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Black Friday - Tips, Information, and very Frequently Asked Questions. Question? Ask here

Godrockdj 1,440 256 November 11, 2010 at 08:01 AM in Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV) (7)
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Last Edited by Godrockdj November 15, 2016 at 08:51 AM
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--- Black Friday - Tips, Information, and very Frequently Asked Questions ---


Welcome back, slickdealers! wave

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 hug 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 24, 2016

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 nod

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! Confused 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 bulb 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. Charge your phone fully and and bring an extra battery/charge stick. 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 laugh out loud 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! laugh out loud 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! nod
- 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 ;-) Pirate

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 nod
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#3
A few general tips that I have:

~Bring a friend/family member. This deserves to be tops for far too many reasons to list.

~Leave the cart behind at first. You need to be concerning yourself at first with grabbing the merch, not with moving it. Worry about the cart when your arms are full, or else you'll either be stuck at the back of the pack, or everyone else will think you're a real jerk with you're cart-dozer.

~Heads up, eyes open. There may be multiple stacks of an item, which may or may not be near each other. The crowds are going to go for the first stack they see. Look around! There may be a stack elsewhere with a slightly longer lifespan. Some stores may even keep carting out fresh inventory.

~Check the regular "home" of the item. Miss or can't find what you want in the stacks? Check where they would normally keep similar items, there may be anywhere from a few to a lot waiting for you.
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#4
?:

Is there a store that anyone would recommend camping out? I am scoping my local staples in the mighty H-Town but i don't want to look like a fool camping out there by myself. lol

Big ups for these and other helpful BF threads!
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#5
The nice thing about "camping" a store with no line is that you can wait in your car until someone else gets there. I did that with Lowes last year. Hit Sears first at 4, then got to Lowes about 5, and there was nobody there. Waited in my car until 5:40 when a small group of college kids showed up. We didn't even make a line, just kinda milled around. I would suggest that you find out which stores have the merch you want, compare the opening times, and make your decision from there. There's not much point in camping just to camp, its too cold. If Staples is what you want to hit, just go and if there's nobody there, you get to stay warm. In my experience, W-M, Target, Best Buy and Sears (for the low quantity/price appliances) have the longest waiting campers, with start times ranging from several days to several hours.
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#6
I always wonder how many people max out their credit cards on Black Friday? Maybe there should be a poll of some sort to see what people are spending. For some this day is a tradition, the camping, fighting the crowds, etc. too crazy for me to "save" a few bucks by spending even more bucks.......the more you spend the more you save, LOL, the ultimate retailers tag line. I bet retailers would love to have people camp in front of their stores every Friday with money in their pockets.
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#7
Good info here for a BF noob like myself, I've never really got into it. But now I've got this great SD resource that I feel must be capitalized on.

Being in Maine, we don't really have lines at the stores from what I hear. We're pretty much behind the curve on everything.

As far as the online deals go, I keep hearing people say, "Oh, hold off until black Friday," making it sound like solid state drives, laptops, and TVs are going to be practically falling from the sky.

What I am wondering is, how much of a discount can we expect to see on this very special day? From the sounds of it, I would guess maybe 30-60% off on practically everything. I could be way off, but I really want to know, also for average cyber Monday discounts.
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#8
Quote from neumei626 View Post :
Good info here for a BF noob like myself, I've never really got into it. But now I've got this great SD resource that I feel must be capitalized on.

Being in Maine, we don't really have lines at the stores from what I hear. We're pretty much behind the curve on everything.

As far as the online deals go, I keep hearing people say, "Oh, hold off until black Friday," making it sound like solid state drives, laptops, and TVs are going to be practically falling from the sky.

What I am wondering is, how much of a discount can we expect to see on this very special day? From the sounds of it, I would guess maybe 30-60% off on practically everything. I could be way off, but I really want to know, also for average cyber Monday discounts.
Its going to be far from everything. There will be some great deals, some good deals, and some average deals. Stores aren't going to put everything on sale, because what they really want is to get you into the store with the deals and then get you to also buy the stuff that's not on sale. It's what's known as a "loss leader", though I wouldn't necessarily say that the retailers are taking a loss on the sale items, just less than they normally would. The hype for BF drives a lot of it these days, Overall, the deals probably aren't as slick as they used to be, but there's still enough to get a lot of people through the door at an ungodly hour. If they're lucky, the deals/hype for a particular store will be enough to get a line going a few days before and get them in the news, which turns into free advertising. I'm sure you're 'major' stores will have some sort of a line, it just may not be as long as it is in a more populated area. But keep in mind that often anticipated crowd size has a direct impact on quantities allotted for a particular store. In other words, a store with 20% of the crowd that a big city store has might only get 20% of the quantity that the big city store gets.
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#9
So, I would consider myself a Black Friday expert, but have never participated in Cyber Monday because of slow internet service. Now that I'm high-speed, I'm thinking of trying my hand at some Cyber Monday deals. So, here goes...

I only have a limited amount of money to spend, should I skip BF and just go for the CM deals??

Are the deals comparable to BF prices, or better, worse?

How hard are the online deals to get? Do they sell out in seconds, minutes, or hours?

Can you have the items in your online cart before the sale starts and then checkout when the item goes on sale?

In your experience, what stores/sites typically offer the best CM deals?

Any other advice/tips would be greatly appreciated. I honestly don't even know what to expect on CM or where to begin when shopping. Thanks in advance Confused
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#10
Quote from MLDoc View Post :
Its going to be far from everything. There will be some great deals, some good deals, and some average deals. Stores aren't going to put everything on sale, because what they really want is to get you into the store with the deals and then get you to also buy the stuff that's not on sale. It's what's known as a "loss leader", though I wouldn't necessarily say that the retailers are taking a loss on the sale items, just less than they normally would. The hype for BF drives a lot of it these days, Overall, the deals probably aren't as slick as they used to be, but there's still enough to get a lot of people through the door at an ungodly hour. If they're lucky, the deals/hype for a particular store will be enough to get a line going a few days before and get them in the news, which turns into free advertising. I'm sure you're 'major' stores will have some sort of a line, it just may not be as long as it is in a more populated area. But keep in mind that often anticipated crowd size has a direct impact on quantities allotted for a particular store. In other words, a store with 20% of the crowd that a big city store has might only get 20% of the quantity that the big city store gets.
Hey great info here. I'm not doing much on that day so maybe my gf and I will go check it out! And yeah i was exaggerating a bit in guessing 30-60%, I would guess some stuff might be around 30-50% off, but not everything for sure. Thanks for the advice.

Quote from junebug82 View Post :
So, I would consider myself a Black Friday expert, but have never participated in Cyber Monday because of slow internet service. Now that I'm high-speed, I'm thinking of trying my hand at some Cyber Monday deals. So, here goes...

I only have a limited amount of money to spend, should I skip BF and just go for the CM deals??

Are the deals comparable to BF prices, or better, worse?

How hard are the online deals to get? Do they sell out in seconds, minutes, or hours?

Can you have the items in your online cart before the sale starts and then checkout when the item goes on sale?

In your experience, what stores/sites typically offer the best CM deals?

Any other advice/tips would be greatly appreciated. I honestly don't even know what to expect on CM or where to begin when shopping. Thanks in advance Confused
+1. I would like to know this precious info as well.
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#11
Black Friday Tips...

"So, you think you can pull this off all by yourself? Think again. A team of 3+ contenders will be needed to get the job done quickly and efficiently.

You'll need:
The Shopper: The smallest, fastest member and the one that is most familiar with the logistics of the store. This team member has the list. Don't forget your list and more importantly, your ad scan. If you don't have the store's ad scan to reference at checkout, you may come face to face with the hired seasonal employee and have to deal with that employees "limited understanding of the ad" verses your Black Friday expertise.

The BLOCK: The largest or meanest looking member of your team that isn't afraid to use physical or mental tactics/Jedi mind tricks to gain leverage while shopping. This team member is also in charge of snacks.

The Wing: This team member will be able to point and direct other shoppers, that may ask where an item in located, in the completely wrong direction with a straight face. Also, this team member will have the most patience and will wait in line for speedy checkout for everyone. Also, will act as the driver for quick drop-offs/pick ups. Remind your driver to park "nose out" and close to an exit.

The team will be also good during the smug aka — "In yo' face suckers!" strut, when you are leaving the store full of your numerous, limited inventory treasures. "

Full BF Guide: http://ninjaconsumer.com/black-fr...-hysteria/
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#12
I am a newbie in BF shopping...has never tried to be a doorbuster....but I plan to join the party this year...just a few questions.

(1) I know places like BestBuy or Walmarts will have long lines before the store opens...what about the less popular stores like Sears. Will it be packed with people at the entrance waiting for the store to open too?

(2) I know hundred of people will rush in to place order for popular stuffs like TV or gamje systems once the door is opened...the sales person cannot help everyone at the same time obviously. So how do you get the attention of a sales guy to help you to place an order?

(3) Any other basic 'strategy' that I need to know in order to maximize the chance to get what I want?

Please help out this newbie. Thanks for your help in advance.
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#13
Quick question concerning Walmart's price matches...

Does anybody have more specific information about this? My burning question is if Walmart will be honoring all prices. For example...Store X has a doorbuster price, or a special price for an item only between the hours of 4-6AM. Would Walmart pricematch those?
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#14
Question, who has had a positive online shopping experience on BF? Which stores tend to have sale items available at midnight?
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#15
Quote from lovebill View Post :
Quick question concerning Walmart's price matches...

Does anybody have more specific information about this? My burning question is if Walmart will be honoring all prices. For example...Store X has a doorbuster price, or a special price for an item only between the hours of 4-6AM. Would Walmart pricematch those?
Usually. The times normally have to match up with the deal time. I always call ahead on Wednesdays and ask the manager. Make a list and match the price to the ad and the ad page for a quicker checkout.
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