I LOVE Black Friday. My husband and I have a tradition of shopping together on Black Friday and then eating breakfast afterwards. It does vary a bit depending on where we are for Thanksgiving that year, or what gifts we are looking for. There have been years we’ve planned a strategy for where to go and what to buy in advance… and years we have just gotten what looked fun at the moment. We loved it because we could get better presents for others for less money (and not because we are stingy… because we are usually shopping on a budget!) This year, with much of our shopping done, we are looking more at items to get for ourselves for Christmas, stocking stuffers, and a few random gifts.
I have found that shopping on Black Friday is not the chaos that many imagine it to be (note: that is only if you avoid Best Buy and have a plan for Walmart). Yes, the lines are long… but it is amazing how much people will help each other out. A kind of camaraderie is formed with others who are queued up in the pre-dawn, trying to stay warm and swapping sales ads. Despite the media’s portrayal of the negative aspects, I have found there is more good than bad.
Here are a few lessons we’ve learned over the years:
- Wal-mart matches competitor’s ads (which is great when you don’t want to drive to the toy store that is 30 minutes away).They also open first (that may depend on where you live)… and have really long lines… and are definitely the craziest place to be. Please don’t base your opinion of how nice people are on Black Friday on solely a Wal-mart experience.
- K-mart is open on Thanksgiving Day. So is Walgreens. And they have great specials on that day. Walgreens is the place to go for cheap ribbons, bows and paper!
- Forget about shopping carts… they just slow down the process. Unless you are looking for electronics, of course.
- Best Buy or any parking lot near a Best Buy is insane. You can go there… but don’t expect to go anywhere else.
- Old Navy has great sales (though we were quite disappointed in their selection of boys clothing last year)… and they make waiting in line a lot of fun!
What are your thoughts on Black Friday? I know some people who love shopping for bargains… some who hate the crowds and chaos (not to mention lack of sleep)… and some of see it all as too much commercialism or even greediness on the part of retailers and consumers. Do you shop the sales? Do you sleep in? Do you watch the kids so their parents can shop? What’s on your wish list this year? Do you have any tips or traditions you would like to share?
(Whatever you do… just don’t let this happen):
(Oh, and I am thankful for having most of my shopping done and having a husband who likes to shop with me!)