Your Survival Guide to Black Friday

We all have that one family member who goes insane for the holidays — planning their shopping weeks before Thanksgiving, up late at night making comprehensive gift lists, leaving dinner on Thursday to take a nap before waiting in a line in the freezing cold for a chance to grab a flat screen at half price. In my family, that one family member is me. I am a slave to consumerism.

My mother and I hit the Black Friday sales together every year, and we have developed a fair number of rules and guidelines to make the night go as smoothly as possible. In the hopes that our experiences will help you, we’re making public our Black Friday survival guide:

  • The most important thing to remember is to have a plan. Start looking at ads as soon as possible. Deciding where to go first and braving that initial freeze in line will decide the fate of the whole night. If you’re neurotic enough to have a gift list, prioritize it. Keep in mind some stores ticket some items due to popularity and amount of stock. Be willing to spend a little more if it’s at a store that has three other things you want. Make the money sacrifice to save time. Take your ads with you. Things change last-minute with a lot of stores.
  • Sleep is a privilege, not a right. You will lose a day if you don’t sleep beforehand.
  • #TheBundle. Dressing for the line is key to your level of hustle in the store. Every year I see people with blankets. Once you are in the store running around, this will become a problem and a tripping hazard. Concentrate on lots of light layers. Wear leggings under jeans with undies that offer coverage. The booty will get cold, so take care. Smartwool is your best friend; it’s thin and flexible with a good amount of heat retention. Their gloves and neck gaiters are life savers.
  • Roll deep; having a small crew of reliable people can make Black Friday work to everyone’s  advantage. Split up to cover more ground in less time, like a well oiled machine. Just make sure all your phones are charged.
  • No shopping cart. There is no room. If you are buying bulky items, bring someone whose job will be to carry that big TV and wait for you in a less crowded space or steal a spot in the checkout line while you shop.
  • Don’t bring kids. They do not want to be there, and having little ones under foot when full-grown adults are getting trampled is not good for anyone.
  • Move with purpose. Don’t be shy. Be the leaf. Weaving and dodging through the crowd is part of the fun. Just remember to be polite. Everyone is out there doing this for their loved ones.
  • Bring snacks, but limit the drinks. There will be no time to pee.
  • Get a map specific to the store you’re going to. Store layouts change; make sure you know what is going on.
  • Don’t let all your efforts be for naught. Everything you buy should be hidden out of sight in your car. Better safe than sorry.
  • Have fun! It’s the holidays. Try not to let the stress of it all get to you. It really is about giving; you just have to snag what you wanna give.

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