Shopping Smart on Black Friday


In only three days, it will be Thanksgiving. It will also be Black Friday. The ever-polarizing shopping holiday has seen its start time creeping back year by year until it now starts in the early evening on Thanksgiving, much to the annoyance of retail employees and families everywhere. Although it’s easy to criticize Black Friday for ruining Thanksgiving and encouraging people to behave like animals, there is still fun to be had if you approach it the right way. Here are several ways to make the most of Black Friday—all without ruining your Thanksgiving dinner.

Stay Home and Shop Online

According to Consumer Reports, nearly 56 percent of Americans stayed home last year instead of braving the Black Friday crowds. You may wish to join them, since you are likely to find just as many good deals by shopping online from the comfort of your home. After all, it’s rather sad to interrupt your Thanksgiving festivities and tell your friends and family goodbye so you can go camp out in front of Best Buy in the freezing cold. The selection on online deals gets better every year, and many retailers feature the same deals online as they do in stores.

This comes with one caveat though—online deals can and will sell out quickly. Last Black Friday on Amazon, certain deals literally sold out in seconds. Much like you have to camp or wait in advance to get the best deals at physical stores, a little preparation in advance is necessary if you’re hoping to snag some of the best deals online. Some online stores offer one-click buying options, and you should always have made an account with your billing and shipping information before the deals start. Always know when and where the deals on your desired items will go live; this process can be simplified by checking deal-hunting websites like SlickDeals that compile such information.

Shop Smart in Physical Stores

Illustration by Felicia Chang

Illustration by Felicia Chang

For all the wonders of online shopping, it’s sometimes unavoidable to avoid shopping in person, especially when it comes to things like clothes. It doesn’t have to be a bad experience though if you avoid the initial rush to pillage the stores. Stock oftentimes isn’t an issue, particularly when it comes to items like video-game console bundles that are offered at multiple retailers.

If you must have the hottest retailer-specific doorbusters, be realistic with your expectations. You’re probably not going to get that $200 50’ TV that Best Buy is hyping up this year unless you don’t have a job and enjoy camping out in front of electronics stores.

If you find something that looks like a great deal, always check the price online. It’s easy to get caught up in impulse purchases, especially if you’re already high off getting a great price on something else. Amazon and the Amazon Marketplace (which lists items for sale from a variety of online retailers and individuals) are excellent ways to gauge the market price of an item, and this is especially convenient since they have a mobile app that you can check wherever you are.

Black Friday isn’t the Last Sale

Finally, don’t take Black Friday too seriously. Just because something you want isn’t going on sale on Black Friday doesn’t mean you have to give up hope yet. New deals are often rolled out throughout Thanksgiving week as part of pre-Black Friday sales and stay strong through the weekend. A study by Adobe Systems on last year’s Black Friday found that discounts remained high throughout the entire week of Thanksgiving and actually peaked on Monday. Black Friday has become more of a month-long event than a single day.

Besides, even if Black Friday lets you down, there’s always Cyber Monday to look forward to.

Photo by Allison Pham

Photo by Allison Pham

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