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How to Make the Most of Black Friday
Report to Moderator Old 06-02-2002 08:55 PM
MMC Editor
Category: Holiday How-to
Views: 48,660
Replies: 0
By Susan Beane

I love Black Friday. The rush, the excitement, the prices! It is the one shopping day of the year where the only news is shopping. For shopaholics like me, Black Friday is better than Christmas. (Unless, of course, you get diamonds in your stocking, but that's another article).

Of course, my husband hates it. He makes sure his head is buried beneath his pillow when I head out the door every day-after-Thanksgiving. My ears will ring with his warnings about not spending too much. But he need not bother with the financial bah-humbuggery. Black Friday is not about spending money. It is all about saving money.

I have been called a sucker or a chump by lots of people due to my passion for Black Friday. But I call that sour grapes. The thrill of the hunt and the ectasy of the score is all I need to shut up the critics. In the end, I will be the one holding the jump start on holiday shopping and I will be nickels ahead in my Christmas budget. All it takes is a little planning, some perserverence and, best of all, my feminine charm.

Here are the key things to remember:

The best part of Black Friday is the anticipation. You'll get the ads soon enough. Some websites, such as make a name for themselves by posting the Black Friday deals of major retailers well in advance of actual publishing dates. But this serves only to tick off the retailers (who get very upset at such websites) and causes a few of them to change their deals. These sites have no importance to me. They take away from the fun.

Gifting strategies begin with an idea of what you want to do before you see an ad or walk into a store. Any gift you buy just because it has a hot price is sure to be a lousy and obvious gift. Forget that. The first step is to make a list of what meaningful things you want to give at Christmas. Then, and only then, should you look at what's on sale.

Strategizing is a code word for getting the girls together. This is a Thanksgiving ritual in my house. The men will sit around the TV scratching their fat turkey-filled bellies while the girls dawdle in the kitchen pretending to wash the dishes while talking the early morning hunt. Someone usually brings all the ads and they end up spread out on the kitchen table. Someone else makes a list of store opening times and key items to pursue. Before long, we will have a plan of attack, right down to which cars are taken and who is driving.

On a personal level, I always know exactly what I need versus what I want. If I get needs, I'm happy. If I get wants, I'm thrilled. I know ahead of time how much I can and will spend and just what really doesn't interest me.

Armed with this makes watching the frenzy of Black Friday morning a lot more fun.

Stake Out
Ok, I'll admit it. Part of my day-before-Thanksgiving routine is a quick stroll through my favorite day-after discounters. Why? Because the big stacks of stuff near the entrances of stores and their departments give me a good idea of where I will be successful. If displays are small I know they will be gone in a flash. If they are huge, I consider my odds based upon my needs and relative judgment of the item's popularity.

For example, this year Wal Mart has a $400 laptop on sale. A laptop is definitely on the wishlist of my 14 year old son and we aren't all that serious about getting him one because a laptop is upwards of $1000 -- far beyond our standards for a Christmas gift. But, $400 is doable, especially with the rationalization that he will use it for doing his homework. (You see, this is how twisted the mind becomes when manipulated by a hot deal). You can bet I'll be looking for the $400 laptap on the day-before.

Be smart.
Ok, who am I kidding? Wal Mart is obviously pushing the $400 laptop because they are a wee-bit jealous of the fast start Best Buy got off to last year with a similar offer. Best Buy was dumb enough to say they had only 15 units per store at that price. Wal Mart is not so sly. They are completely silent but you can bet your bottom dollar that they won't have many more.

So what are the odds that I can land the $400 homework machine? Pretty slim.

Also, think about most of these door-buster items. How many of them are the absolute lowest-of-the-low in their product category for quality and features? I heard one particular computer service dealer crack that he would jack up his repair rates on Black Friday in anticipation of the $400 piece-of-junk laptop.

Go back to your original list before you saw any ads. Stick to your buying goals. I see instead that Wal Mart has a 27-inch television for $150 bucks. Yeah, I think they'll sell a boatload of those but I'm willing to bet my chances are better for the 6:00 a.m. grab with it than for the computer. Since it is on my list for my husband, I'm targeting it on Black Friday 2005.

It is the smart thing to do.

Score Early, Score Often
Organization is key to winning on Black Friday. Take as many people with you as possible. Why? Because it makes enduring the crowds a party. This is suppose to be fun. The more the merrier, I say.

But more importantly having more people with you improves your chances if you have a solid plan. Send one person after the toaster, another after the giveaway, another after the television, and another after the microwave. Divide and conquer.

The Spoils Go to the Victor
Be sure to stop by after Black Friday to see what is left. Often some great deals are had on the less glamourous items that are still available. Last year I hit Target on the Wednesday after Thanksgiving and found them clearing out some vaccuums they sold on Black Friday for $29.95. Their clearance price? $14.95! It wasn't a regular item, they didn't turn well and the store just didn't need them sitting around until Christmas.

Like all things, timing and good luck are important on Black Friday. But opportunity abounds for those who have a plan. Good luck!
This article is copyrighted. Use of this article in part or whole is strictly prohibited. For reprint, quotation, or excerpt use please contact Merry Network LLC.

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