The busiest shopping day of the year, and the official start to the holiday season, is almost upon us. Will you be one of the millions of people to hit the stores this Thanksgiving? If you're planning on staying up all night or waking up before dawn to battle the crowds for all those great deals and doorbusters, we've got you covered.
- Dress the part - The last thing you want to do is slip and fall on your butt when you are fighting your way towards the last Nintendo DS on the shelf. It will only lead to trampled body parts and utter embarrassment. Be wise and choose shopping attire to maximize comfort and speed. Tennis shoes and soft, movable clothes are your best bet; and be sure to layer because you will work up a sweat. Finally keep water and snacks in your car to power-up between destinations.
- Know before you go - Research the ads, compare prices, know when stores open and visit the store beforehand to plot your shopping victory. If there is a flat screen television you must have, call the retailer and ask how many will be available and where they will be located on the big day. Many doorbusters are only available in a very limited quantity, and knowing before you go could mean the difference between triumph and hanging your head in sorrow.
- Be prepared for crowds, seriously - Ever wondered what a stampede would be like in real life? Well, here's your chance to experience one firsthand. People line up hours, and in some cases, days in advance in front of their favorite store to nab the best deals. Before the doors open, get in your best starting position, hold your ground and forge ahead. It is truly a testament of will and survival of the fittest to grab one of those doorbusters. You may leave with a few bumps and bruises but that digital camera in your hands will quell the pain.
- Have a gameplan - Create a shopping list and stick to it. It's easy to get caught up in the money-saving mayhem and buy 20 $3 DVD's you'll never watch, because, well, they are only $3! The goal is to save money not waste it. Scour the ads and compile your list of must-haves in order of importance. Go to the store with your most desired items first and buy only those items.
- Have a wolfpack - Let's face it, you can only be in one place at a time, so gather a group of shopping carnivores and divvy up the lists. Packs of three to four shoppers are your best bet. Any more than that and you risk having to pick up too many items; you are a wolf, not an octopus. Packs can shop at one location or spread out to multiple stores to cover the most ground. Just remember, most wolves think they are the alpha and will satisfy their tastes first. You'd be wise to do the same.
Now that you've learned the basics, it's time to figure out where you'll be battling the ravenous deal seekers. We've compiled a list of local stores and their corresponding ads below:
- The Oaks Mall - For the first time ever, The Oaks will be hosting a large-scale Black Friday event. They open at midnight and will have food, DJ's, special gifts and more. Rocking and shopping–need we say more?
- Toys R' Us - If toys are on your brain, you may need to cut Thanksgiving short and head to the toy giant as their doors open at 9 p.m. Thursday night.
- Michaels - Feeling crafty? This is the stop for you, open from 4-10 p.m. on Thursday and again at 5 a.m. Friday.
- Staples - Have an office that needs supplying, head to Staples. They open at 6 a.m. Friday.
- Petsmart - It's where pets (and frugle people) go. Doors open at 7 a.m. on Friday.
- Costco - Didn't know they host Black Friday? Neither did we. They are open for normal business hours, beginning at 10 a.m. Friday morning.
- Sears - If you are looking for tools, appliances and electronics, be there at 4 a.m. sharp when their doors open.
- Target - Do you ever walk into Target to buy shampoo and somehow walk out with $145 less in your bank account? This place draws you in; must be their floorplan. Doors open at midnight.
- Best Buy - If you're looking for big, gadgety, electronic things, join the rest of hungry hoards at midnight.
Good luck and Godspeed.