It’s only a few days away, and already battle plans are being drawn up. Shoppers all over Riverside County will descend on their favorite stores with a take no prisoners attitude, and not one of them will have their reusable shopping bags with them! Is the Mayan prophecy true; are these truly the end of days?
Well ok, no, they’re not. However, mark my words; the no shopping bags thing probably will come to pass.
Every time this year all our good intentions about being green go out the window. The panic of getting to that coveted item first, while also being sleep deprived, can defeat even the best of our intentions. However, just like old Scrooge learned, it doesn’t have to be that way; you can change your fate after all. To help you with that, here are some Black Friday survival tips to not only help you stay green, but sane as well.
Tip #1 – Breathe
That’s right, take a moment and breathe. Absolutely nothing that will be on sale come Friday (or Thursday as the case may be this year) is worth the absolute chaos that will occur later this week. What leads people to behave in a crazed manner on Black Friday is basically the herd mentality. The herd is collectively panicking, and if you’re in the herd, then so are you. Take a step back, and think about what you’re about to do (but the key here is to do this before you even get into that ridiculously long line in the first place). Would you really stand in a 6 hour line to buy a DVD player if it was Jan 23rd? If the answer is no, then why are you doing it now? Remember, only the loss leader items are awesome deals, while everything else is only a few dollars lower (if that) than the regular sales price. Take a moment to reflect on that, and then see if you’re still willing to brave the cold, in the middle of the night.
Tip #2 – Plan ahead
Sure, there may in fact be that one thing that you honestly do need. Maybe your TV just died, and this is one of the best times of the year to get a great deal on a new one. If that’s the case, then it’s best to go after it with a plan. Just looking at the ads is a start, but let’s face it, if you’re serious about shopping Black Friday, then you need to go beyond the norm. First, in the coming days, take a few minutes to check out the sites that are posting early releases of the Black Friday ads. With many stores choosing to open on Thanksgiving this year, you’re not going to have a whole lot of time for comparison shopping. The stores know that, and that’s what they’re counting on. Don’t fall for it, stay a step ahead by checking out sites like blackfriday.com . There you’ll find side by side store flyers, where you can organize your thoughts, and choose what will truly be the best deal for you.
Tip #3 – Make a list
This one is so old that you might be thinking it shouldn’t even be here, but wait, you’ve missed a detail. I mean make a list before you look at those ads. Having an idea of what you really need, or what to get family and friends, before you start to mentally shop your way through the ads, will help to squash those emotional buys. Don’t kid yourself, everything looks great in the pictures, and the glow doesn’t fade until you get it home, and realize just how much you’ve spent. Know what to look for ahead of time, and focus on that instead. Trust me, it will help.
Tip #4 – Do a little research
Electronic gadgets can be pricey. So, when you see something you want for a cheap price, it may seem like a great buy. BUT WAIT! Is it really as great as it seems? What are the technical specs for that thing? For example: how much memory does that computer have, is it the oldest model, how quickly will it become outdated? If you get a “great deal” today, only to have to buy a new one a year from now, will it really have been worth it? Most ads don’t give you a lot of details, but many do give you a model number. Look it up on the manufacture’s website, and get the low down before you put any cash down.
Tips #5 – Take stock of what you already have
Don’t forget that most tech now comes with a waste disposal fee attached. This was started as a way to help offset all that tech waste that was going into landfills, and help to get it disposed of correctly. Do you really want to add to the tons of consumer waste out there, if you don’t have to? If you have an IPod already, why are you planning to get another one? Unless your old one is broken, you don’t really have a great excuse. If your memory is full, then delete something, or shuffle some things around, and make room. Once you think about it, it really does seem silly to hand over $200-$300 of your hard earned income, just because you downloaded too many apps or games.
Tip #6 – See if you can buy it online
Some retailers are starting to realize that crowds are great, but mobs are dangerous. To help alleviate some of the strain many retailers, such as Target, are offering the same deals on their websites. Take a look, and see if you can’t skip the store entirely. Why waste the gas when you can shop at home, comfy in your slippers and jammies?
Tips #7 – Don’t forget your reusable shopping bags!
If you do wind up having to head out to the store after all, then don’t forget your shopping bags! Especially for those stores where you’re not getting something big, like a TV or bike, this can help in more ways than one. First it can help you stick to your list, since if it doesn’t fit in the bags you brought, then you’ll be less likely to buy it. Second, it will help you to be more mobile. Moving around without a cart means that you can dart more nimbly through the crowd. Third, it’s a lot harder for an unscrupulous shopper to sneak their hand into the bag you’re carrying, than it is for them to grab something from your open cart when you’re looking the other way.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and don’t forget to breathe.