Top 5 Black Friday Survival Tips

BY: JULIE CHUNG

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People start counting down the days to this annual event the moment Halloween is over. They stand in line hours before stores open, itching to break through the doors to seize the items they’ve wanted all year. Men gravitate towards electronics departments while ladies in clothing stores bare their claws to snatch the first pick. Black Friday is the one-day event on Nov. 29 that can either be an exciting and busy night or the most overwhelming night of the year. As those who have shopped on this day before may know, there are ways to help you get the most out of your experience. Here are five, quick tips to help you get through your Black Friday shopping smoothly and stress-free.

1. Stick to one store

Before you head out to shop, figure out what you want to buy and where you want to shop. If you go to multiple stores chances are you will miss the best promotions and sales. Trying to fit in as many stores into this one night may prevent you from thoroughly digging through the great deals.

With all the inevitable chaos awaiting Black Friday, it can be very frustrating among the crowd of desperate shoppers to find items you want, without a set plan. Sticking to one store will help you focus on your planned purchases and also prevent you from impulsive shopping.

2. Read the fine print!

This is something many people neglect, especially in the midst of all the discount madness. When it comes to in-store sale items, coupons, promotions and advertisements, many retail stores may include deal-breaking information in the fine print, so it’s important to know what you’re buying even if it comes at a discount.

“When Xbox 360 came out, a lot of game stores opened claiming that they had enough consoles to sell on Black Friday,” said Daniel Kim, a sophomore accounting major at Orange Coast College. “But if you read the fine print on their ad, all stores across the U.S. only carried three Xbox’s each. So there were huge crowds fighting over the three in stock and a lot of people got hurt or robbed that night.”

3. Big-ticket items

Big-ticket items, such as computers and televisions, are popular sellers every year. If you plan to stop by a Best Buy or Fry’s this Black Friday, make sure you get there extra early because lines will be longest in department stores that carry electronics.

Electronics have great annual sales that no one wants to miss out on. Justin Yoon, a sophomore engineering major at UCI, recalls his first Black Friday at Best Buy being a disaster because he arrived too late. “When it comes to electronics, whatever time you think is early…you need to double that,” Yoon said. “So if you plan to get up at 6 a.m. you need to get up at 4 a.m.”

4. Online shopping as an alternative

Majority of people might agree that if there were a way to shop great deals and avoid huge crowds at the same time, they’d take the alternative. One way to do this is online shopping for Black Friday. Sure, it may take away from the fun of searching through piles of clothes, pushing and shoving strangers to get the first pick, and sweating in line for the fitting rooms…or maybe not.

Many online stores will hold sales earlier than in-store sales due to shipping and pre-orders, and many will also offer free shipping costs during Black Friday week. If you know exactly what you want and can find it for sale online, save yourself the stress and exhaustion of going out to shop on Black Friday night.

5. Be safe

Black Friday has a reputation for two things: great sales and elevated crime rates. Always be aware of your surroundings, especially when loading merchandise into your car. If you are making multiple trips to your car make sure nothing is left in plain view; a better option would be to buy your things and head straight home.

“Something about [Black Friday] night tends to make some people go crazy so you have to look out for yourself,” Wal-Mart security guard Jordan Lewis said. “I’ve seen people bring those thick, non see-through bags to hide their purchases in and that seemed to work pretty safe.”

Lewis added that he’s witnessed more theft over the years and advises people to be extra cautious even in safe neighborhoods.