Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Black Friday 101

I'd like to believe in my heart of hearts that there are only two real reasons why people don't dress well. They either "A", don't want to/don't think its important (its very important actually). Or "B", cant afford to (although thrift stores kinda remove this excuse as well). If you're sartorially challenged because of the latter, then the major shopping event this week is for you. What? Been living under a rock for the past 4 decades? Or have you just been really lasered in trying to figure out a 7-letter word for The Andy Griffith Show's creator (it's Stander)?

The term "Black Friday" was originally coined back in 1869, referring to the financial crisis. Not a very festive thought huh? It wasn't until the 1961 when it was used as a shopping reference. They noticed that there was an overload of vehicle and pedestrian traffic occurring the day after Thanksgiving. People were out in droves. The police officers dreaded this day and they started referring to it as such. The reason being is because back in those times, advertisers didn't leapfrog Thanksgiving like a forgotten orphan child. They respected and addressed it accordingly. These days, Christmas ads are posted on November 1. So it made perfect sense that in those times when Thanksgiving was officially over, everyones focus then immediately turned to Christmas. And it turned into one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Another reason is because it was when most retailer's bottom lines went into the "black"(they're finally turning a profit for the year). 

Fast forward to the 21st century. Black Friday is still a huge day to score some steals. $400 iPads, large screen TVs for $150, etc. All your major department and electronic stores are cashing in. But what about fashion retailers? Yep, they're cashing in too. So as I stated before, this is one of the best times to revamp your wardrobe. My wife and I have been taking advantage of this for the past 5 years, so we'd like to consider ourselves very knowledgeable on this subject. After all, one of the mottos I live by is "Try, Fail, and Adjust". Here are some tips to maximize this week:

1. Look through your wardrobe to see what "holes" you have. It would be best to start there. Then look to see if there is anything you would like to add.

2. On the Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving, go to either your local mall or outlet. These places will be your best bet because all of the stores will be within walking distance as opposed to having to drive from point A to point B. Getting stuck in traffic, and all that other hoopla. But anyway, visit these places before Thanksgiving with your list in hand to "scout out" which stores have what you're looking for. Also take time to try stuff on now so that when the big night comes, you can be in and out and onto another store. The lines for the fitting room can be ridiculous that night. And the checkout lines will just keep getting longer and longer.

3. When you're there early, you will notice that there are things that are already on sale. Find a friendly looking employee and ask them if it will be the exact same sale on Black Friday. Believe it or not, sometimes it is. And sometimes it'll only be a matter of there being an extra 5% off on the big night. You then make a decision on whether or not its worth it to loose 30-45 minutes of your life standing in line to save an extra $10. I value my time a lot more than that. So I would just get it early. So you can just get it then and have one less store to go to. Because remember, the lines just get longer and longer. One thing to be aware of though, no matter how friendly the employee looks, they're going to say "I'm not allowed to tell you" the first time you ask. Just keep asking, But don't be a jerk about it. Use some people skills. If they look like they're getting annoyed, just drop it. But essentially, I believe that even though a ton of floor salesman in stores don't care about customers, there are some who enjoy it. Those are the ones you're looking for. And don't be afraid to check online too. There are some rare occasions where you can order things at the same sale price in the stores. Once again, creating one less store you have to go to.

4. Call ahead to find out when stores open. I've found that lately, stores have been opening earlier and earlier. To the point that its not even officially Friday yet. And whatever time the store says they will open, be sure to get there about an hour earlier. Because it never fails, if they see a long line out, they will unlock those doors 15 minutes early.

So a quick review, make a list, go early to scout, politely badger an employee for information, and get in line early on the big night. 

Being that I love new clothes, this is an exciting time for me. And if you're trying to score some high dollar pieces for the low, then you should be excited too. So happy shopping, Happy Thanksgiving, and above all be safe. There are some nuts out there.

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