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The Black Friday Play by Play

What you need to know to survive the year’s busiest shopping day

by Chavonne Hodges.

Thanksgiving is just about here, and along with Turkey Day, there’s another November day that everybody looks forward to–Black Friday.

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, the unofficial start of the Christmas season and day of deals. Most importantly, it’s the busiest, most-challenging shopping day of the year, every year. In order to survive large, trampling crowds, product shortages and potential confrontations with fellow shoppers–and get the most out of Black Friday–follow these tips:

The Early Bird Gets the HD-TV

The National Retail Federation reports that “up to 152 million people plan to shop Black Friday weekend; [that’s] higher than the 138 million people who planned to do so last year.” The expected increase in consumers translates into fewer goods to go around, and more people drifting around store aisles.

Tip: Arrive early. Last year, stores like Macy’s opened at midnight. Losing a few hours a sleep could save you tons of money and hassle.

 

Eyes on the Prize

Retailers will offer deals on plenty of items. Last year, Walmart sold 32” LCD HD-TVs at $168, Barbie dolls at $5 and coffeemakers at $10. The San Francisco Times reports that “jewelry and electronic items are both popular choices, and both these items saw an increase in sales in 2010.” The bottom line is that goods will be steeply discounted, especially jewelry and technology.

Tip: Don’t lose focus. Identify what you want and where you can find it at the best price beforehand to avoid wasting time. Then go get it.

 

United We Stand Divided We Fall

Last year, several incidents of people being trampled were posted all over the web, in video and print, and a few years ago, a Walmart employee died after opening the store to a uncontrollable mob of consumers. Having strong-bodied co-shoppers to help you seize the goods as quickly and efficiently as possible will enhance your shopping experience. The more the merrier.

Tip: Leave the kiddies and grandparents at home. Use your family’s student athletes and fast moving older adults to help you on the ground.

 

Keep the Bat Mobile Clean

Black Friday is about shopping in excess and buying all the luxury things you normally can’t afford at regular price. So stock up, but make sure you have room to cart everything home.

Tip: Clean out your car trunk before you arrive at the store to ensure that you have enough storage space. Also pack twine and scissors in case the trunk won’t close.

 

There’s an Alternative for Everything

While the deals reel people in, the millions of equally anxious money spenders colliding and exchanging heated opinions and germs turn some people off. “Numerous retailers offer discounts on purchases made through their websites, offering perks like free shipping and site-wide sales,” says the Huffington post, of the Monday following Black Friday. So if you can’t take the heat, stay home.

Tip: If you would like to be in on the action, without actually getting on the field, grab a computer and take advantage of Cyber Monday.

Happy shopping!