Sunday, December 08, 2013

A Rookie's Guide to Black Friday Shopping

The following is a not by any means comprehensive of what to expect, should you decide to, for the first time, partake in the madness that is Black Friday shopping.1
  • It's worth it to stay a little way away from where you plan on doing the majority of your shopping. While it may seem counter-intuitive, if you bring more than one vehicle, it gives you a good rallying point to get away from the crowds, and minimizes the chances of someone following you to your car and either assaulting you for not leaving your spot or breaking in and stealing your stuff while you go back in to shop
  • Go on Thanksgiving Day. The stores are open, and this is when the big deals are on. Plus, you get the added satisfaction of judging stores for making their employees work on a holiday instead of spending time with their families, all while you spend time with your family shopping on a holiday
  • Denny's is all that's open on Thanksgiving. Get your Slam on
  • Are the deals that good? Well, it really depends what you're looking for, but if it's an appliance, an entertainment device, a movie, a game, or a toy released more than three months ago...yeah, it's that good
  • Stores will run out, but if you do your research, you'll find that places like Wal-Mart will guarantee some items to be available for a certain amount of time - you might not get it that day, but you'll get it by Christmas
  • Don't expect to see fistfights in the aisles over some deal - while they make the news, so do crack-smoking mayors, and there aren't more than a couple of those2
  • Do expect to see huge lineups, both to get in and get out of the store. We, for example, spent two hours in line at Wal-Mart. It was as fun as it sounds
  • Go with a gameplan. For the love of God, please go with a gameplan. Easily more than 50% of your fellow shoppers have been sent by others to pick up technologies that are entirely foreign to them, meaning they'll waste endless eons tying up an employee trying to explain their understanding on what an iPad is without knowing what it's called
  • It pays to be agile. People will be constantly stopping, turning, blocking, and veering, and the most successful Black Friday shoppers will be ready and able to dodge around the gormless nuisances occupying the aisles with carts the width of which they are completely unfamiliar
  • Figure out the amount you're allowed to bring back across the border, and be prepared to prove where you stayed on your excursion. Customs agents know you're going to lie - but you might as well make it believable
  • It will be crowded. Don't bitch
  • Do your best, and have fun!3
All in all, it was really fun, and I'm getting a new TV. Also, I have infinitely more respect for where my pillowcases come from after visiting Jo-Ann's. Never get between an elderly lady from Buffalo and a bolt of Dora the Explorer polar fleece.

1 - Particularly if you're Canadian
2 - I did see a lady getting told she was getting arrested outside of Target, so that was pretty awesome
3 - The 3rd Rule of Fight Club

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