This Week We’re Obsessed With: Black Friday

Laken Howard, Reporter

The first time I experienced Black Friday, it was by accident. Last year, a few of my friends from Northwestern came home with me for Thanksgiving. Despite the gluttonous amount of food we had eaten earlier, we decided we wanted some midnight snacks. Unfortunately, we forgot Walmart would be in a state of chaos at that time early Friday morning.

We made it out alive (and with a few things besides snacks), but it got me thinking about just how crazily some people can behave on Black Friday. Although losing my Black Friday virginity was accidental, something about the experience really intrigued me and made me want to go out this year in order to get the full-blown, hectic, exhausting experience. Whether you’re on the hunt for one item or 100, follow these tips to make the most of your Black Friday and come out with some great deals (and with all your limbs still attached).

Plan ahead

It’s always a good idea to enter the battlefield prepared with a list of what you need, especially if you’re Christmas shopping for others who may have ultra-specific requests. Being prepared will save you a lot of strife in the long run, even if it means spending an hour thinking hard to remember what your mom mentioned she wanted in passing three months ago. Even if you just use Black Friday to shop for yourself and save some money on clothes or shoes, a list of things you need may keep you from overspending on things you don’t. In addition to a list of items you’re looking for, make sure to note which stores you need to visit and when each store’s sales end, since they often only last into the early afternoon. Check online for websites that compile lists of advertisements for Black Friday sales to help you find out where the best bargains are.

Bring a shopping buddy

As a general rule, everything’s more fun with a partner in crime. Having a friend or family member by your side will help you stay on track and keep you company in those heinously long lines. They can also act as a second pair of eyes when you’re on the hunt for a particularly hard-to-spot bargain item. Go over your shopping list with them so they can help you remember that obscure imported soap your great aunt wants or just act as your pack mule when your shopping cart inevitably overflows. 

Go early

This may seem obvious, but I mean early. As in, get there before the early birds even think about arriving. Make sure you nap away your post-feast food coma so you have lots of energy with which to tackle this sure-to-be-long day. Check stores’ websites to see when they open their doors and when the Black Friday sales end. You can sleep in a little if you just want to browse, but if you’re obsessing over one limited-quantity item, the earlier you get there, the better chance you have of snagging those sales.

Stay calm

Even if someone takes the very last $5.99 Blu-ray copy of “The Amazing Spider-Man,” keep your cool. The ultimate thing to remember is this is just another shopping trip, and saving a few bucks isn’t worth screaming at the 7-year-old boy who’s been waiting to watch that movie for months. Stay classy.

After Black Friday is finally over, you’ll get the immense satisfaction of going home knowing you saved a lot of money and got most of the hassle of Christmas shopping over with early. Even if shopping and crowds are not your thing, I would recommend going out on Black Friday at least once, just to say, “I’m a survivor.”