Black Friday is an American tradition. While some may debate the value of a day where retailers slash prices and watch consumers fight over cheap crap like starving peasants fighting over a loaf of bread, the day of deals has been around for decades and will continue as long as there is a demand for clearance-priced goods.
While Black Friday has been around for decades, in recent years, the combination of a poor economy and gamesmanship amongst retailers to offer better and better “doorbuster” deals has lead to an escalation of demand. People wait outside, all night, in the freezing cold, to be the first inside. Mobs stampede workers to death and cause miscarriages. One shopper even pepper-sprayed fellow deal-seekers last year.
Black Friday, my friends, has become a dangerous riot. If you decide to brave the crowds, here are a few tips to decrease your chance of becoming a victim of the frenzied mobs.
Stay alert. This is easier said than done when you’ve pulled an all-nighter and your senses are as numb as your toes. Nonetheless, with presumably thousands of people pushing and shoving their way to save $15 bucks on bath towels, you’re going to need all of your faculties to avoid being trampled.
Have Your Phone Charged. Nearly everyone carries a cell phone. However, if you’ve just spent 12 hours in line, you might have been tempted to play Angry Birds or watch reruns of Sex and the City on HBO Go (can’t blame you for that one). You’re going to need some battery life in case the need to call 911 arises or you get separated from family members.
Roll Deep. An angry housewife might try to steal that Crock Pot out of your hands. Do you think she’s going to try it when you have three friends standing next to you? Plus, a group can divide and conquer by sending one person to each desired deal. Often, stores will put each in-demand product in a different corner of the store for crowd control purposes. This means one person can only nab one or two deals.
Stay Home. There are better places to score a deal than your local big box stores. Try shopping on the Internet. Many online retailers will offer better deals than local competitors. Because stores like Best Buy and Target release their ads ahead of time, and online retailers can adjust their prices instantly, you stand a better chance of getting bargains online than you do when fighting the crowds. Plus, there’s no frostbite.
In our younger days, Black Friday was a fun scavenger hunt. Now, it’s more of a death match. In addition, retailers are pushing start times to Thanksgiving night, which ruins the holiday. (“Eat fast kids! Daddy needs a new HDTV!”) If you must venture out, keep the above tips in mind. Otherwise, online shopping is looking better and better.
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Safety Tips for Black Friday Shopping