T-minus 8 days

By Mir
November 16, 2006

One week from today my wish for all of you is that you are surrounded by good food and good friends, eating yourselves into a stupor. Because that’s the American Way. And one week from tomorrow, the world goes insane.

Darlingest Mir,

Thanks for all your help on my last issue, I walked away with some really great ideas! I was wondering what your thoughts were on “Black Friday” sales. Are they really worth it, or is it just a wasted (very early!) morning? My budget this year is much more shoestring than last year, so my ultimate goal is to find some way to buy something for all the coworkers that looks nice, but doesn’t break a budget. I also need to somehow find a really good deal on a Nintendo DS lite. To me, it seems like an awful lot to ask for one day’s worth of shopping! Any tips for making the most of it?

Thanks in advance!!

— Bre

Ahhhh, Black Friday. It’s the Holy Grail of shopping days. Or is it?

Here’s my general philosophy on Black Friday: I never want to want something so badly that I feel compelled to get up before dawn and fight through the unwashed masses to have it. For one thing, stuff is just stuff. For another, I dislike crowds and downright detest angry mobs (go figure).

So the short answer is, it’s just not my bag.

If you enjoy the thrill of the hunt and a little spike in blood pressure and parking two states away for the privilege of fighting with your fellow shoppers for the last [insert coveted item here], then by all means, I will still like you even if you choose to venture into the Black Friday morass.

Before the advent of online shopping, those special deals could only be had at the store, and only on Black Friday. I still found the process abhorrent, but there were no alternatives. Nowadays, there are plenty of online Black Friday specials (not to mention just more deals in general which you can access from the comfort of your home!), so now I am convinced there is no reason to go out on that fateful day.

But. Things like the newest video console often sell out. So if you simply must have one, you need to weigh your options and your tolerances carefully. Me, I make a habit of keeping my children’s expectations low so that they never even bother asking for the latest and greatest whatever. It costs a little extra in therapy expenses, but overall it seems to work out. Heh.

Okay. Listen. This is like talking to your kids about sex. “I think you shouldn’t, but if you’re going to, you need to be prepared.” And so it is with this. Determined to go out? Fine, do your research and formulate your game plan ahead of time. Know where you’re going, prioritize your goals (if there’s more than one), and head out early.

Most of my holiday shopping is done, but I will get up early on Black Friday and surf my favorite online merchants for a bit just in case there’s a deal I can’t pass up. And then? I’ll go back to bed. But I will not go out on Black Friday. (Next week I’ll give you a heads up on the places planning to do online specials where I think the deals will be plentiful.)

If you choose to do so, do it because you want to, not because you feel you have to. If you think you have to? Your priorities need reexamining.


  1. Amen! I refuse to go shopping on that day — it’s too crazy, and there’s nothing I want badly enough to venture out into the melee. You’re absolutely right — it’s just stuff, and there are more deals online than I can possibly take advantage of. But then again, I don’t love to go to the mall, either, especially this time of year. I’ll be eager to see what Black Friday internet specials you post. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. OMG I sooo agree. I did it last year and it was a bust. I found it hard to get anything that wasn’t really pricy. If you are going for 1 big item (power wheel, New Game thing, DVD Player) Then yes go out get that 1 thing and come back.

    I can’t wait for your black friday on-line deals. Can you get those out as soon as possible. I am starting my list.


  3. It’s actually one of my 3 favorite shopping days of the year.

  4. Last year Kohls had great online black Friday sales. I might have snatched up a few items while still in my pj’s.

    Also, if you’re not interested in one of those items that they use to lure you in with, going out at 8 or 9pm on Black Friday is great. The stores are usually empty.

  5. So…I know I emailed you some months ago about going out on Black Friday to get the Xbox 360, or if you knew where else I could get it cheaper than the going rate of $400. I forgot what advice you gave me (it’s been a rough “some months”), but it was undoubtedly good.

    Anywho, I bought the silly thing, with a free game included ($30 value) for $399.82, because i surfed 6 different sites. Chances are i could have gotten it online a lil cheaper on the Big Day, but at least this way it’s already on its way, i don’t have to worry about the cost now that the money has already been spent, and my bank account has time to recover.

    So, erm, where I was going with all this, is that, yes, things online may be cheaper on BF, but definitely if it’s one of the new consoles, I wouldn’t recommend waiting. Even if you CAN purchase it, the influx of buyers is going to be so heavy that you might have to contend with backorders and delayed shipping. If it’s between taking the chance on my Special Someone not having his damn beloved system on Christmas morning, or coughing up that extra $20 or so bucks I might save by waiting on a sale, thereby losing at least a week with which to acquire it, I’d cough up the extra cash. Cash is just cash, after all. It comes and it goes. In the long run, you’ll forget about that slight price difference pretty quickly, but you’ll remember the embarrassment of them not having a gift to open Morning Of alot longer.

    JMHO, though. (maybe i’m thinking too hard about all this. maybe i need to go have some Coldstone and lie down somewhere cozy. heh.)

  6. You wanna know what’s black? I have to work on Black Friday, which means I’ll be ringing up the purchases of all those loons venturing into the madding crowd.

  7. oh Sheryl…

    last Christmas was my first year not having to work retail during the holidays.

    heavenly, i tell you. sheesh.

  8. I don’t know why, but my wife used to LOVE to shop on Black Friday. Up at some ungodly hour, or not bothering to go to sleep until after we returned from the mornings events.

    Now, I buy her a weekend get-a-way to a spa for her birthday every year. And wouldn’t you know… it always just happens to be that weekend.

    She gets away… I shop online… The little one watches cartoons… Everybody is happy.

  9. I always hated Black Friday shopping until I discovered the sales at Fry’s Electronics. They are awesome! Not only do they stock up on tons of inventory so that you never have to suffer through the frustration of pushing and shoving only to discover they’re all out of what you want, they also have smokin’ deals! When DVD players were still new, we bought one for each of our family members because they had a good brand name one on sale for only $20 each! And the best iron I’ve ever used is on sale every year for only $2! I went back two years after I bought my first one to buy two more in case the first ever dies. 3 years later, they’re still in their boxes, never having seen the light of day! That’s the best $6 I’ve ever spent! Sure, you may have to wait in a huge line to check out at the end of your spree, but Fry’s Electronics has 40+ registers open, so the line moves relatively quickly. I’m telling you that if you have a Fry’s Electronics in your area, you should DEFINITELY hit that sale! I cry every Black Friday since we moved 12 hours away from the closest location!

  10. Daughter’s boyfriend has a “tradition” of camping with his buddies in the parking lot at Best Buy the night before Black Friday. Daughter (age 19) joins him for a while, and then comes home to enjoy her warm bed and bunny slippers. MUCH later, she will take her brother (age 14) shopping when the crowds have eased.
    Better her than me.

  11. Amen to Latte Man! You seem to have found the cure. My mil loves to hit the stores that day for the “thrill of the hunt” but I’m done and plan to stay away from the stores until January.

  12. One year, just for kicks, and because I had never done it, some friends and I did the Black Friday thing. We formulated a shopping plan, left the house really early and stopped for breakfast halfway through the morning. it was cold, fun, expensive, all the positive and negative words you can think of. I’ve never felt compelled to do it again. The deals weren’t all that great, and I absolutely hate crowds.
    But I can say that I did it once.

  13. I only did it once, when we happened to have a new TV/VCR combo on our shopping list, and Lo! It came up as a Black Friday super-cheap item at Wal-muerte. Luckily, our branch of that dreaded store is in the boonies, so I didn’t have to really fight anyone or rush – friends who live closer to metropolitan areas were SOL.

    I would never do it when I still have lots of gifts to buy, but no clue what to get – it’s a lot of hassle for only a couple deals that aren’t usually applicable to what you actually need.

  14. I LIVE for Black Friday! I am up and out the door at 3:00 a.m. with an armful of ads and a serious shopping strategy in place. My route is based on time stores open, door busters and early bird specials. My sisters, mom, and friends often join in the fun because one truly cannot face this day alone! I REFUSE to buy anything until Black Friday and always get ALL my Christmas shopping done in one day. We are usually done around 1:00 p.m. and have lunch out on the town. I have been enjoying this tradition for the past ten years!

Bargain Hunt





Want Not Archives

Creative Commons License

Pin It on Pinterest