Black Friday Shopping Survival Guide

On Black Friday weekend more than 138 million people plan to shop according to a preliminary survey by the National Retail Federation. That is a lot of people and I plan to be one of them.

But Black Friday isn’t like any other shopping day; you need a strategy. After working at retailers during my college holiday breaks (Macy’s and Express) and many Black Friday shopping sprees, I have a few dos and don’ts to share.

• Do plan ahead. Check out Black Friday websites or your Thanksgiving Day newspapers to make a list and plot your course. This will help you spend less time driving and more time shopping.

• Do make a list. Making a list will help keep you on track and on budget.

• Do bring snacks. If you are like me, you’ll need to refuel every few hours. Pack water and food like peanut butter crackers, almonds and granola bars that are good for sustaining energy.

• Do wear comfortable shoes that are easy to slip on and off. Just in case you find the perfect pair of shoes, you can take a minute or two to try them on!

• Do wear layers and leave your bulky coat in the car or at home. One less thing you have to carry the better.

• Do wear a tank top under your layers. Should you find a sweater, shirt or coat you want to try on, you will not have to wait in line for a dressing room.

• Do check pricing prior to going to the register and ensure your merchandise rings up correctly. You will save time by stopping the sales associate if something doesn’t look right while he or she is ringing you up. Otherwise, you’ll be standing in the customer service line for a price adjustment.

• Don’t be afraid to ask the sales associate for a coupon at retailers that are known for them like Macy’s, Kohl’s, Belk, etc. The worst they can say is no or I’m not allowed to do that.

• Don’t head to Target, Walmart or Best Buy unless you are fighting for a limited number of electronics. Rather wait until later in the day to get the same sales without all the lines. Most retailers have plenty of stock on Black Friday and will continue to stock their shelves throughout the day.

• Don’t leave your purse on a dressing room hook unless you keep a good eye on it. There is an increase in theft during the holiday season. And this is an easy way for thieves to get your pocketbook while you are distracted looking in the bigger dressing room mirror. Also, be sure to lock your car doors.

• Don’t want to fight the traffic or the crowds? Stay home. It is highly likely (almost guaranteed) retailers will continue to offer special sales throughout the entire holiday season.

Do you plan on being one of the millions of Americans that will be shopping on Black Friday? If so, share your personal survival tips in the comments section.

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