I should say that I have never camped out in front of a store or spent Thanksgiving day flexing my retail muscles. For me, Thanksgiving is a day to spend with my family. I’ve also never gone for any electronics, because I don’t feel like being injured or cursed at. Basically, I’m one of the more chill consumers, unwilling to elbow someone in the face for a waffle maker. Also, I don’t stampede through stores. That’s weird.
Mostly I go to get the toys my kids have asked for that would normally be too expensive (last year I got them all bicycles for $39 each).
Every year I also shake my head and proclaim how annoying it is that most of the Black Friday prices tend to stick around into December. Those aforementioned bicycles were $39 for weeks following Black Friday last year. I could have saved a lot of embarrassment buying them a week after Thanksgiving, instead of the day after; you try pushing a shopping cart with four bicycle boxes in it through feisty crowds at Walmart at 2 a.m.
One of the best things retailers have started doing is putting Black Friday deals online too. A few years ago I was standing in line at Toys R Us talking to a friend on the phone. As we chatted, she was purchasing all of the things she wanted from Toys R Us on the website, for uber-low Black Friday prices. She added my items to her order and I quickly left the line.
That’s the thing — shoppers can find a lot of Black Friday deals online, but be organized and methodical because certain things — gaming systems, small electronics, hard-to-find dolls — sell out in a flash.
If you want to head to stores, make sure to pick up a newspaper on Thanksgiving day. The dozens of included ads will help you decide which stores have the lowest advertised prices and where you’d like to shop.
I shop on Black Friday because it means I can spend the month leading up to Christmas enjoying my family, friends and the myriad events we have going on. Gifts are tucked away and I don’t have to worry about running around in a stress-filled panic. Plus, I don’t have to break the bank.
For those of you who want to nab some great deals, but aren’t at all interested in the crowds or watching the sun rise from the Target parking lot, check out Cyber Monday. On Dec. 2 many retailers — large and small alike — will offer online deals and free shipping.