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Black Friday Essentials: Must Have Gear for Doing it Right!
Black Friday Essentials: My "Must Have" Gear for Black Friday Christmas Shopping
Do you roll out of bed first thing in the wee hours on Black Friday, searching for your glasses, hurriedly putting on your sweats and hustling out the door, ready to join the masses in finding the hottest deals to fill your children's wishlist requests? If you've faced the crowds, you know that common sense is the most important piece of protective gear you can have, as no deal is worth being trampled for. Nevertheless, many folks thrive on the crowds and activity. Featured here are my recommendations for safety strategies, and relevant products that will help you to stay safe while you shop!
Leave Your Little Peeps at Home
The most important thing you can do on Black Friday is to have someone watch the little ones...in a massive crowd, they are just as vulnerable as the turkey chicks pictured above, and will do better to have a babysitter, whether it's your spouse, a grandparent, or a trusted teenager whom you hire to babysit.
Kids, or no kids, that is the question!
I remember going out on Black Fridays for kid-centered activities, as a child, in spite of chaotic crowds. This is probably my number one reason for leaving them home on any busy shopping day.
Do your kids accompany you on Black Friday?
Have a Plan
Whether you've pored over Black Friday boards for months, or whether you just saw the ads on Thanksgiving Day, develop a plan for your shopping before you leave the house. If you function well with an electronic list, then put it together on your smartphone, but if you need written confirmation of your plans, then a small notebook is helpful. Keep a pen handy for crossing things off as you go. Organize your list of stops, based on times of openings, and priorities. If there is a must have doorbuster, you will want to be early, and realize that you still may miss out if there are only a few of the hottest items per store. Prioritize!
Black Friday Essentials: Communications and Organization - The right smartphone can make a big difference!
I love my iPhone, and it's a 365 day organizer and tool. It keeps me connected with babysitters, it makes my plans more flexible, and it's a great way to take notes, check sales and availability, compare prices, verify color preferences, and more, when I'm out shopping.
Black Friday Essentials: A good notepad for making your list, and checking it twice!
I need a written chart, with my gift ideas written down, so that I can have a visual idea of what is needed, what I have, and what changes I need to make in the plan. One page isn't enough. I start planning well in advance of the season, and having a journal or notebook dedicated to my holiday agenda is helpful in keeping me on track. I pick a notebook or journal that is easy to identify, and easy to carry.
Black Friday Essentials: Reliable Writing Implements - The Fisher Space Pen
As you peruse the stores on Black Friday, you'll want to easily be able to jot down information in your notebook...take a reliable pen with you.
My husband received his first Fisher Space Pen as a groomsman's gift, 11 years ago, and it's one of the best gifts he ever received. The compact bullet pen carries well in a pocket, and writes in awkward positions. Refill cartridges are easily available, and last him approximately 6 months. If you tend to carry too many pens in your purse, knowing that at least one of them will work at a moment of need, then think about replacing your stockpile with a Fisher Space Pen, and saving yourself the headache of going through every pen in your purse when you need one.
Fisher Space Pens are also outstanding gift choices for both men and women, perfect as stocking fillers, or as Secret Pal gifts. There are a variety of colors and motifs, along with the simple, silver bullet pen.
Black Friday Essentials: Warm Clothing Layers
If you expect to wait outside for a while at a popular store, in order to score a doorbuster, then you will more than likely face the chilly November night air, and you will want to be dressed appropriately. Layers are very helpful, especially if you will later be spending most of your time indoors. You can shed your coat, and unneeded layers, shopping comfortably throughout the day. Gloves and hat can stow in your handbag or shopping tote.
November in Southern Nevada often sees chilly North winds during the Black Friday shopping day, and yet indoor temps rival the desert summer thermometer readings. Hence, it's necessary to adjust.
Black Friday Essentials: Caffeine!
The wee hours insinuate little sleep, and thus, a good travel mug is essential. The Brugo Travel Coffee Mug, featured here, is temperature controlled, with an insulated chamber to keep coffee hot, with only a sip at a time being cooled to drinking temperature.
Pick this lovely evergreen colored Brugo mug, and sport the colors of the season while you sip the flavors!
What's in Your Mug?
As you venture out the door, into the icy November air, which hot beverage fills your travel mug?
Black Friday Essentials: Stone Mountain Bucket Purse
A good purse is essential for the woman who is serious about her Black Friday outing. Not only do you need lots of space for your lists, wallet, gift cards, and related tools, but you need a safe place to stow smaller purchases. Hat and gloves will be able to stow safely as well. Make sure you tidy up your bucket purse before you head out the door. Crossbody style is an outstanding selection in a bucket bag, for safety and comfort's sake. I prefer carrying my purse crossbody style, so that the bag is in front, and not so easy to snatch. Also, this keeps the bag in view, whereas a side carry handbag is a little more vulnerable. This is the season for caution, when it comes to personal safety!
Black Friday Essentials: Protect Your Glasses!
You may not be headed to a stampede at a department store, but if you are eyeing a hot doorbuster that is limited in quantities, don't be surprised at unruly groups of shoving, pushing shoppers.
When I was young, Black Friday was probably laden with great sales and deals, but my family always focused on the arrival of Santa, at varied locations. There were a couple of particularly fun arrival events in those days, with several different stores staggering their event times through the day. This meant that my Mom, Aunt, siblings, and cousins, could drive to the next store and see Santa arrive again...and again...and again. Why the fascination? Prizes!
Wonder World would have him arrive via fire engine, and throw ping pong balls into the crowd. If you were able to catch a numbered ping pong ball, you would be able to exchange it for a prize. I remember lots of crowds, lots of ping pong balls, but only one prize...a Fred Flintstone transistor radio. That funny radio cost my Mom her glasses, as they fell from her face in the mele�and were broken. If you wear glasses, a good carrying case, tucked into your crossbody bucket bag, might be wise for any restless crowd scenes!
Our other favorite Santa arrival event was less contentious, but lots of fun. Vegas Village hosted a Christmas parade in its parking lot, with entrants creating small floats with their big wheels, bikes, wagons, or other creative moveables. Our family would spend Thanksgiving Day preparing our entries, and make the rounds to the various Vegas Village parades the following day. One year, we won a grand prize, and had a wonderful time spending our gift certificate in the toy department of the now defunct store. Following the parade, Santa would be flown in by helicopter, and be driven around the parade route, tossing candy to the bystanders. Much less contentious, and safer than the pushing and shoving at Wonder World!
Black Friday Essentials: Avoiding the Crowds - Shopping from home!
If you don't want to brave the crowds, but do want to score the great deals, many stores offer their Black Friday sales online, and though you may not find some of the doorbusters there, you may also be pleasantly surprised at special online-only sales.
My last Black Friday outing in the wee hours was actually in the mid 1990's. I stood in a LONG Toys R Us line, which extended to the middle of the parking lot. When the doors opened, there was a bit of shoving, though no trampling stampedes. There was little freedom to move to the part of the store I needed to explore, as the line was so tightly packed that there was little wiggle room. I found one item that I wanted...the $5 Etch a Sketch, of which I bought 2-3. Beyond that, I didn't find my desired doorbusters, nor anything else that I needed, and spent a long time in line to check out, as well. It wasn't worth the trouble, and I haven't wanted to venture out like that again.
I enjoy online shopping for Black Friday, and a netbook is high on my personal wishlist, so that I have an ultra portable computer for my late night work, whether it be Black Friday shopping, writing, or interacting on Squidoo! My laptop is just a little bulky, and I'm so ready for the size of a netbook!
HP is my favorite computer producer, as every computer I've had has been an HP, and we have always been pleased with the performance and quality. It only stands to reason that an HP netbook will be just right for me, and while tablets are tempting, I'm more comfortable with the laptop style, in a smaller size, for sturdiness and familiarity.
HP netbooks are available in colors, and at times, with limited edition special designs. Regardless, a good netbook can provide you with an outstanding means of scoring great deals, without braving the elements of a cold November morn!
Black Friday Trends
It's interesting to see the focus of parents during a Black Firday outing. I remember when portable DVD players were the ideal holiday gift. There were some serious incidents in the news related to these devices, and getting that stellar deal at a low price was the goal of lots of parents. Now, with tablet computers for kids being priority gifts, there are many alternatives and interests. Some everyday pricing makes it reasonable to think about pre-Black Friday purchases in order to avoid the craze. A glut of big screen televisions makes it likely that there will be some movement of older versions. My normal philosophy is that the current hot trend will usually fade and that it's worthwhile to be patient.