Shopping on Black Friday

I thought the above was hilarious, so I thought I’d share.

I confuse people when I tell them that I don’t typically participate in Black Friday– primarily because I’m always talking about what’s on sale and where. I shop online plenty during the week and over the weekend, but my standard operating procedure for holiday weekends typically involves me leaving my house as little as possible.

Holidays are when I don’t have to get up early. Nobody is going to work, and nobody has to be driven to school. I sleep in. If I don’t have a family event to attend, I sit around in my pajamas ALL DAY because I can. Inevitably, someone will stop by and insist on me leaving, and I respond something like this.

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For those of you who do venture out, though, I do have a few requests and/or tips to keep in mind.

#1: Be nice to retail employees and servers.

Retail workers make minimum wage or darn close to it. There are exceptions, but I’ve worked minimum wage in my lifetime, and it’s not a party. People are dicks to you, and there’s really no wage in the world high enough to put up with some customers. It is a soul-crushing and thankless experience. I know, I know… Go to school. Get a better job. I’ve heard it. But a lot of these people are working there because they’re in school, and the ones that aren’t… You don’t know their situation. In any case, it’s not an excuse to be a jerk. Do you really want to be that person?Don’t be that person.

Try to understand that the person helping you might be a tad flustered, but they’re likely doing their best, considering they’ve just been screamed at by the crazy lady in blinking, singing Christmas tree earrings because JC Penny doesn’t have any more $20 RC helicopters (and they’re standing in the middle of the Sephora), and by golly they are going to hold that person responsible and curse their very soul until they walk into the magical TARDIS “back” and get it for them.

So if the associate you’re dealing with seems confused for a few seconds before answering your question… It’s okay. Just be patient. He’s doing his best.

#2: Be nice to other shoppers.

You’ve seen these videos. Admit it. They terrify me. Being crushed by a crazed mob while police officers in riot gear stand by helpless to do anything is not on my list of top ten ways I want to die.

But I don’t really do well in crowds, in general. Neither does my husband or my daughter. So we do as little brick and mortar shopping as is humanly possible already. If and when we do go out, we tend to trend toward the days and hours when most people won’t be there and pick the locations that aren’t as popular. Down here, you can go during the Iron Bowl and have the store all to yourself. (THAT is fun, by the way.)

There’s something about this time of year, though, that seems to bring out the worst in people when they’re anywhere around STUFF. More than any other time of year, I’m likely to encounter someone throwing an adult tantrum, and that person is usually wearing a gaudy Christmas sweater or tinsel on her head.

Be courteous. Be patient. Don’t shove. If you see someone else grab the last Star Wars Furby, just let it go, man. Trust me, they’re living out the same nightmare you are.

#3: Be prepared.

I have a Christmas list that I started on December 26 of last year, and nothing on it has hit the ads as being on sale this weekend. The things that have hit sales that I’ve considered getting instead have been listed at better prices and have already been snatched up without me even having to put on pants.

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Neither did this guy, but that’s beside the point.

 

There are things I see in ads that I want, but they’re not my priority right now, and I’ll probably catch them on sale another time or after Christmas when I’m loaded up on gift cards. In other words, right now it’s not worth the cost of gas, eating out, aspirin, the obligatory bottle of wine I’m going to need later that evening to help me recover… You know, those little extra expenses that come with dragging an entire family through a retail obstacle course for a few hours.

Now, if it’s something I want badly enough, I’ll grab it– usually online. I particularly like the online sales that start days ahead of Black Friday. Several started earlier this week, and I’ve even posted about a few of them. I’ve even made a couple of purchases for products that I’ve been wanting to try out and haven’t seen them go on sale before now. (And no, I don’t always buy something when I’m posting about a sale. I post about sales that generally catch my eye that I think others might be interested in.) But my deal shopping for many years now has been more of a year-round thing, and more often than not I’ll catch things on sale many times throughout the year. So if there’s a deal out there that you missed out on, take heart. You’ll probably see it again.

So here’s the plan, if you’re going out to battle…

  1. Have a list and know what you want to get.
  2. Research prices to find the best deal, and that might not be a Black Friday deal.
  3. Plan your route and stick to your list. Get in. Get your stuff. Get out.
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