cash to take with you so you don’t overspend.
- If you are worried about buying the perfect gift, ask your friend/person or whoever you are buying the gift for if they would rather have an experience you both can enjoy instead.
- Ask yourself a few questions before you buy and spend money you don’t have. Ask yourself: Do I really need this? or this something that I want?
- How often will I use this?
- When will I use it?
- Is this really a deal? Can I get this product at this price at any other time?
- How will this product/item improve my life, relationships or career?
Having a job within the retail, sales or food industry during the holiday season is harder than you think. People who work in this industry are standing on their feet, running around during their entire shift, are hungry, tired, missing their families, confused, overworked and often misunderstood. The biggest way you can help speed up the shopping process is to be patient and kind.
The most important tip to remember this Black Friday is to be GRATEFUL and APPRECIATIVE for everything you do have. Life really could be worse. I know this saying is over said but it’s true. The world owes us nothing and we are lucky to have the people who are in our current lives.
It doesn’t matter if you have a small or large family. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor. There is an endless list of things that make our lives stressful but there is no competition for having the hardest struggle. We each can create a list of items we can be grateful for, as long as the list of obstacles we face.
Life is truly amazing. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!