Essential Tips for Surviving Black Friday

A favorite Thanksgiving tradition: falling asleep early, full of turkey, and rising before the sun to hit the shops. November 24th, 2017 is Black Friday. Here's some advice and tips from Business Tech for how to get the most out of Black Friday, and how to make sure you’re covered for any bumpy surprises the day may bring.

  • Plan in advance: Make a Wish List!

While many of the specials and discounts have yet to be announced, there’s nothing stopping you from creating a wishlist of items you desire. That way, you can set boundaries and only shop for the products you really want (and avoid overspending). List in hand, you can enter the store, grab what you need, and check out quickly, no time wasted wandering aimlessly through aisles of temptation.

  • Set a budget

Sometimes we're not sure exactly what we're looking for. But we always know it when we see it. If you’re wish list is open-ended, decide how much you are willing to spend ahead of time. Hard as it may be, avoid buying for the sake of buying. While some specials and deals may look too good to pass up, behave responsibly. Buying something you don’t need or didn’t plan for means you’re not making a saving at all. Remember: a lengthy period of festivity still lies ahead.

  • Check prices beforehand

If you know what you need, do your research. The days leading up to Black Friday are the best time to scan those products and take note of the current prices. Some sneaky retailers may try to make their specials seem bigger than they are by inflating the price ahead of the Black Friday sale, or by basing their calculations off a "recommended retail price" rather than the current price.

Outsmart them by investigating several different stores that carry your desired items, to gauge a sense of what the price point is, and how super any potential sale really is.

  • Iron out the details

Besides price, there are other factors to consider when purchasing a new toy: availability, delivery costs, physical space in your home or car, and other various terms and conditions. The cheapest deal isn’t always necessarily the best deal. See what the return policies are, in the event that your purchase is broken or needs to be refunded. Read the terms and conditions – many stores do not allow for refunds or returns on Black Friday purchases.

  • Buyer Beware: Watch out for scams

Be wary of scam sites trying to get hold of your credit card details. Make sure web pages are secure (https://) when paying online, and that reputable payment services are being used. While some sales and discounts are as good as they appear, don't forget the old adage: “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is." Always double - or triple - check before sealing the deal.

  • Hunt for bargains

If you’re on the prowl for deals and sales, keep an eye on the social pages of the stores you intend to visit – even if it’s just for the weeks leading up to the day.

Sales from the biggest retailers will be well advertised, but even niche shops and small outlets may have a great deal or two, as well. Black Friday isn’t only for consumer goods and retail—many businesses also offer their services at discounted rates on the day.

  • Make a gameplan

Getting in early will ensure the best chance of success. If you plan on shopping online and in stores, start with online—any limited stock deals online will be the first to go, often within seconds.

Some online sales launch at midnight, so if you can sacrifice a little shut eye, you can get a head start. First in line guarantees success.

When creating your itinerary, don't forget to factor in some extra time for long checkout lines, if you’re venturing out to physical stores.

  • Safety first

Stampedes and shopping cart scuffles are hallmarks of Black Friday. It seems that every year a news story breaks about overly aggressive shoppers—years ago, a fist-fight broke out over the last Furby in stock. While the lure of getting a great deal may transform an otherwise peaceful shopper into a feral one, no discount is worth putting yourself or others in harm’s way.

One last note: Keep an eye on your belongings, as shady characters may try to take advantage of the crowds and attempt to get a Black Friday sticky-finger discount on your phone, wallet, or other treasures in your handbag.