How I Survived Black Friday … and Lived to Tell About It

Black Friday.

Some of us love it, while others love to hate it. Without fail, this chaotic day creeps up on me even after I remind myself that I will be fully prepared. I will be one with the “early-morning, all afternoon and into the evening” madness.  After all, I am a planner – it’s engrained in my DNA to be prepared.

This year…well…this year was different. I’m eight months pregnant.

Nonetheless, just like the work that I do with my clients, I crafted a flawless set of tactics to help me navigate the day. Without these plans – some executed before hand, most completed day of – I would not be here to help guide you for Black Friday 2012.

How did I go about it? Glad you asked.

  1. Research. A savvy shopper should always start on the web when formulating the Black Friday plan. How else will you know who’s open the earliest, who has what you need and who is closest to the nearest coffee shop?
  2. Prioritize. You’ve got your hit list of places that are a “must stop” – now what order do you stop at them in? Location, line projection, location. The info you uncover in item #1 will definitely help with this.
  3. List + Budget = BFF. Money is tight, and the hours in our days are short. Do yourself a favor and make a list of what you’re hunting for – which includes a strict budget – before you’re waiting in line. This makes the beeline to a specific area within a store much more manageable. Stick to these like duct tape.
  4. Plan B. Even the best laid plans can unravel – make sure you have a “Plan B” at your disposal. You never know when you’re going to run into someone who takes this day just a little too seriously and tries to “gain a competitive advantage” by using pepper spray, or a line that is the length of one block.
  5. Gear Check. Be prepared, not scared. Always come equipped with appropriate clothing (seriously, leave the stilettos at home) and remember that hydration is important. Nothing like being stuck outside in a line without a hat, gloves or hot chocolate to keep your innards warm.
  6. Pack the Patience. You’re not the only one who’s out to score a great deal. If your nerves are frayed from the feast the evening before, or you’re not a fan of loud (and often obnoxious) crowds – you’re better off staying home.
  7. Waving the White Flag. I can shop with the best of them, but even I know when to call it quits on a shopping mission. Sometimes, that $2.99 waffle maker isn’t worth the lines or the fisticuffs that are awaiting you. If you’re a little light on item #6, it might be a good idea to whip out your tablet or smartphone from your warm car and purchase that kitchen gadget online.

There you have it, my strategic plan for successfully coming out on top, with sanity in check for shopping on Black Friday. Now that you’ve read my plan, what’s yours? Anything I should consider for next year?