Social Encore: Black Friday Survival Guide

Nov. 24, 2011 | 0 Comments

The author with some of her haul from last year's Black Friday shopping expedition. (Courtesy Jermel-Lynn Quillopo)

The author with some of her haul from last year's Black Friday shopping expedition. (Courtesy Jermel-Lynn Quillopo)

BY JERMEL-LYNN QUILLOPO / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Thanksgiving is a holiday where we pause from our crazy lives and give thanks for our blessings. But for people like me — a single-female who loves retail — Thanksgiving means that I only have one more day till the biggest shopping frenzy of the year. Tomorrow is Black Friday!

When people think of Black Friday, they think of mayhem at the malls (men, especially). However, being a veteran Black Friday shopper, I use various strategies to help me not only snag the best deals, but also save me time. Here are my top five tips to help you during this year’s rush.

1. Make a list

Whether the gifts you want are for yourself or others, or you plan to go to stores or browse online, a list always helps to keep you focused and organized.

The great thing about making a list and physically going to stores is that you can ask employees if they know the Black Friday deals in advance, or if they will be releasing any exclusive items that day.

Some stores — like Coach in Waikele — will even allow you to pre-shop and let you put items on hold so that on Black Friday, all you would have to do is pick them up and pay for them.

And if you own a smart phone, making a list is really easy. There’s an app for that!

2. Timing is everything

There are only four malls on Oahu: Ala Moana Center, Kahala Mall, Pearidge Center and Waikele Premium Outlets.

The important thing about knowing each mall’s hours of operation on Black Friday is so you can take that list you made and start mapping out a game plan. I usually go to Waikele first and then make my way east to Ala Moana. The outlet mall is where you may save the most on clothing items.

3. Dress for success

Be sure to wear snug clothing while shopping. The reason? So you can try on clothes right then and there!

Lines for the dressing rooms are sometimes just as long as those at the cash registers, so if you can cut time trying stuff on, that is a definite plus. Every second counts when you’re trying to find the best deals.

You will also want to wear comfortable footwear that can be easily removed — as much as you might want to wear sneakers, having to take them off and on can be a hassle. So on Black Friday, you will catch me wearing a snug tank top with leggings along with peep toe flats.

4. Friends don’t let friends shop alone

On Black Friday, you’re better off doing your shopping in pairs or groups. The reason why you would want to shop this way is because you can cover more ground in a shorter amount of time. Let your family and friends know which stores you are going to, as this allows them to be your eyes at other stores so that they can pick up items for you while they are there.

The other great thing about shopping with more than one person is when you are in one store, one person can stand in line to pay for items while you shop. After you are done shopping, switch places with the person in line to allow them to pick up whatever items they need.

5. Keep your receipts

Sometimes we think that we snagged a really great deal on Black Friday. However, what you also need to know is that Cyber Monday is right around the corner and you may find a better deal online. Be sure to take note of each store’s return policy, just in case you need to take something back for a refund in the weeks ahead.

I hope that this helps all you Black Friday shoppers out there. I also want to add that Ala Moana has an online cheat sheet available for download. It’s a brochure that shows all the deals at various mall merchants. This may also help you map out your game plan for tomorrow.

So eat up all of that good family food and get some good rest before the shopping madness. From my family to yours, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Jermel-Lynn Quillopo is a multi-faceted, energetic individual with experience in both print and broadcast journalism. “Social Encore” aims to tell diverse stories about Hawaii’s food, events and people; share your tips with Jermel via email or follow her on Twitter.

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