Black Friday — the biggest shopping day of the year — seems to be turning into Black Thursday, with stores rolling out deals and doorbusters as early as Thanksgiving Day. If you plan on joining the throngs of bargain hunters this holiday season, keep in mind that surviving the day unscathed and arriving home with discounts galore involves having a game plan for success.
• Know prices of the items you want to buy.
Don't just grab it because it's “on sale.” Scour advertisements ahead of time to gauge the regular retail prices for common items, including electronics. Make notes and comparison shop to help you pinpoint a true deal for the item that has your eye.
• Understand the fine print of “doorbusters.”
Doorbuster sales are meant to get shoppers into stores (while retailers are betting they'll make a few extra purchases along the way). If doorbuster items are all you’re looking for, read the advertisements carefully, noting the start and end time of the discounts and if there will be limited quantities. In addition, determine if there is a special return policy for sale items purchased on Black Friday.
• Dress for comfort.
Ladies, high heels may not be a good idea. Wear sensible, comfortable shoes and clothing and leave the large purse at home in favor of something compact, which can be draped securely over your shoulder and body to navigate the crowds. Keep your coat in the car or make use of a coat check service if available. Dress in layers if you will be waiting outside for stores to open. This way you can shed clothing as the mercury rises or when you get inside.
• Arrive together, but shop separately.
The “divide and conquer” method of shopping allows everyone in your shopping party to score good deals. Split up shopping tasks and then head to different areas of the store. Share and collect your purchases when you meet up after the rush.