Two women shopping.

How to Handle Black Friday Shopping

Black Friday Shopping Tips

When Black Friday shopping first started in the early 2000s, it was thought of as the start of the Christmas shopping season. Most of the major retailers began opening early in the morning, licking their lips, looking at all the shoppers lined up outside just waiting for them to open their doors. Black Friday shoppers can get a little crazy, so we have some Black Friday shopping tips for older adults.

Last year, over billions were spent over the Black Friday weekend. That is a lot of money for four days, yet this number was 11% lower than the previous year. Is this a trend or a one-time anomaly?

Advertising is Everything

Ad agencies for retailers are a crafty bunch. They figured there are millions of shoppers who are going to be glued to the television watching football, so why not appeal to them? They knew they could woo shoppers to their stores when they loaded four color glossy inserts into the papers and television ads with early bird sale specials.

Today, advertising for the Christmas season no longer waits until Thanksgiving is over, it is in full gear before the Halloween candy has been devoured or given away.

For retailers, the holiday season has become “show me the money.” Who can blame them? Their bottom lines have been pretty glum over the past several years, with consumers holding on to every available penny. There is holiday music that now runs year-round on some of the satellite stations.

Pack Mentality

Sometimes it feels like you have to have a PhD in Black Friday shopping. One friend’s husband told me he had to eat his dinner in under 25 minutes so the plates could be cleaned and his wife could be ready to head out the door. So much for a happy family Thanksgiving!

These people started as a merry band of shoppers when Black Friday first came on the scene. They would leave their houses with lists in one hand, empty shopping bags in the other, and a schedule of what stores they want to hit and when.

They would have their Christmas shopping done before I have even made my list. And they certainly love showing off and talking about the bargains they scored! Personally, I think its pack mentality.

Pair limited quantities of items with limited prices and you have the perfect storm of things affecting your psychology. The pack mentality paired with the excitement of a limited-time bargain can lead to a thrill similar to gambling for some.

Is It Worth It?

I have already seen some of the deals the big box stores are offering on Black Friday and yes, they are super tempting, but I am not ready to fight the crowds and possibly get trampled.

I still retain vivid images I saw on television showing people punching, kicking, using mace and trampling over each other just to get to a deal.

For me, it is not worth it.

Over the last several years, I’ve done the majority of my shopping online year round. My inbox fills with incredible deals every single day, so I buy when I see something I want to give to someone, when it is at what I think is a good price.

I do not think there is anything you cannot buy online, so in the spirit of saving gas, trying to find a parking place, waiting in lines to pay, and schlepping bags back to the car, I take a pass on going anywhere near stores on Black Friday.

Instead, I am either at home enjoying leftovers, peace and quiet, or I am out on the golf course if the weather is nice.

Tips for Black Friday Shopping

If you are a person who wants to shop on Black Friday, there is nothing wrong with that. Here are some tips to make it easy and painless.

Shop Online

If you do not want to get trampled by crowds, then shop online. You can look up all the stores in your search engine from the comfort of your couch and add things to your cart with one click. If you do not have a laptop or are not tech savvy, have your child or friend come over to help you.

With this being said, make sure the websites and store you are on have a secure checkout option or a PayPal option. You do not want your information getting stolen.

Go With Friends

This may defeat the purpose of crowds, but if you go with a friend you are more likely to not get frustrated. They can help you find things, picki things out for you and find you a seat when you need to take a break.

Bring Water

Some stores limit the amount of people who can be in their area at once, so the wait can be quite long. If you stay hydrated with water, this will make you less irritable. You can even put some snacks in your purse too.

Make a List

If you make a list before you hit the mall this will help you get in and out quicker. By making a list, you already know what you need and know where you want to go.

Happy Thanksgiving! To everyone who chooses to shop on Black Friday: enjoy it and good luck!