Say what you will about Black Friday, it’s “consumerism at its worst,” “only in America do we celebrate giving thanks for an entire day just to go out the next day to push and shove each other for the newest laptop,” “it has the best deals of the year and I get all of my shopping done.”
Whatever your stance, Black Friday is here to stay. At least for now, because as consumers we are generally, cheap. You give us a whiff of a good deal and we’re there.
Since joining my husband’s family I have “gotten” to go to Black Friday every year with my sister in law. I am speaking from first hand experience, you can do Black Friday and maintain your sanity. Here are my tips for surviving Black Friday.
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1. Stay Home.
Ha! You’re welcome! I bet you’re thinking about how brilliant I am right now. If you can, stay warm, cozy, and bundled up in your home listening to Christmas music setting up your Christmas tree, decorations or whatever. Please, just enjoy your wonderful day off! However if you’re
getting dragged against your will in the same boat as me and you get to go shopping, then proceed to number two.
2. Mentally Prepare Yourself.
There will be crowds. There will be people ready for a fight. I’ve only witnessed one minor altercation. Don’t worry, my SIL wasn’t hurt. She could have easily taken the woman in the middle of the Nordstrom’s shoe department. Luckily it didn’t come to that, and now I know what to look for next time so I can ditch.
There will be traffic and no parking. Just pop on the soothing Christmas music that whisks you away to a happy place. The chipmunks Christmas album will not help you here, that crap soothes no one.
3. Have a Plan.
Know the stores you want to go to, and know the deals you want to take advantage of, then plan accordingly. Get to the more popular stores as early as possible. Expect to wait in line. I promise, there will be lines. Which leads me to…
4. Go With Someone You Like.
It’s going to be a long day. You’ll be spending a lot of down time together. Each time I’ve gone, we’re done by lunchtime but it still feels as if we had been shopping all day. Be sure you’re going to be among the
psycho Christmas shoppers with someone you get along with. Better yet, someone you actually like spending time with. There are few people in my life that I would be willing to suffer through Black Friday for (three to be exact).
5. Be Sure to Eat!
Eat a large, well-balanced breakfast.
Who am I kidding? You’re probably going to swing by a Micky D’s last minute. Whatever, as long as you eat. Also bring plenty of snacks for the long waits in line. And don’t forget to get lunch. There is nothing worse than doing something miserable, than doing that miserable thing when you’re hungry. And if you encounter a
bitchy cranky shopper, you can offer them a Luna bar because you remembered to pack some in your purse before you left at 5 am. (The offer may or may not go over well. I assume no responsibility in the outcome. Offer food to a crazed shopper at your own risk.)
6. Dress Appropriately.
Wear comfortable shoes! If you’re hitting up a parade first, be sure to have warm clothes. But also be sure they won’t be too much of a pain to carry around when you’re in the overcrowded stores.
7. Shop in the Smallest Town Closest to You.
When we first started this tradition, we lived close to Seattle. They have the Macy’s parade every year and of course all of the shopping. It is a madhouse. The traffic, parking, people, everything!! Now I live in a smaller town and the shopping area is much smaller than the big city. But it still has all of the same stores in a more compact area. And a lot less people. There are still plenty of lines, but compared to our previous years of shopping Black Friday in the big city, our new town feels like a regular day of shopping. So, if you have a smaller mall nearby, consider giving it a shot!
8. Keep Your Cool.
Seriously. There are a lot of insane people out there. As individuals we are logical and reasonable. As a crowd of consumers, we’re
fucking nuts. Don’t get sucked into that type crazy. If someone shoves you, brush it off. Move on. Take a deep breath and look up at the pretty Christmas decorations, I promise, there will be a lot of them.
As awful and unappealing as Black Friday is, I’ve got to be honest, it has grown on me. It only took 10 years and a move to a smaller town. After all of those years, it became a tradition that I actually look forward to (did I really just say that?). It’s a day I get to go shopping with one of my favorite people and now that I have kids, I don’t often get to spend time with her by myself. So crowds and crazies, I’ll take it!
Do you do Black Friday? Have you? Would you?