QA Graphic

Black Friday Shopping Tips

This past weekend I was one of the crazy ones to stand in line on Thanksgiving night to await for BestBuy to open. In Massachusetts, retail stores were not allowed to open until 1am the day after Thanksgiving. I was one of about 200 people that stood in line in mild New England night.

I was crazy enough to wait in line because I knew the SanDisk USB Flash Drives sale was really good. I figure the store would have limited inventory and would most likely run out by morning. I figure that it was low risk since it was something that most people in line wouldn't be going after.


Here are some Black Friday advice based on my experience at Best Buy in Framingham:

You should know what the best deals are. There are a lot of low quality products that are available at deep discounts just to get people in the door. Check out the circular online and see if there's anything really worth standing in line for.

Visit the store ahead of time to be familiar with the store layout. I lost valuable time trying to find where the USB drives were in the store. I should have gone into the store a couple of days earlier to know where they display thumb drives. I could have lost out on getting what I wanted because I didn't know where things were. I saw other people looking for the Flash drives near the hard drives, where in fact BestBuy displayed them near the laptops.

Arrive Early. The store was scheduled to open at 1am, and the line increased the most around midnight, with a lot of people arriving with 20 minutes of the store opening. You should plan to get to the store as earliest as possible, you could always bring a book or something to read while waiting. If you have a smart phone, bring a USB charger. I arrived about an hour and a half before opening. I felt that it was the perfect time to arrive.

Employees of Best Buy were walking down the line to inquire what people wanted. This was good because if their was a high demand item, you at least know if you have a shot at getting one. Plus if the people in front of you were hold spots for a friend, your certain to get your merchandise - if they arrive late. In addition, it's an opportunity for them to let you know if they are out of stock on any items.

Know your product that your going to buy. While I waiting to checkout someone behind inquired about the 4k TV that the guy in front of me had. He said that it was $399. So the guy behind me said, "Wow, that's a great deal, I am going to get one!"

All I could think was, really? You know nothing of the TV but the fact that it was 4K and $399 was enough to want one? (It was the LG 43" Ultra HD TV Model: 43UF6400) What about the quality of picture? What does the TV offer in features? How does it compare to other TVs selling for twice as much? Nope. None of this mattered, it was all about the adrenaline rush to get the best thing.

Make sure you know the price of what your buying! When I arrived at the display the product I wanted didn't have a sign that it was for sale. I had to double check the BestBuy website to confirm that I was getting the right Thumb drive type. When I checked out, the old price still rang up. I had to show the person at the register what the price was supposed to be. They quickly corrected it, but had I not alerted them of the item, they would have still sold it for the old price.

The lack of price acuracy is not surprising since this is the first hour of the sale. Make sure that you know the specific product that is on sale. Make sure they ring up the correct price when you check out. Double check before getting in line, as you don't want any delays when you check out. You will need to show them the correct price, don't assume that it will ring up correctly!

Once you find your product check out immediately. There are a lot of shoppers coming in the store. This means the registers will soon be busy too. This isn't the time to go browsing. You should know what you want, get it and get right to the checkout line. Ideally you should be getting only a couple of items, this isn't the time to browse around the DVDs.

In addition, know where the shopping line starts. At the store I was in, the entrance to the registered started in the back of the store. The people waiting in line got a map of the store and it was clearly mark on where the checkout line started.

It's not the end of the World. If you didn't get the best possible TV or outfit that you wanted. There will be other sales. This year Black Friday sales numbers are down compared to last year. More shoppers are going online to find the best deals. This means that retail stores will look for more ways to get you to stop by. Expect the next big rush on December 19th, as the Saturday before Christmas is a pretty busy day!