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Black Friday - Tips, Information, and very Frequently Asked Questions. Question? Ask here
--- Black Friday - Tips, Information, and very Frequently Asked Questions ---
Welcome back, slickdealers!
It's that time of year again! The time when true slickdealers prepare for the busiest shopping day of the year - BLACK FRIDAY. This subforum that the mods have kindly granted us will soon be flooded with a million questions, many of which will be the same and asked over and over again by different people. We all realize you're just trying to get information - as well you should, info is key for a successful BF trip - but I thought we could try and create a resource of Frequently Asked Questions and Answers here to help unclog the other threads a little. I'll start with a few questions and hope that other seasoned BF Vets will add more to the Wiki If your question is not answered here or in the wiki please ask it in this thread.
What is Black Friday?
Black Friday is a nickname for the day in which most retailers go from being red (not overall profit) in their books to black (profitable!) Traditionally this has happened close to the holiday buying season
When exactly is Black Friday?
The Friday (shocking I know) after Thanksgiving. This year it is November 29, 2013
Why do people go nuts on Black Friday?
There are many reasons. A lot of people have off of work. Many people are home visiting families and friends and go shopping together. Mostly, as retailers noticed the higher profits on BF they've lowered prices, which increased interest more
When did BF start?
Are you writing a report or something? Seriously if you want that kind of info go to the Wiki [wikipedia.org]
How do you find out in advance what stores are selling on BF?
Again, several reasons. The intelligent companies realize that by releasing their ads early they create interest and greater potential profit. Most of the time, however, the bigwigs are paranoid and try to keep a tight clamp on the ads till the day before Thanksgiving. Obviously with the world the way it is today this doesn't happen - some schmuck in the factory happens upon an ad and leaks it to the interwebs for our perusal
This seems like it might be popular!
Yes, yes it is.
When do people get in line for BF?
This depends on many variables, including the specific store, your location, the deals, the weather, local laws and restrictions. Many of the bigger stores (Walmart, Best Buy, Circuit City, etc) have people lining up the night before in the bigger metro areas. For your store and area do research on the previous year
Can I pricematch other stores' stuff at my different store to get BF prices? Like Target to WalMart?
No. Ok, 95.9% of the time no. It's very rare. Walmart may be doing it this year, and sometimes other stores - to be updated - YMMV
Can I buy stuff now, avoid craziness on BF morning, and walk in and get an adjustment for the better price? Aren't I crafty?!
Hey! This question is in red! Yes! Because it's important and people seem to gloss over this info and ask the question a million times anyways. A lot of people seem to think they have this awesome idea Then they walk into their store on BF and are denied the price adjustment. Even if your store has a price adjustment policy in place, they usually do not honor it on Black Friday. So don't plan on it. Again there are always exceptions, some store in Podunk, Nostate might do it, but a huge YMMV
How can I best prepare for BF?
Plan a strategy out beforehand. Figure out where you want to shop and for what. Confirm when the stores open and plan the most efficient route. Camping out? Get your chair, blanket, warm food, book, gameboy, etc ready for the night. When you get in the stores - focus and be strong! It can be crazy in the big stores and people can be jerks without coffee that early in the morning. Go with a partner if you can. Be prepared! Bring the actual ads (that come out a day before usually) to the store in case some employee gives you the wrong price for your item.
Should I bring a friend(s)?
Yes! But make sure you have plans beforehand to get everything you both need/want. Plan out individual stores - ie, you will grab item x, they will grab item z and have the cart, etc. People that aren't as crazy about BF as you can still be useful - like they can guard your cart while you go running about unencumbered. But be sure to prepare them for the craziness.
Ok, I'm camping out. How do I go to the bathroom while in line?!
This is tricky and depends on your location and circumstances. The best way to do it - go with a partner. Hopefully there is a 24 hour store or gas station nearby. Take turns alternating in line with your partner to go. Assure the people around you in line that you are only going to the bathroom. They have to go too, after all. If this is not possible come with a tent or some kind of shelter and use a bottle Ladies, well, if you must, use something wider than a bottle... PLEASE don't forget to throw these containers away immediately. If all else fails find some heavy trees and bushes!
What do you guys do with all the stuff that you bring for the line camping when you get ready to go into the store?
Hopefully run to the car to drop it off. If you are camping out all night you do need to come with the essentials - chair, food, something to do, etc. Some shoppers bring even more elaborate stuff like a tent or video game systems But usually an hour or two before the store is set to open the line will be long and people will be getting antsy - you need to be completely mobile then. So make sure you are friends with the person behind and say "Hey I'm going to run this stuff to my car, be right back". Drop it all off and then you're ready to run through the store unhindered. If you don't think it will be possible for you to go to the car then pack as light as you can - camp chair that folds into a bag, backpack of stuff maybe. Think ahead!
What about my offspring? They'll enjoy shopping for deals too, right?
If you can avoid it at any costs, DO NOT BRING YOUNG KIDS!!!! This is not a good environment for them. First you start with the very cold, long, waiting in line. Then the stores are open and there is much pushing, shoving, and craziness. Really - you would not believe the animosity that can occur these days. Young kids could easily get hurt (google 'Walmart BF trampling'). Plus, they will slow you down! If they are older and can fend for themselves, it might work. It's up to you as a parent/guardian to decide
Any other long line/campout strategies?
- Make friends with the people in line around you, especially if you are there by yourself. Thus you can help each other with bathroom breaks, snack runs, and defending your spots in line. It never hurts to be friendly!
- Scoping out your stores a few days before BF is a good idea as well. Know what you are going to buy and find out where that section is in the store. That way on the big day you won't waste precious time trying to find your items! See any big, conspicuous, empty areas? These will likely be filled with BF items that are currently hidden away in back storage!
- Be sure to check the weather forecast and plan accordingly! If it's going to be super cold, wear layers so you can shed them later if need be
- Bring thermoses to keep your drinks warm. Also bring food that will sustain you and give you protein for the morning's crazyness. You're going to need energy and likely won't have much after being in line all night!
Are any of these deals online?
Sometimes. A few stores have "Online doorbusters" which you can buy from wherever you have net access. A few of these are published in the ad scans. Some are hidden and announced only a few days in advance online. But there is a growing trend for stores with larger online presences to offer deals on Cyber Monday, which is - you guessed it - the Monday after Thanksgiving
I don't see the ad for store XYZ! Where is it already?!
Be patient. Sometimes the bigger ads won't leak until a week or two before BF. Lately there has been a lot of commotion with stores like Walmart who have sent Cease and Desist letters to the BF websites asking them to remove the leaked ads (or future leaked ads!). Most of the bigger websites, fearing legal retribution, have done so. BUT if the community knows the ad is out already (and believe me you'll know by reading) then you should be able to find it if you are a savvy user of teh interwebs ;-)
I found an ad for my store! What should I do?
If you have just seen one on the interwebs and might at all want it later, save it to your computer!!! More and more stores these days are threatening legal action and mostly the BF sites just comply. So be sure to save it for later use. If you have found one that does not yet appear to be on the internet, scan and submit it for the benefit of the entire US shopping community! You can do so anonymously if you want. Be a deal hero! ;-)
Can I get this info and deals on the go?
You certainly can! Slickdeals not only has a spiffy year round mobile app, but a specific Black Friday app! For iPhone and Android, go here
Hope this helps! Please feel free to add to the wiki and ask questions if need be