After a day full of turkey, pumpkin pie and awkward family interactions, many people like to ditch the dinner table to go out Black Friday shopping and enjoy the excitement of midnight shopping. Yet, some of us leave the table saddened because we work retail and aren’t ready for the amount of crazy coming our way. No matter which way you’re going, Pipe Dream has come up with some shopping tips to help this be a better season for us all.
1) Make an informed game plan, and be prepared
If you are familiar with the layout of a store, make your shopping list in order of where items are located. It will save a lot of time, and lessen the chance of you forgetting something. If you plan on visiting a few stores, schedule yourself, and if you spend two hours in H&M and three hours in Macy’s, try to stick to it. Don’t forget to factor time for waiting online, as you could be waiting for over an hour in some places. If you’re clothes shopping, make sure you know the sizes you want before you get there. If it’s for yourself, figure out what size you are prior to your arrival in the store. Especially for girls, sizes vary from place to place. Although you might be a 5 in Hollister bottoms, you could be a 12 in H&M. Fitting room lines are going to be ridiculously long and although it feels good, complaining to employees won’t help. Please don’t ask an employee to look at you and guess your size. It’s very tricky for some and is uncomfortable if they guess too high.
2) Look for and thoroughly read signs.
A lot of time can be wasted on Black Friday if you’re lost in the store. However, shopping isn’t nearly as confusing as people think it is. For the biggest shopping holiday of the year, many stores list their sales ahead of time, so it’s easy to know which store has the item you’re looking for at the best price. Channel your inner college student and do some research beforehand for the best possible experience. Once you get to the store, don’t forget to pay close attention to the merchandising signs. In the excitement of it all, people tend to gloss over these signs, but being aware of them will save you and the workers time in the end. And remember, “50 percent off sweaters” placed over a closet that also has a few t-shits does not make the t-shirts 50% off by association, so be sure to take a minute in all of the madness.
3) Pack snacks- Lots of snacks. And dress well.
Once that dinner makes its course, you will be hungry and you won’t be able to reach in the fridge for leftovers. If you decide to try a drive thru or a food court restaurant, every one of them will be packed, or you might be inclined to ditch those hunger pains for a pair of new shoes. Food is fuel, and keeping light healthy snacks like fruit or cereal bars on you will give you the energy you need to keep going, without feeling sluggish. If you plan on staying out until the early hours of the morning, consider packing a sandwich, or some bigger meal. Additionally, if you know you are going to be shopping in an outdoor mall, bring jackets, blankets, scarves, handwarmers and whatever else will keep you warm. A lot of these places might have you waiting in hour long lines outside, so be prepared.
4) Try to be nice.
After giving thanks all day, some people seem to leave their manners at the dinner table. Black Friday is stressful for all parties involved, so try your best to be understanding of employees. You know those memes that are like “Behind every cold girl is a guy that broke her heart?” Well behind every irritable sales associate is a rude, sweaty person that doesn’t understand the meaning of “online exclusive.” Step above the masses and don’t be one of those people. Be that one customer that makes an employee’s night by smiling and saying “thank you.” It means a lot and will help make their shift feel a bit less like hell, and will keep you surrounded by positive energy to get you through the night.