A Fool’s Errand or a Beloved Tradition

sale red

It comes ever year. Husbands and children dread it and retailer’s can hardly wait for it. It’s Black Friday…. the Blackest of all the Fridays.

There are three groups of people when it comes to black Friday; the people that shop it, the people that ignore it, and the people that work it. As much as I would like to count myself among the “ignore it” crowd (who sleep all of Friday and sometimes well into Saturday due to the food-induced coma that is Thanksgiving), in reality I am part of the latter group- the worker bees. For the past five years I have had the debatable privilege of working Black Friday, and while I still consider those who shop on this day borderline crazy, I respect their tenacity and resourcefulness.  It is from this respect (and perhaps a bit of mocking) that I wish to share some of the secrets I have gleaned from my many years of working in the retail holiday trenches. Take heed shopping civilians! Black Friday is not for the faint of heart and preparation that most be done beforehand if you wish to be successful in your yuletide endeavors.

The Black Friday Survival Guide

     Shopping on Black Friday shouldn’t actually begin on black Friday. Oh no.  There are several steps you must take before you even set foot in the department store or retail outlet. First you must have a game plan of the locations you wish to hit; driving around willy-nilly without any general sense of purpose will be not only be frustrating but completely futile if you wish to save on any deals. Use the weekend before Black Friday to checkout your favorite stores online; what time do they open? Will there be door busters? Are the sales any better than usual? These are all questions you need to think about when determining what stores you will visit on Friday. The second step you must take is finding a good wheel man. Parking on Black Friday WILL BE CRAZY and the chances of you getting a parking spot close to the entrance is slim to none. blackfridaymobsConvince a spouse, friend or family member to drop you off and pick you up at designated location and you will have more time to find that perfect stocking stuffer or gift. The third step for Black Friday preparedness is simple: have a list. Just as you should map out where you want to go, so too should you map out what you want to purchase. If you’re looking for Vince Camuto’s hottest fragrance at Home Depot or searching for new silverware in Victoria’s Secret, chances are you aren’t going to get much checked off your list. Be purposeful in what you purchase; the last thing you want is to buy something you will only return the following Monday. The fourth and perhaps most important step is courtesy. It’s interesting on Thursday we acknowledge all that we are thankful for but on Friday we trample over others to get 20% off Martha Stewart linens. This disconnect is alarming and a poor reflection on our culture. If and when you do go shopping this Friday I would ask that you be kind and courteous to those you come into contact with, be it fellow shoppers or sales people. As cliché as it sounds, the Holiday’s are not about the best deals or how many gifts we receive; they’re about spending time with loved ones and enjoying community with one another. So start right now and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

The Black Friday Survival Kit

  • The running shoes with arch support- there’s a chance you might be employing some track and field techniques in the rush to save on amazing deals.
  • The hiker’s backpack- not only can you fit a baby elephant in one of those, it eliminates the need for a shopping cart.
  • Two camel packs- one strapped to your back filled with water to hydrate and one strapped to your stomach filled with your caffeinated beverage of choice.
  • Adult Diapers-because there’s no time for potty breaks
  • A monkey- to create a division so you can get the last Samsung HDTV for only $297.99


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