It’s just around the corner. Black Friday. The day when otherwise mild-mannered humans turn into wild, salivating beasts. Are you ready to put your body in harm’s way and go toe-to-toe with the surging crowds?
Before you dare hit the mall on the craziest day of the year, check out Parentology’s handy guidelines on how to survive Black Friday, and make sure you’re fully prepared for the chaos that lies ahead.
- Set A Budget And Stick To It: How much are you willing to spend? Write a dollar amount on a bright colored Post-It note and stick it to your purse or wallet. Your mission: don’t surpass that number. It’s a slippery slope. If you start spending more than you’ve allotted, it can have a snowball effect.
- Know What You Want And Where You’re Going: Make a list of the products you want to buy and the stores where you’ll purchase them. Go to the mall prior to Black Friday and take note of each store’s location. Make a map for yourself and group your destinations together as much as you can. Some stores, like Target, even have products listed by aisle numbers. Without a location gameplan, you could find yourself bouncing around like a pinball and wasting precious time. The name of the game: efficiency.
- Wear Comfortable Shoes: Some people like to look good when they go to the mall. Black Friday doesn’t care how you look. You need to be as comfortable as possible. Ditch the heels or fancy flats and put on your favorite pair of worn-out sneakers. You’re going to be on your feet A LOT.
- Wear Loose Clothing: Going to be standing in line outside at 2 am? Bring a jacket, gloves, hat, scarf… You get the picture. Just don’t wear anything you can’t peel off and tie around your waist, because when the stores open you’re going to be on the move and working up a sweat. Under outerwear, consider donning sweats and a loose-fitting shirt. Comfort is key.
- Carrying Personal Items (cell phones, wallets, etc.): One thing to consider — you may want pockets to stow items like your cell phone so you can go fully hands-free when shopping. Fanny packs (yes, this is the time of year to pull those out), backpacks and crossbody bags are also helpful. Make sure the store you’re visiting has no personal bag size restrictions.
- Load up mobile shopping apps. Stores like Walmart and Target have apps with features that speak to shopping experts. Not only will they help you track items and compare prices, but some offer the capability of scanning your receipts and reimbursing your account if a better price lists in the store within a certain time frame.
- Split Up Then Regroup: Shopping with the family or friends can save time. What’s the point in all of you standing in the same line? While one person waits, another can shop. That list of stores you made? Split it up amongst yourselves, then keep in touch and regroup at a designated time and location.
- Bring More Cargo Room: Carpooling is great. But if you’re shopping with friends or family and you all pile into the same car, this limits cargo space. Bring multiple vehicles. This is especially important if you’re planning to purchase some large items, like that TV you’ve had your eye on. You’re going to need room for all that STUFF!
- Show Up Early And Park: If you’re going to bring more than one car, you’ll obviously need more than one parking space. Show up early and stake your claim to a couple of primo spots.
- Pack A Lunch And Snacks: Stopping for a meal is a waste of time. Bring something you can eat on the go or while standing in line. A sandwich. A wrap. A banana. WATER. Something portable that can be easily stowed on your person. You’ll need energy and you want to feel full for as long as possible, so don’t skimp on the protein. Chicken is a good option for your sandwich. Thinking fish or eggs? Think again. You don’t want to be the person stinking up the line for everyone else.