Archive for November, 2013

Black Friday Tips and Shopping Etiquette

As sale shoppers prepare to shop till they drop on Thanksgiving & on Black Friday this year, overzealous drivers will make parking lots a zoo and sleep-deprived shoppers will pay less attention to the road. When it comes to cashing-in on the day’s deals, the motto is “If you snooze you lose” making these the biggest & craziest shopping days of the year. So from a self-proclaimed BFS expert to you; as you go out shopping this weekend remember these tips, especially if you’re new to Black Friday Shopping.

Communicate. Tell someone where you are going and how long you “PLAN” to be gone. Check in regularly & let them know if you change your schedule. Stay Alert. Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, pay attention to your surroundings. Be Vigilant. If you see something suspicious such as an unattended bag or package, report it to store personnel, mall security or your local police department. If you are a victim of crime, call 911 immediately. Take a Nap. If you plan on shopping overnight please eat early & take a nap after you finish your meal. You’re going to need as much energy as possible. I’m not a fan of them but look into an energy drink if you must, just don’t go crazy with them.

Surviving the Shopping Lines Outside

  • Expect long lines and be patient. Enter stores safely; there is no item worth rushing through a crowd and risking injury.
  • Dress warmly, but in layers so you don’t overheat in the store.
    • Temps forecasted for Thanksgiving Day are mid 30’s for high and low 20’s for Thursday night.
  • Make friends with your neighbors in line – they might know about some great deals! And sometimes you may even be able to help get items for each other.
    • You will most likely see them in other stores as well, making friends not enemies early my help you out later.
  • Unless you’re looking to score a big-ticket item like a laptop, there’s no need to be in the front of the line. Arriving an hour early or so should be plenty of time. But know there will be between 400 to 800 people in front of you in line!!!
    • Remember sometimes it’s not about how fast you get in but how fast you get out if you have more than one store planned!!
    • I suggest around 2-3 hours prior to store opening at the latest
  • Electronics stores like Best Buy tend to have the longest (and earliest) lines.
    • Last year they were camping on the Sunday prior and around the back of Best buy before they opened the doors.
  • Every year, at least one crazed rush of shoppers makes headlines for mobbing a door when it opens. Don’t be that headline; be safe and courteous to employees and other shoppers when entering the building.
    • Most stores have security on building entry and usually only open one door for initial entry. Target & Kohl’s are really good about this. 

Surviving the Shopping Lines Inside

  • If you take children, educate them by telling them what to do if you get separated.
    • The best option is to leave them home it gets crazy out there. But if you must, have them look for a security guard, police officer, or go to the customer service desk where people are trained to help. (Anyone can look like a store employee)
  • Make your decisions before the doors open.
    • It’s OK to grab something extra as long as it doesn’t slow you down getting to the register.
  • Get your items quickly so that you can get in line as soon as possible. For the first few minutes of a store’s opening, the registers are empty. After about 10 minutes in the store, the lines can get extremely long; they sometimes wrap around the entire store – particularly at Best Buy, Toys ‘R Us, and Wal-Mart. Whoever goes in, must come out!
    • I was once in and out of Toys ‘R Us in fewer than 3 minutes with everything I went for – Yes I was first in line. Another year it was 1 ½ hours – From the middle of the line.
  • Don’t hesitate to head to check out because you are choosing between items. Take them both with you and make your decision later – those few extra minutes could be the difference between a short and a long line.
    • For this reason don’t fret if you don’t get something on your list just make sure to keep a keen eye out for dropped or hidden sale items around the store. Yes people do this Gordman’s and Old Navy especially for some reason.
  • Wait patiently to check out. Do not hold places in line for other shoppers and try not to push the people in front of you.
    • You’re not going to check out any faster, I promise.
  • Let people pass through the line when they are still shopping.
    • Don’t block intersections
  • If you’re only after a few items that you can carry, skip the shopping cart.
    • They only slow you down and make getting through a crowd that much harder. Remember speed getting to the register is all that’s important once you’re in the store.
  • Head to the underutilized registers to check out.
    • Many times Jewelry, Pharmacy, Lawn & Garden, and even Service Desk registers will be open for check out.

How to Pay

  • Ladies, don’t leave your purse unattended in your cart, even for a few seconds.
    • Better yet don’t take a purse put your cards/cash in your pocket.
  • Gentlemen, carry your wallet inside a zipped coat or front trouser pocket
  • Don’t carry/flash large amounts of cash.
  • Only carry one or two credit cards and make sure you secure them after use.
    • Consider a onetime or multi-use disposable/prepaid credit card.
  • Keep a reference list of phone and account numbers for all your credit cards in a safe place at home.
    • If possible, carry keys, cash, and credit cards separate
  • At the ATM, watch for shoulder surfers who lean over to see a PIN number as its being entered.

Be Nice On Black Friday

  • Stick to your plan and do not allow your shopping to be derailed by grumpy shoppers.
  • Shouting matches and fights over the last item often break out in stores. Remember that you do not have to participate.
    • Just move on, you can get it someplace else.
  • Be polite. Let others around you in the aisles. Help someone who is looking for an item if you happen to know where it is.
    • Remember those friends you made earlier in line, this is where it pays off.
  • Be nice to employees. They’re up just as early as you are.
    • Two things to know here – #1: They may be the only thing between you and that last holiday “gotahave” item. And #2: If you have never worked retail on this day you have no right to get mad at them and if you have shame on you for getting angry with them.
  • Have Fun.
    • Because if you’re not having fun, you’re not doing this right.

Get What You Want Nicely

  • Go to a store you know. If you’re familiar with the layout, you’re more likely to find items quickly. If not, visit ahead – a little research can go a long way.
    • Most stores give maps now of where things are located because it may not be where you would think. They do this to spread out the crowd
  • As you go through the store, watch where you are going. You can walk quickly through the store without actually bumping into anyone.
    • Get out of the main aisles and head through the departments. Remember NO carts.      

On the Road and in the Parking Lot:

  • Use patience when looking for parking spaces
    • My suggestion is to take the first one you find no matter how far away it is from the door, you don’t want to waste precious time here.
  • When walking through parking lots, be aware of surroundings.
    • Be a mindful pedestrian. Don’t walk in the middle of traffic lanes or jaywalk. Refrain from texting while walking
  • Avoid parking next to vans and large trucks that block your view from general vision of others.
  • At night, avoid secluded areas and park directly under lights whenever possible.
  • Lock all doors and roll up all windows even when leaving the car for a short period of time.
    • If not, don’t expect your items to be there on your return. Some people shop in the parking lots.
  • Have your keys in hand when leaving a store.
  • When backing out of a parking spot, be aware of waiting cars, others who are backing out at the same time and motorists who speed through lanes.
    • An accident will really wreck your day. (Ok that was bad)
  • Before leaving your vehicle, make sure there isn’t anything of value in sight, including cell phones, GPS units and shopping bags full of holiday purchases.
    • Put your packages in the trunk before leaving one store and driving to the next.
  • At the end of the day bring gifts in the house with you instead of leaving them in the car.

And don’t forget to check online for items available on-line, some stores have on-line only sales that you can check out if you get stuck in a line checking out.

Don’t forget to check out OUR Black Friday, Small Business Saturday & Cyber Monday sales, You’ll be glad you did. 🙂 Go to www.debiwolfepix.com and look for the link on the front page.

See ya,

Lee & Debi Wolfe


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