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Monday, November 23, 2009

Prudent Penny: Black Friday Deals & Decisions

We're counting down to the great holiday buying dash that is Black Friday.

Black Friday, for those of you who don't know, is the day retailers pull all the stops to get you into their stores. In the US, it always occurs the day after (US) Thanksgiving, which of course is always a Friday.

I thought they called it Black Friday because it's the one day retailers should be in the black despite any ill economic forecasts, which is true. But according to Wikipedia, the first modern use of the phrase appeared in 1966 to describe the traffic conditions on the day after Thanksgiving with all the shoppers out and about.

Originally, it was used to mark the 1869 stock market crash.

The vet I used to work for told me that's what he calls his wedding anniversary--but I'm sure he was kidding. ;o)

I don't shop on Black Friday. There is simply nothing I want so badly that I would be willing to risk life and limb among the hordes of rabid shoppers. They won't let me bring my sword and crossbow to the battle anymore--so I ain't going. It's dangerous out there.

We tried years ago and picked only one store--Best Buy. Worst. Mistake. Ever. People were parking on the sidewalks, on the grass and even along the highway. It was madness! Somehow we lucked out and found a spot just as someone was leaving, but it was shoulder to shoulder with every other shopper--and I'm short! There's no air down there for me.

We left disgusted. The one thing we came for had already been sold out. Mind you, the store had been opened only ten minutes by then.

We swore, never again.

So now I watch the crowds on the news, eat turkey sandwiches and pecan pie then curl up on the couch with Greg.

But if you are the diehard type, allow me to make it worth your while.

I found this site that lists all the major retailers who will have big sales on Black Friday. If you absolutely must shop, scan these flyers for potential deals.

If you must go out on Friday, here are some tips for saner shopping.

• Eat before you go out. You don't know if and when you'll have time for a bite. Restaurants are crazy too. Those hordes of locusts have to replenish themselves after they empty all those store shelves.

• Study your flyers and make a strict list. Buy only what you need. The retailers are trying to separate you from your money and will use any means to do it. Think with your head and not your emotions.

• If it's an item you must have and you can muscle your way in, shop EARLY. I mean it. Get there before the store opens and stand in line. You can't be everywhere at once so decide which item is worth most. Then work your way down the list of stores and hope your other items haven't sold out.

• Work as a team. Grab husbands, sisters, older children, and your crazy Aunt Tilly and assign everyone to a location so you can expand your reach and find things more quickly. Make sure your cell phones are charged so you can check in with each other.

• Leave little kids at home, please. Not only is it no fun for them, but it's a prime way to lose them or get them snatched. Leave them at home and keep them safe.

• When it's all over, go out to a nice restaurant far, far away from the retail center. Collapse into your chair and toast yourself for a job well done.

Cheers! My sofa and I salute you.

More Prudent Penny posts.

Copyright © 2009 Maria Zannini --


Dru said...

I'll be on my couch as well watching holiday movies.

Most retailers will have online sales as well.

Have a good Monday.

Maria Zannini said...

I am lining up my movies now. We plan to have a movie marathon.

Cheers, Dru!

Marianne Arkins said...

I don't do Black Friday EVER. I did one time, got to WalMart at the crack of dawn, bought a dirt cheap DVD player for my mom and left.

But like you, it just isn't worth the stress. It's totally crazy... and lots of people go to buy stuff cheap and then resell on places like eBay (my BIL/SIL do this -- mostly for electronics), so I'm not prepared to fight them.


Maria Zannini said...

Ref: ...and lots of people go to buy stuff cheap and then resell on places like eBay

No kidding? I didn't know this.

Kaylie said...

I don't know if I will do it this year. Saving money is good, but I don't know if it's get-up-at-5 good. Maybe I'll hit the online sales.

Maria Zannini said...

Ref: ...if it's get-up-at-5 good

LOL. Yeah that is the litmus test, isn't it?

Marian said...

I think of it as Black Friday because of that poor Wal-Mart employee who was killed when shoppers literally broke the doors down to get to the merchandise.

Apparently some of them were quite peeved that they had to stop shopping when the police arrived.

Maria Zannini said...

I know! Sometimes people have no sense of decency. They don't think of anything beyond their convenience.