Some consider Black Friday the Olympics of shopping.
I disagree. In fact, I see it to be amateur hour. It is as much a sign of your shopping prowess as going to a party on New Year's Eve reflects your active social life.
Last week, I blogged about ways to budget shop through the holiday season. But I'll take that one step further now and tell you that any and all shopping success can occur without waking up at the crack of dawn the day after Thanksgiving.
In fact, it can be done without getting dressed at all.
Pajamas for the win.
Chances are that Friday will be cold, and you'll have lots of leftovers in the fridge. Why deal with the traffic and drama? Just about any sale you find in a store also exists on their website. Even better, you'll save the expense of gas and tolls.
What are you thankful for?
The day of food gluttony is followed by another day of retail gluttony, and that's a little sad.
Stores like Macy's, Best Buy and Toys R Us are all opening up earlier than ever this year. No longer do you have to wake up early the day after Thanksgiving; now you can blow off mom's turkey dinner and shop INSTEAD of Thanksgiving. Kmart's decision to open at 6am on Thanksgiving has led to pretty dramatic backlash, and I don't blame a single person for being peeved. The reason we are home from work that day is not to stock up on stocking stuffers, it's to take stock of all that really matters. Retailers have already ruined Christmas. Don't let them have Thanksgiving, too.
Sleep good, no sleep bad.
Remember when Buffy had the revelation that trees were prettier than fire? Well, here's your revelation: You are smarter and prettier when you sleep. That means you'll find better deals, succeed more in your shopping exploits, and look cuter in anything you buy. It's a no brainer, as far as I'm concerned.
Time is a commodity, as is value.
As I've gotten older, I've really paid a lot more attention to the quality vs. quantity matrix. Yes, you can get a whole bunch of crap while running through Kohl's at 6 am on Black Friday. But chances are, it'll be in a flurry of crazy. You'll be getting the products before someone else does, and paying little attention to if they're what you really want to buy -- just because you want to get them while you can. You won't even necessarily do research to make sure it's truly a great deal because you won't have time. Then, you'll stand in an epically long line and pay for these items -- many of which you probably won't get in the color, size, or style you actually need. Stay home and do your homework. You'll ultimately save more money and get better deals on items you actually will be glad you bought.
NerdWallet recently posted a crazy awesome tip that Discover, MasterCard, and Citibank are all offering price matching for items you buy that later drop in price. That means you can buy something right now, and then submit a dated Black Friday ad to take advantage of the price drop. That's the best homework incentive ever.
Avoid the scary crowds.
This is no joke, every year people die on Black Friday. The herd mentality is in full effect, and it's dangerous out there. If you insist on going out on Black Friday, I'd advise to go in the afternoon -- post early morning rush. During Black Friday 2011, a woman hurt 20 shoppers when she pulled out pepper spray during a struggle to buy a discounted Xbox 360. That's crazy talk. You're way better off shopping online over the weekend, culminating Cyber Monday, and scoring better bargains than your friends.
Reasons you should go out on Black Friday.
I try to stay open-minded. Some of you do have good cause to be out there at the crack of dawn that day. To you, I bid you well. If you need a gift very quickly, need a local level of service, and the cost of shipping is a factor (though you'll discover soon enough there'll be hosts of free shipping ops as we get closer to Christmas), then have at it. Go in peace.