Home Opinion An insider’s guide for Black Friday shopping success

An insider’s guide for Black Friday shopping success

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By Clare Kolenda

Courtesy MCT Campus
Customers push pass security to grab door buster deals before they sell out on Black Friday.

On Thanksgiving, people around the nation gather around their dining room tables, feeling grateful for what they have. Yet within hours, many will be standing in a line that lasts for hours, thirsting for that one particular item on sale. And though many people shop with friends and families on their minds, when the doors open, a giving spirit may not be the motivating factor.
The biggest shopping event of the year, Black Friday, is quickly approaching and while many people are mapping the best routes to navigate the crowds, store clerks such as myself try not to cringe as the clock ticks closer to this event that seems rather black indeed.
Having worked in retail the past two years, I know very well the allure of sales and the mindset of customers as they flock to the stores in the wee morning hours. With my few years experience, I’ve noticed several traits in the most successful shoppers. These are the people who not only are leaving the stores with arms loaded up with new gifts and items, but who are smiling while they do it.
Don’t get caught up in the heat—and the exhaustion—of the moment. The long lines are something sales associates can neither control, nor improve, as there are limits to how fast one can ring sales. Our goal as we work is to make sure we can help you find what you need as quickly as possible, so trust us to do our job. When you feel your annoyance or sleep deprivation start to give the Grinch who stole Christmas a run for his money, take a few deep breaths and try to relax in your place in line.
Black Friday shopping in South CarolinaDivide and Conquer. Some of the most successful shopping trips I see are when a group of three people come, and split up around the store. That way one person can still be shopping, while another person can go for the door buster deals that fly off the shelves, all the while the third customer holds your place in line.
It’s not You…Or Us. There might be times when the store has run out of product. Whether the deal was too good, the amount of people too large, or someone stepped in and bought the entire supply, it’s been known to happen. Try to accept it, and move on. Rejoice in those small victories when you find the exact thing you were looking for. Know that as sales associates, we want you to leave the store happy and satisfied, so if it were up to us, we’d have enough to go around.
Prioritize. Make sure to know what you are shopping for beforehand. Then you won’t be wasting your time or the sales associate’s by asking about good suggestions for gifts. Not only will this make the shopping process smoother, but it allows you to purchase your most important gifts first. Figuring out halfway through the day that you want to buy your dad a new flat screen probably won’t grant you the best selection.
The best way to stay sane this Black Friday as you rev your engines and hit the gas is to be thankful. Be thankful for family and friends who are important in your life to the point that you want to lavish gifts on them. Be thankful for this season, where we’re reminded to go the extra mile for others around us, and for people who are willing to do it for us. And thankful for a country that gives us the freedom to spend our money as we please, celebrate the holiday as we like, and have fun while we do it.