Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Black Friday Shopping Tips

Do you take part in Black Friday? When I was young, my mom always jump-started her Christmas shopping with an early morning trip to the mall the day after Thanksgiving. Sometimes, she stood out in the cold for hours, waiting in line for the stores to open. When my brother and I were older, we started going with her. Some years we had a plan, other years we just browsed the aisles to see what cheap goodies we could find.

Years later, when I started a relationship with Mr. Handsome, I discovered that his mother and sisters were dedicated Black Friday shoppers, and I began taking part in what has become a tradition. I can't say I enjoy venturing out into the dark and [usually very] cold at 4am, but it's definitely an adventure and a chance to make memories.

As you prepare for Black Friday, I have a few shopping tips to share. Feel free to add your own.

Black Friday Shopping Tips

1. Make a Game Plan
After the food coma has subsided and your Thanksgiving dinner guests have headed home, start looking through the store catalogs and planning your shopping excursion. Decide what stores you want to visit and in what order (based on what time they open and where they are located), and make a list of the items you are interested in. If you are hoping to pick up Christmas gifts, you'll want to make a list of all the people you need to buy for.

2. Beware of Electronics
When it comes to electronics, especially TVs, you'll want to remember the "buyer beware" mantra. Do the prices seem too good to be true? They might just be. Electronic stores are known for selling cheaper, lower quality brands and making you think you're getting something that's top of the line. They will also manufacture derivative models of more well-known brands. A derivative model is a stripped down, junkier version of a product that is usually only sold for a few days around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Be sure to check model numbers, specs, and consumer reviews before buying an electronic item. If you look up a model number and don't find information online, there's a good chance it's a derivative model.

3. Bundle
When it comes to department/clothing stores, you'll often score additional savings if you combine coupons (found in catalogs or online) with store sales. Make sure to read the fine print, as some coupons are only valid on certain items.

4. Go With a Group
If you have a large list and are planning to hit up several stores, shopping with a few other people can be helpful. If you enter a store with a long checkout line, station someone in the line (perhaps someone who doesn't need anything from that particular store) while the rest of you shop.

5. Check Return Policies
On Cyber Monday, I'll often order a bunch of clothing items with plans to return the ones that don't work. (This tactic is especially easy if you can return online items to the store.) Last year, I ordered about eight pairs of jeans for Mr. Handsome, all at fabulous sale prices, and then returned the ones that didn't fit. Two years ago, I ordered several dresses and returned all but two. (If you're like Mr. Handsome and me, finding tasteful clothing that fits--especially jeans and dresses--is almost impossible, so we welcome online shopping.)

6. Exercise Caution
Over the years, I have made a few Black Friday clothing purchases that I later regretted. Let's be honest, trying on a bunch of clothes when you're tired, cold, and hungry isn't too appealing. Something that looks good at 5am might not have the same appeal when you're well rested. Just something to keep in mind while you shop, especially if it's an item you can't return.

7. Bring Snacks and Water
No explanation needed. A hungry shopper is a grumpy shopper.

36 comments:

  1. Anonymous11/21/2017

    I don't go shopping on Black Friday, I heard it's crazy out there!!!Jane

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous11/22/2017

      Never have shopped on Black Friday myself, but my kids did and said they would never go back. One of them was shoved into a bin by rude shoppers.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11/24/2017

      They'll take your cart if you turn your back, and they'll take things out of your cart if you're not watching....

      Delete
    3. Anonymous11/25/2017

      I always go Thursday night shopping. I never had anyone take my cart.

      I usually go with my sister and she has me wait down the aisle were she will be then when we are almost done I go get on the check out line and she finishes shopping.

      Delete
  2. Anonymous11/21/2017

    8) Stay home and shop online, if you must shop. Better yet, forget about the shopping and spend time with family, or go volunteer somewhere.

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    1. Anonymous11/22/2017

      Staying home is a good idea, but watch the prices. Sometimes the online prices don't match the store circular, and those really big deals are for the ones who are crazy enough to go to the store. Wait til Cyber Monday, too, and check your e-mail for deal alerts.

      There will be plenty more days and plenty more deals out there in the next month. You won't lose out if you don't participate on Friday.

      Delete
  3. Great tips!! I'm a shopper at heart but no one really likes to go with me on Black Friday.... I think I may have pulled my mom in this year, though! ;) Happy Early Thanksgiving!!

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  4. I don't have many rules in life which I adhere to no matter what but I never shop in sales. At first glance, this may seem foolish or wasteful but believe me, it really is good sense.
    1. Sales are never actually good value. The shop is not doing you a favour. Take clothes, for example: the dresses left in a size small are those which do not flatter the slight whilst those left in a large look dreadful on a bigger body. The clothes which suit any particular shape have already been bought by the people suited to that design. The shop are selling them at a discount because they aren't working!
    2. You end up with so much stuff you don't actually want in a sale. It is never a good idea to buy expensive things in an impulsive way, so sale purchases tend to be at the cheaper end of the spectrum. You end up with landfill destined rubbish to give your friends and clutter you just don't need.
    3. You have too much stuff. If you like sales and want to buy more stuff because you think it's cheaper, you are a person who already has too much.
    4. The experience is not pleasant - jostling with people in artificially cooled/ heated warehouses... NO NO NO. Go home.
    5. You will end up buying "cute" gifts for family and friends. No one wants them. It's a cycle of waste which we keep perpetuating.

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    1. Anonymous11/22/2017

      I agree with you, MarriedUK! If anything, I stay home that day and make lists of what I'm going to sew for gifts, or I get started sewing them. Fuzzy slippers and a hot cuppa and my sewing machine beats fighting crowds and long queues any day, not just Black Friday.

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  5. Anonymous11/22/2017

    To all of you celebrating American Thanksgiving, I wish you a happy one. Eileen, a Canadian reader

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  6. Anonymous11/22/2017

    We have a big "shop local" push here every year, with local independent merchants offering extra shopping hours, sales, and even refreshments, for weekend shoppers. I think it's smart of them to encourage supporting local businesses and staying away from the chain stores or the mall.

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  7. Anonymous11/22/2017

    I don’t mean this unkindly in the slightest, but I really think those that shop on Black Friday aren’t taking into consideration the connotation of Black Friday. Yes, there are some good deals, and if you really truly need something, you might be able to find a deal. To me, being a part of a greedy mass of covetous people is not something I’d like to take part in or be associated with. I’d be embarrassed to be seen in that crowd! Seems a bit strange to me that the day after (or sometimes the evening of!) a time when everyone is supposed to remember and be thankful for what they’ve been given, people have to go out and get more. Good considerations though Ellie!

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    1. Anonymous11/23/2017

      True, OP. Even worse are the stores that try to out-do each other by seeing who can open first on Thanksgiving Day itself. And the stores who think that 5 or 6am is a good time to lure shoppers, who are usually so groggy and testy at that time that someone always gets trampled when the doors open. Insanity!

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    2. Anonymous11/24/2017

      Everyone who is shopping is not greedy and covetous. We go Black Friday shopping for fun and to get some items that we need.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous11/24/2017

      It only takes one person to start something or get mad about something, and the fun quickly turns into a situation.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous11/27/2017

      I never said the EVERY Black Friday shopper was greedy. However, a good many people ARE greedy and covetous, and whether or not you are greedy and selfish, when you are out with a mob of people all clamoring to find more things, it doesn't come across as being content and thankful, even if you are. There are certain instances when maybe it is expedient, however, I (personally) would rather save up for something I needed and pay the extra money, or wait for another deal rather than be out with people, many of which are in a mad scramble to buy things, some of which is probably not necessary. I guess some of my disgust comes from having spent a long time in a third world country where people are often completely content with just basic necessities. You don't usually see many Black Friday shoppers running for the bread and water!

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  8. Or . . . stay home and be happy and thankful for what you already own.

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  9. Anonymous11/23/2017

    I sell my own work at a local artisan’s holiday market that runs for 6 weekends, tomorrow being the start of our second weekend. Most of our shoppers are committed to buying the locally handcrafted items we sell there, but we get a contingent of Black Friday shoppers every year, and they are offensive and obnoxious, and seem to think they are doing us favors when they offer to pay us half of the marked prices on our work. It amazes me that people don’t realize how insulting this is. For many of us, the cost of our materials is significant, and we already undercharge for our labor. None of us would go into someone else’s workplace and expect that their wages be cut because we think we’re entitled to a discount, why they think it’s ok to demand the same of us is baffling to me.
    I’m pretty indifferent on the concept of Black Friday, but I despise the mentality that goes along with it.

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  10. Anonymous11/23/2017

    Here’s another strategy, and you don’t even have to leave the house.
    Buy what you want in the weeks leading up to Black Friday, and when those things go on sale, call the store, and ask that the price difference be refunded. Sometimes you have to be persistent, and work your way up the management chain, but it can be very worthwhile. It’s also important to be friendly and polite to everyone you speak with.
    I bought 7 cashmere sweaters at Macy’s over the past several weeks, being fairly certain they would be included in their Black Friday promotions (based on the fluctuations in price prior to Black Friday, and my general familiarity with macy’s sale strategy). When I saw yesterday that they are being promoted as a door buster this year, and are drastically less expensive than what I paid for them, I called the store. All of them were still eligible for return, which seems to make a difference in this scenario, since I could theoretically return them all and buy them again at the lower price, creating more work for everyone.
    It took some time, but I was refunded almost $180, and the sweaters are now very reasonably priced gifts.

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  11. Anonymous11/23/2017

    It does seem the craze for more cheaper items has almost taken over what is supposed to be a celebration of the natural harvest. Things like quality, a bit of luxury, time for relaxing and being with friends and family, comfortable and nicely decorated atmospheres, peace and harmony, joy, contentment, thanksgiving! There is a burden placed on people to rush right back out their and lose that healing feeling of the great get together. Ellie said it herself ... 5 am tired, cold, hungry, maybe grumpy, loss of good judgment. What? How come, wasn't the previous evening one of the most humane and grandest of the year? That feel good feeling went right out the door and to the Black Friday sales. Whatever it is do you really need it and what happened to everyones contentment and thanksgiving? I see more about Black Friday than about the Thanksiving Holiday, I also think there is a challenge to ignore the sales and stay home. If a person needs something cheap that bad maybe they should pray for it, like the Bible says to do.

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  12. Anonymous11/23/2017

    #4 is why I refuse to go out on Black Friday. I shopped by myself and encountered so many people saving a place in the checkout lines. That is the same as "butting in line." RUDE

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    1. Anonymous11/23/2017

      I agree. If you're not done with your shopping, don't get in the line and don't let someone save you a place in the line. That's not fair to others who are waiting. Ellie, I can't believe you encouraged this.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11/24/2017

      We have someone save a place in line as well. There is nothing wrong with that. The person in line has waited just like everyone else. Some of the lines can take an hour or so to get through. It makes sense to have someone go ahead and start the waiting.

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    3. We always pay in one transaction and pay each other back later, so the one person waiting in line is representing one transaction. :)

      Ellie

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    4. Anonymous11/24/2017

      I'm sorry Ellie, but that still seems deceitful. It's not fair to wait behind one person in line with only one or two things, and then people walk up and hand them ten more things to pay for. It doesn't seem very Christ like to me.

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    5. Anonymous11/25/2017

      I usually I stand in line when we're almost done shopping why my sister gets the rest of the stuff.

      It is too fair. If you down like it that tuff

      Delete
    6. Anonymous11/26/2017

      Ellie has it right! Sorry OP! Why don't you get someone to go shopping with you so you can do the same thing? Sometimes when we're jealous of others doing something we can't it makes us rise up inside and become against or resistant to the very thing itself. I see this scenario here. My husband goes with me on Black Friday just to help me with standing in line while I gather my stuff. The very best thing for a couple to do! Are you expecting 2 ppl to wait hrs in line just because you're jealous? I don't think so. If one is waiting the other may as well be looking around. ITS THE SAME THING.

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  13. Anonymous11/23/2017

    Agreed.

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  14. Anonymous11/24/2017

    Those are good tips, regardless of the day one goes out to shop. It must require insight and wisdom to go out into the world with some money and not lose "it" one way or another, but rather go home happy. Thank you for sharing a bit about how you manage to manage.

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  15. Anonymous11/24/2017

    This may seem obvious but be very careful with your purse, wallet, cards, and cellular device. Once as I was standing by a counter I took my wallet out of my purse to get out my cell, and left the wallet and purse like that while I looked at my cell. Someone walked by their arm flashed by my peripheral view as I was on my phone and they got my wallet. It happened fast! It ruined my outing and more I was distraught for days. And it begins a panic of phone calls and weeks of replacing stuff. If only I had realized how silly I was being to do that! But I was in a rush to look at my phone I did not pack and zip up my purse I left everything out and looked at my phone right away. Saving a few seconds can be a mistake if sdomething else more important is neglected. We can be so keen in one area and be completly wrong in another area. What are top priorities? Not losing stuff hasto be up there. And being kind, not becoming abusive to others is more important than getting physical things. People can lose their tempers if they do not put a priority on staying in the spirit. That would mean we could lose our bond of peace and fellowship if we do that.

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    1. Anonymous11/25/2017

      Bank cards now can also be credit cards. So for this reason, I now put a piece of solid colored tape over the numbers on both sides. That is to keep people or cameras from seeing those when I use it as a debit card. I am interested if it is actually possible for card readers to get the info through the air. Are metal protectve cases necessary and which ones work?

      Delete
  16. Anonymous11/24/2017

    I hope you didn't go on TV and give Tip #4. I can just see people holding places in line, claiming (to the angry people behind them) that they heard on the news that you were supposed to do that! :/

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  17. Anonymous11/24/2017

    The$100 dollar question is what are some of the things you got at Black Friday sales? And how was your actual shopping trip? (No derivative answers please!)

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  18. Anonymous11/25/2017

    Hey Ellie,
    Do you have any recommendations for websites to buy dresses? I also have the problem of finding tasteful dresses that fit right.
    Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous11/27/2017

      I know I'm not Ellie, but try Eshakti. They can be expensive, but if you find a sale, they have some excellent choices. You can also customize any dress for seven dollars I believe. (That was the last time I checked). Two other websites would be ModCloth or Shabby Apple(I recommend these with reservations!), Boden, Eric's Dresses (this one is extremely inexpensive, and some of the dresses are great. HOWEVER, there are also some hideous and extremely immodest dresses that are more like lingerie, so be careful!), Neese's Dresses, ModLi, Apostalic Clothing and Dainty Jewells. Just a few suggestions! :-)

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    2. Hi there,

      Thanks to the reader who responded with all those great ideas! When I can get free shipping and free returns, I'll often just order online from stores like Kohl's, JC Penney, and Dillard's and then return whatever doesn't work to the store. I've been impressed by the many options available online, even when there doesn't seem to be any good options in-store.

      Ellie

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