Tis the Season for Shopping

Black Friday is upon us, and the insanity surrounding it gets crazier and crazier every year. I’ve been seeing a lot of back and forth on Facebook about the morality of shopping on Black Friday, whether retail workers have a right to complain about it, and those who have it worse than you do. I get that it’s a busy shopping day because Thanksgiving is over, there’s still a long weekend, and people are realizing that shopping days til Christmas are numbered. BUT, I also think that stores should stick to their regular shopping hours during this season, stay closed on Thanksgiving, and not run sales that tempt people to risk their lives just to save a few dollars.

With that said, I thought I’d share my tips for shopping on Black Friday. There’s something about Black Friday at the mall that really does help me get into the holiday spirit – the music, the decorations, and finding that perfect gift. I actually do go to the mall every year, and I still manage to get plenty of sleep and not lose my mind. Want to know how I do it?

I don’t care about sales – That’s right, you heard me. This is probably the most important thing to remember if you want to save your sanity this shopping season. Pretty much everything is on sale anyway, so I don’t really care about getting the absolute lowest price.

Also, ignore the loss leaders. You know those ridiculously low priced items that are only available at some ungodly hour? That you have to skip Thanksgiving dinner to wait in line for? That $35, 60-inch TV? Those are the loss leaders, and their only purpose is to get you to go crazy and shop in that particular store. Don’t fall for it. The quality of these items is generally not the best, so let someone else have them. Your sanity is worth so much more.

I don’t have a list – I generally have NO IDEA what I want to get people before I see it on a store shelf. If I do have ideas, they’re more general than specific. This way I keep my shopping list flexible so I don’t wear myself down looking for something that won’t be back in stock until after the holidays. I’m free to wander about, browsing in all the stores until something piques my interest.

In the unlikely event that I am looking for something super-specific, I buy it from the internet. It’s so much easier to comparison shop and look at every store to see if it’s available when I don’t have to leave the house.

I wait until the afternoon – With crazy deals starting Thanksgiving evening, midnight, or crazy hours like 3am, I know that those are the times I DON’T want to be out in the stores. I wait until mid to late afternoon on Black Friday, then hit the mall. By then, all the die-hard deal seekers have worn themselves out so it’s easier to get a parking space. Plus, the early shift staff has gone home and there are fresh faces behind the counters who aren’t sick of people yet. Not only that, all the stores are typically open on Friday afternoons, so I don’t feel guilty ruining someone’s holiday by shopping outside of their normal operating hours.

Mind your manners – I think it goes without saying that you should do this no matter what time of year you go shopping, but be nice to the store staff, the other shoppers, and everyone you meet. Remember to say please and thank you, and SMILE! Old-fashioned pleasantries are sadly not used enough these days. A simple smile and “thank you” is a guaranteed way to make a retail clerk’s day.

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