Here are a few tips for surviving black Friday in Bay City, Michigan.
1. Read and reread the store ads the week before Thanksgiving. Collect all of the ads you think that you’ll use in your shopping quest and take the pile with you to Thanksgiving dinner. While the sports fans are busy watching the Lions lose again, spread out all of the ads and make your plan of attack.
2. Gather everything you need for the next day. In Michigan, this means a winter coat, boots, hat, scarf, etc. A big mug of coffee or hot chocolate will help warm you up in the early morning hours. Plan to be at the stores when they open. For a store like Meijers or Wal-Mart which is open 24 hours, sale normally begin at 5 AM. I will discuss Meijers versus Wal-Mart later.
3. Meijers versus Wal-Mart. For those of you not native to the Great Lakes region, Meijers is a large box chain similar to Wal-Mart. However, Meijers prices tend to be slightly higher. I prefer Meijers due to the fact that quality greatly surpasses that of Wal-Mart. The quality more than makes us for the slight price increase on certain items. Unless there is absolutely something you must have that is on-sale at Wal-Mart, I would recommend going to Meijers first. From what I’ve heard, Meijers is probably the biggest destination in the area on Black Friday. As those who live in Bay City know, Wal-Mart is located near the Bay City Mall, making it convenient to shop Wal-Mart before heading to the Mall.
4. Once you get the big box stores out of the way (Meijers and Wal-Mart), it would then be a good idea to head over the Mall. At the Bay City Mall, it would be a good idea to head to Target, Yonkers, J.C. Penney, and Sears first. Those are the busiest stores and all four anchor the Mall itself. Personally, I tend to forget about Sears, but have always been pleasantly surprised when I do remember to go. They have great quality products at low prices and wonderful sales.
5. Take time out for lunch and/or a movie. By this time, you have probably spent a lot of money and have accomplished quite a bit. While you are at the Mall, try out the Chinese Buffet. It is very good, inexpensive, and will give you a more comfortable place to rest compared with the noise and bustle of the food court. The movie theater happens to be straight ahead. In fact, you might want to get your tickets ahead of time and then go eat. That way, you get to rest, eat, and then enjoy one of the great holiday movies that always come out that weekend.
6. Head for ABC Warehouse! If you plan on purchasing larger electronics at all this holiday season, or an appliance, look no further than ABC Warehouse. It is near the Mall and they always have great sales – Black Friday or not. You won’t be leave disappointed. I’ve purchased a washer/dryer and a TV from them and have been very satisfied.
7. Go Downtown. Downtown Bay City has seen a retail resurgence in recent years. When the “new” Mall opened in 1991, it sent a lot of businesses out to Wilder Rd. However, specialty retail stores have found a nitch downtown. If you are looking for a unique gift, you don’t want to miss this shopping area. No trip downtown would be complete without a trip to the antique mall. Located along “Hell’s Half-Mile,” this antique mall offers up a big dose of atmosphere. If you have someone special on your list that enjoys antiques, you may simply want to find something small, but meaningful, that would fit the decor of their home. Another idea would simply be to use this time downtown to plan an outing to the Bay City Antique Mall with the antique-lover in your life at a later date. It is a nice, meaningful gift that will last for a life-time.
8. Don’t forget the pets. It is always fun to by a little something for the cats or dogs in your life. In the Bay City area, my favorite pet store is Pet Supply Plus in Essexville (a nearby Bay City suburb). They have a wide variety of items for all types of pets and are very reasonably priced.
9. Don’t stop once you get home. Once you get home with all of your treasures purchased in Bay City, take notes, cross people off your Christmas list, and store your items in a safe location. It is always a good idea to grab advertisements, sale information, and information regarding special holiday events or promotions. It is especially important during Black Friday due to the fact that most retailers use this day to effectively for the rest of their holiday promotions.
10. Relax. If you follow the tips in this guide, you will probably end up with a good portion of your Christmas shopping DONE. It is now time to concentrate on all of those other tasks that need to be completed before Christmas. Also, you may wish to complete your shopping in Bay City on a Sunday. Sundays in the City, running all of the holiday seasons, includes carolers, festive music and decorations, as well as so much more.