For many people the day after Thanksgiving (otherwise known as Black Friday) is the perfect time to begin (or even complete) their Christmas shopping. Stores typically consider this the busiest shopping day of the entire year. They greet shoppers with lots of discounts and markdowns and specials. And the shoppers do come – they come in droves.
If it is your plan to do your shopping on Black Friday, here are some tips that will help you survive the hustle and the bustle of the mall.
1. Try to arrive early. As a former retail employee I can share with you that the stores are usually quieter in the morning. The idea of Christmas shopping at eight in the morning may not thrill you – but does shopping at eight in the morning without any lines at the register sound like fun? You bet it does! There will be plenty of merchandise and lots of sales help available to help you at this time, and fewer people up doing their shopping. So go as early as you can stand it.
2. Create a plan of attack. If you need to visit several stores in the mall, check out their map (you can find a lot of them online at this point) and see where the stores are. You may realize that the majority of them are on one floor and then notice where the others happen to be. This can help you plan where you are going to shop first. Now if you are like most shoppers, not all of your shopping is planned out to every detail – and there are probably people on your list where you haven’t even figured out what you are going to get them. But for those where you have a good idea that you are going to the toy store for your children – that’s an easy stop to make.
3. Dress comfortably. Wear sensible shoes. Remember that you are going to be inside and that they are going to be pumping the place full of heat, you probably do not have to wear your warmest sweater. You might even want to leave your coat inside the car in the parking garage, so you don’t have to lug it around with you all over the mall.
4. Try to eat ahead of time or eat afterwards. What is going to be busier than the stores? If you answered the Food Court – you are following along quite nicely and I must say that you have had some experience shopping at the mall at holiday season. Getting lunch, or even a snack is going to be a challenge with the lines of now hungry (and cranky) shoppers all in line at the very same time waiting for food and then waiting for tables. Consider packing yourself a snack to eat while you are shopping – something portable like a bottle of water and a granola bar and a piece of fruit. This is also going to be much healthier than what you could find at most malls. Stop for lunch on the way home if you want to eat out, or just eat at home.
5. Get gift wrapping supplies to go. The gift wrapping department also gets very busy. You could very well spend an hour online at gift wrapping for “free” gift wrapping. Why not just ask for boxes and get pretty gift wrapping at a discount store and gift wrap your presents yourself? It will without a doubt take you a lot less time and it will get you out of standing in yet another line.
6. Keep a list of who you are shopping for and cross them off as you go. This will help you see your progress and who you still have left to shop for. You may not be able to get everyone’s presents done in a single day, most people can’t. But if you have an index card in your pocket with everyone’s names on it and some gift ideas, this can help you keep track of everyone.
7. Smile. The holidays come around but once a year!