Black Friday tips to shop like a pro

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Get ready for Black Friday (Photo by Justin Marty via Flickr).

Get ready for Black Friday (Photo by Justin Marty via Flickr).

The holiday season is among us and it’s time to roll up your sleeves, get dirty, and put your best foot forward;  just to get in the store before Grandma, who has been beaming dirty looks your way since 4 a.m.

Yes, Thanksgiving is about bringing family together to rejoice and give thanks for the many blessings in one’s life, but the next day is when the real fun begins.  I would like to think Black Friday has become the official kickoff day to the end of the year. It is the time when the Christmas shopping season has truly begun and the deals are glorious.

It would be nice to think that the whole world gets to experience this deal grapping, early morning, flying frenzy day. However, either the US is genius to create a day filled of worthy deals, or the rest of the world isn’t dumb enough to have hoards of people trample each other for the price slashed savings.

Yes, only the US “celebrates” Black Friday. There has never been a confirmed official start day to Black Friday, but according to most sources it began in the last 1960’s on the east coast. As the word spread across the land of great deals and one-of-a-kind one-day-only savings, the tradition of Black Friday also spread across the nation. It is the day retailers consider the books going from red to black, or loss to profit.

If you are one of the brave and willing (like me) ready to make a mark on this day, heed this advice before preparing to shop during the wee morning hours:

Get the details

Don’t go out all willy-nilly without knowing where the bargains are to be snatched up. Walking into the lion’s den without a sword is just silly. Wednesday is the best bet for greatest knowledge on great savings.  Pick up the San Diego Union Tribune some time Wednesday and use it to know where all of the best deals are waiting. Make sure to circle or highlight anything relevant to your shopping needs and bring it along to reference and inquire about in case it can’t be located in the store.

Have a plan of action

Jumping from store to store can waste a lot of time and might encourage purchases that are not really necessary.  After scouring the Wednesday paper for the greatest finds, actually write down in order which stores to hit first to last.  Some stores give away free gifts to their first 500 customers while other stores may keep the savings going all day. By making a plan and knowing what to look for at what store can save tons of time and the embarrassment of knocking blondie over when she grab for the same pair of leggings as you (Just kidding, don’t do that. Stay civil).

Gifts can get heavy

In the whirlwind and chaos of Black Friday be ready for the amount of bags you’ll be carrying around. Is all of the Christmas shopping completed on Black Friday? Get ready to work those arm muscles. For those refusing to end the day until all of their shopping is completed, take note of how easy or hard it will be to carry stuff around. A good idea is to save the heavy objects for last. If heavy purchases have to be bought early in order to grab the savings, make sure it can be stored in the trunk of the car, or just take it home then head back.

On that note, remember safety

Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year.  It doesn’t take a mastermind to figure out that a lot of cars will be holding purchases while the owner is inside another store picking out more gifts. Remember to store gifts in the trunk or out of sight; out of sight, out of mind. If a criminal notices a new pair of Nike sneakers sitting in the backseat of a car, he or she might be tempted to take the less than 30 seconds needed to break the window, grab the find, and run. So don’t give them any ideas and have the day ending in a police report.  If shopping excursions continue into the night, make sure to park under well lit areas and notice the surrounds leaving and returning to the car.

Oh yeah, and trampling people is bad. Take the time to be kind, to lend a helping hand, then go on with the find.

Black Friday is known for the deals of the year. Keep in mind, everyone is going to want a piece of the savings. Try to make the day a fun filled event with friends to avoid the annoyances of long lines and traffic, traffic, traffic. Get the deals you searched for and make this holiday season a wonderful time.

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