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Thanksgiving Day - Planning for Black Friday Shopping

Updated on March 9, 2014
Image by *Clairity* on Flickr
Image by *Clairity* on Flickr

The National Day of Shopping

Just as you’re finishing your last bite of Thanksgiving turkey, you’ll discover that holiday shopping season is upon you. You may feel the pressure and stress to get everything done at once. That’s how Black Friday came about.

People typically want to jump on their holiday shopping immediately after Thanksgiving. And since most folks have the day after Thanksgiving off, Friday, it’s the perfect time to venture out.

Finding Black Friday Deals

Image by Alex92287
Image by Alex92287

Surviving the Big Day

Black Friday refers to the fact that retailers pull in some of their best profits of the whole season on that one day. They’re “in the black” after this one huge shopping day. You and millions of other people all have the same idea of grabbing the bargains quick. That makes for crowded parking lots, long lines, and exhausted shoppers.

How can you get through Black Friday without losing your holiday spirit? Here are some tips you can try.

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Image by Laris.Sa* on Creative Commons
Image by Laris.Sa* on Creative Commons

Get Outta Bed, Sleepy Head

Go early, but not too early. Most stores now open their doors around 5 a.m. to accommodate the holiday crowds. They even offer “doorbuster” offers that are only valid for a short time in the morning. If you're in a hurry, hopefully you can find yourself a nice coffee gift basket to use for yourself, otherwise you may have to stop at a Starbucks on the way, it will be a long day.

While you may want to be one of the first in line, don’t plan to get there the second the doors open. There will be a crowd, and you don’t want any part of that. Waiting even a half hour after doors open will give you easy access to the store after the initial wave of bargain hunters has passed through. You’ll still get the sale price, but you won’t arrive at the register disheveled and harried.

Another way to save yourself some energy on this sleepy day, is to bring your own lightweight reusable bags. These things are so handy to take with, then you can put all your items in one bag instead of carrying numerous sized and shaped bags from every store.

Photo courtesy of Mattastic! on Flickr
Photo courtesy of Mattastic! on Flickr

Or Stay Up Late

There will still be deals later in the day and into the night. Stores are not only open early on Black Friday, but they stay open late. If you plan on shopping on the infamous retail day, do it in the evening hours. You’re more likely to get a parking spot and you’ll have more elbow room in the stores. Most shoppers who made the 3 a.m. stampede are already in bed.

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Image by Keith Williamson on Creative Commons
Image by Keith Williamson on Creative Commons

Online Shopping

Shop for holiday gifts online. There’s no simpler way to avoid traffic and crowds than to shop from home. Online retailers have gotten savvy to the fact that people want to avoid the mall crowds but still want a great deal. They now offer great deals on the day after Thanksgiving and to grab your business many offer free shipping. So why stand in line if you don’t have to? And don't forget, Cyber Monday is right around the corner.

How to Shop Online (Fashion)

Image by ms.Tea on Flickr
Image by ms.Tea on Flickr

BYOL (Bring Your Own Lunch)

If you do hit the malls, bring your own lunch. The last thing you want to do is waste an hour in line for a table at the food court.

Bring your own sandwich and drink and you can leisurely refresh from a bench while watching everyone else stand in line. You can even toss in some of those Thanksgiving cookies that you saved from the night before.

An even better idea is to opt for something lightweight and something you can throw/recycle when you're done with lunch so you don't have to carry around a lunch pail or thermos for the rest of the day. But then again, if you are going from store to store via car, that's the perfect opportunity to bring your lunch pail and not have to worry about carrying it.

Photo courtesy of hattiesburgmemory on Flickr
Photo courtesy of hattiesburgmemory on Flickr

Map Out Your Path

Plan to hit only the anchor stores. By only going to the big stores at the ends of the mall, you’ll avoid having to fight your way through the crowds inside the mall. You’ll have more of a leisurely shopping experience and can often find everything you need in one store. Then, you can head right back out the same door you came in.


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Image by Yutaka Tsutano on Flickr
Image by Yutaka Tsutano on Flickr

Utilize Technology

Write down where you parked your car. Having to fight for a parking space is one thing. Losing your car in the lot later is worse. So write down where you parked your car. Notice the lot and row number. Write it on a piece of paper and put it in your pocket. You’ll thank yourself when you’re exhausted later.

Or, try an iPhone app like “Find my Car” that records your location via satellite at the tap of a button. When you’re ready to leave the mall, just push the button again and you’ll be led right to your car. Isn’t technology great?

How to Get a Great Deal

Image by sburke2478 on Creative Commons
Image by sburke2478 on Creative Commons

If All Else Fails, There's Every Other Day

It stands to reason that shoppers want great deals and that’s why they are willing to brave Black Friday perils. But just remember, retailers want your business the entire holiday season.

If you want to avoid the masses, wait until a weekday, and you’ll have the mall virtually to yourself. There are still plenty of ways to get a great deal.


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    • Laura du Toit profile image

      Laura du Toit 7 years ago from South Africa

      Great hub - very informative and well planned! Keep up the great work!

    • jkvkdailey4 profile image

      jkvkdailey4 7 years ago from Minnesota

      I love Black Friday!! I've even gotten my husband and kids involved - we make a list of the stores and items that we want, then divide and conquer. I can get all my holiday shopping done in 1 day and spend the month of December wrapping and decorating.