Black Friday is less than 3 weeks away! I get more excited about this holiday than I do over Thanksgiving! Yeah, it's nice to see the family and have a great meal and give thanks for your many blessings, but..... for the past few years it's turned into marathon session of browsing the newspaper for the sales ads! And getting home early to rest up for the long day that follows, which requires being out of bed and standing in line by 3am!
Last year, Joel and I were the first in line at 2 different Home Depots and we both got what we wanted. He got a big screen TV; I got the stainless steel gas grill. It's getting harder and harder to get the item you want. For example, Home Depot only had 6 big screen TVs at each store. I think they had less than 10 of the grills. You've got to pick your item the day before, get to the store in the middle of the night and wait in line with the other Black Friday junkies. If there are more than 5 people in line in front of you, you'd be better to get back in your car and go to a different store.
It's always fun being the first in line-- the ones that follow are usually really nice. It's fun to chat with them about all of the sales items, but probably not a good idea to tell them what you have your eye on-- they may not have noticed the item before and if you bring it to their attention, they may try to swipe it. Everyone is so friendly while waiting in line, but as soon as those doors open, it's every man for himself!
It really doesn't matter your place in line. What matters is how quickly you can get into the store and find the item you want. Get it in your cart asap. Once it's in your cart, it's as good as yours. Don't take time to read the box or take measurements, etc. just get it in your cart. You can always take it out of your cart later, or trade it to another customer. The hard part can be finding the item you want... for example, what department do you go to in Home Depot for a TV set? They don't normally stock TVs-- just on Black Friday. What I like to do is wave down an employee prior to opening time and ask them exactly where the item is located, and how many they have in stock prior to opening. Last year I was lucky with the grill. All of the grills were chained up outside by the door. I stood next to the grill I wanted for hours, but I didn't have to worry about getting it in the cart-- I just had to make a mad dash directly to the cashier and tell them what I wanted to purchase. Everyone else was playing an adult version of musical chairs around the TV display.
Try to find a store in a remote location. The Home Depot on Cascade is a perfect example. There are no other stores in walking distance, so you have a pretty good chance of a smaller crowd. The Mt. Zion Rd shopping center is an example of a bad place to be trying to snag a bargain-- they have Home Depot, Target, Best Buys, Circuit City, etc. People go to these kind of locations because they can change stores easily if the line is too long. I lucked up at the Mt. Zion Home Depot last year, but I won't chance it this year.
Oh yeah, one more piece of advice-- do your homework! I really messed up last year. Circuit City had an E-machine computer on sale for $100. That computer was my main goal of the day. I got up early and went to the Circuit City at Greenbriar. I shopped there on Black Friday the previous year and had no problems. If I'd done my homework, I would've known that the Greenbriar location had closed months earlier. I lost a lot of valuable time trying to locate the nearest Circuit City and ended up at Mt. Zion in a line behind at least 300 other people that were there for the same item. That's how I ended up at Home Depot. And that's how I ended up with a new grill, instead of a new computer.
This year I have my heart set on a big screen TV (preferably plasma/HDTV). I've been saving up for it all year. I've even started researching it. I found a few websites that I'm monitoring already. Some of the sales ads have already been leaked by insiders. I haven't found anything that I'm interested in yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
If you're interested in participating on Black Friday (November 23rd), here's a website for you: http://www.bfads.net/ .