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Rant #410
(published November 27, 2008)
Black Friday Rules
by Justin Brock-Jones
Here we are with another Thanksgiving behind us, and with that another Black Friday survived. For those of you not in the know, Black Friday is the common term used to describe the Friday after Thanksgiving. It is the worst shopping day of the year. Everyone gets up at the ass-crack of dawn to go shopping! While they are still digesting turkey, or sleeping off a hangover. It occurs to me that we have come so far from the actual point of these holidays. It is not the fact that they are commercialized that bothers me. It is the way people act when they go out to shop for gifts. Christmas is supposed to be a time of "peace on Earth and good will toward men" and all that happy gibberish. Unfortunately, people forget that the second they see the words TWO DAY SALE!!! in big bold print. Everyone is at the pinnacle of their selfishness and rudeness on the days after Thanksgiving. God forbid someone else get the DVD you wanted, or the doll, or the video game, or whatever it is that brought you out before the sun. I had to work at 7, which was a whole hour after the store opened. By that time, it was shoulder-to-shoulder and people were standing in line just to look around. Let me repeat that, because it needs repeating—they were standing in line to SHOP! Not check out, but shop. Holiday shoppers are hardcore, too. Only they would run over another customer (elderly, with a bad hip no less) in order to get to an item before anyone else. Then there are those shoppers who just grab anything that someone else is grabbing. They don't want it, hell half the time they don't even know what it is until they are in line to leave; they are just getting it so no one else can. Now that is stupid! Don't even ask me about people blaming me because we are out of an item. If they wanted it that bad, they should have just slept in the damn parking lot. So, after much thought, I have come up with some rules for shopping on Black Friday; think of them as a guide to survival and victory:

  1. Pre-shop! Odds are that the day or two before the big sale all the merchandise will in the same location as it will be on Friday. Go in, get a map (most big stores have them up front), and mark the items you will be interested in, and where they are at in the store. From there you can plan your route for Black Friday.

  2. Surf the Net! Two-day ads tend to stay under lock and key until the day they are valid. Too bad that we live in the age of free information. There are tons of sites dedicated to Black Friday and getting the ads to you the consumer before said day. Find them, make a note of the prices, and make sure you cross reference that with your handy map.

  3. Take an umbrella, or walking stick! Really, as long as you can get by with it, take any sort of blunt object that can be used as a club to beat people out of your way, or a poking stick to elongate your reach and claim an item before someone else can. If you must be an ass, at least be smart about it.

  4. Accessorize! I know it sounds gay, but by this I mean wear shoes to fit the occasion. Running is often required, so maybe a nice sneaker or athletic shoe is your choice. If you say to hell with running, then try a nice hard toed (or pointy toed) boot so you can kick people that are in your way. If you want to combine the two, try cleats.

  5. Make it a family affair! Some people split the family into groups and hit multiple stores at once. These people are smart. If you don't want to shop at more than one store, make copies of the map and shopping list, divide your family into teams, and split up. Two or more people can cover one store in half the time it would take one lone-wolf shopper. Didn't word problems in Math teach you anything?

  6. Take only the essentials! By this I mean a copy of the ad, your map, and credit/debit card. Ladies, leave the purse in the car. It will only slow you down and take up valuable room in your cart.

  7. Leave the kids at home, in bed, since you will be getting up way too damn early for them anyway. Screaming kids will only add to the din and cause migraines for all around you. Not to mention that it's hard to focus when you have to keep pulling them away from the fart goop and silly putty.

  8. Bring an appropriate vehicle! Do you have a friend who drives a moving van or a school bus? Have him go with you because odds are you will need the storage space.

  9. Know what you are getting for whom! This is sort of like pre-planning, but it is still important. The more well prepared for this hell you are, the better you will do.

  10. Now for the most important piece of wisdom. SHOP BEFORE BLACK FRIDAY! Since the ad is leaked onto the Internet, and you know exactly what you want to get for your loved ones, go in before Thanksgiving and buy it all, then go in to the store on Black Friday and go straight to guest service and do price adjustments for everything you bought. Sure, you spent a lot initially, but now you are getting money back. Leave the store with your new cash, laugh at all the other jackasses shopping, and go treat yourself to a nice meal and a cold beer. Why? Because you win!

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