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Black Friday Shopping: How One Busy Mom Tackles The Challenge

As the working mother of five children, as well as a bit of a Christmas nutter (meaning, I loooooove the holidays, and I get really excited about everything that has to do with celebrating them), the day-after-Thanksgiving sales that have somewhat inexplicably come to be known as “Black Friday” are obviously a Very Big Deal in our family.

That’s because the budget for a Christmas gift list that includes that many children, plus my husband, all the nieces and nephews (we have lots), as well as various other family members and friends can really add up. As the Keeper of Christmas in our household, I am the one in charge of managing that budget and coming up with gifts everyone will love each year without breaking the bank. For that reason, effective sale shopping is obviously a big part of my overall Christmas budgeting strategy, and that means that I really have to take full advantage in a smart, thoughtful way of the huge discounts generally available on Black Friday every year.

After many years of honing my skills for getting the most out of those crazy-crowded and competitive Black Friday sales at the malls and big box retailers, thereby bringing home the best deals without ending up trampled to death by other shoppers, I thought it was time that I shared my supersecret ninja-expert Christmas shopping strategy with all of you so that you can benefit from my hard-won wisdom.

The key to Black Friday deal-scouting is to follow my step-by-step instructions as closely as possible to get the best results. Remember, I’m an expert, and you can trust me to know exactly what you need to do on the day after Thanksgiving.

So here goes.



1 – Sleep in as late as possible on Black Friday. After all, you’ll likely be off work that day, and your kids can readily forage for leftover stuffing, gelatinous cranberries and stale yeast rolls in the kitchen, thereby relieving you of the need to get up and prepare breakfast.

2 – After waking up, take leisurely hot bath. Lock bathroom door and tell everyone to stay out because you’re getting ready to take on the Black Friday challenge and you need to mentally prepare. Be sure you’ve planned ahead so that you will have the latest issue of the National Enquirer or Vanity Fair to read in the tub.

3 – After your bath, dress slowly but deliberately, then announce to your significant other or babysitter and your children that you will not be back til around midnight because you are embarking on an epic quest for Black Friday deals just so that all of them can enjoy Christmas to the fullest. Assure them that while it’s a sacrifice on your part to spend your whole day shopping for them, you will do it again this year because that’s just the kind of mother, partner and human being you are.

4 -Discreetly sling your bag containing your laptop or tablet computer over your shoulder and head out. Look determined, yet compassionate and loving as you leave your house or apartment.

5 – Proceed directly to a coffee shop or cafe with wifi. Make sure the place you select (I recommend advance planning) is far enough from your home that there’s no possibility your family can locate you. Also, be sure to disable any GPS or location-based services on your smartphone or mobile device because kids today are both smart AND sneaky, and they may attempt to track you down if they suspect you are NOT battling angry middle aged women and salespeople at the mall on their behalf, but are instead leisurely enjoying a tuna melt at a pleasant cafe whilst perusing the interwebs. If you drive, I also suggest parking around back; you can’t be too careful.

6 – Seat yourself at table or in comfy chair. Order tasty food and beverage. Open up and turn on laptop or tablet.

7 – Google “Black Friday sales” and/or “Black Friday discounts.” Sometimes “After Thanksgiving coupons” works well also.

8 – Begin shopping online, moving efficiently from retailer to retailer, ruthlessly pulling down THE best deals, and checking off gift after gift from the Christmas list you prepared in advance and have stored on your laptop or tablet.

9 – Ignore increasingly whiny texts from children and partner that will begin at approximately 2:49 pm and will continue until the moment you open the front door upon your return that night, all asking variations on the same two questions: 1 – “Are you finished yet?” and 2 – “When will you be home?”

10 – Complete all Black Friday shopping in time for the 4:45 matinee of that new George Clooney movie playing at a theater not far from the spot where you just did all your shopping. Eat large tub of popcorn at movie.

11 – After movie, move on to the restaurant where you and your sister or best friend have prearranged to meet up for dinner and drinks following your exhausting Black Friday exertions. Your best single gay boyfriend is an excellent choice for this post-Black Friday evening assignation because he will happily urge you to stay out later (since he himself plans to go clubbing after he finishes eating with you), and he’ll actually confiscate your phone if you even hint at responding to the volley of texts still being sent your way throughout the meal. Again, if you drove, I recommend parking your vehicle in the back because by this time, your partner or sitter may actually be driving around town trying to get your youngest to go to sleep in her carseat while at the same time hoping to run into you so that you can be convinced to return home immediately. Alternately, if you are the mother of teenagers, they could be out driving around themselves – likely at the direct behest of the adult you left at home all day – trying to find you and drag you back.

12 – Complete very leisurely meal, including dessert which you do NOT split with anyone. Say your goodbyes to sister/friend and the cute waiter who flirted with the two of you all night. Assure both of them that you will see them again next year on Black Friday – same time, same place.

13 – Head for home, slowly. Muss hair on the way and arrange face into studied look of contented exhaustion. If you happen to have mistimed your return so that your children are unlikely to already be in bed when you get there, detour to small indie bookstore for leisurely hour of browsing and last cup of coffee or tea. THEN head home when the coast is clear.

14 – Lather, rinse and repeat for Black Friday 2012, which will be here before you know it.

15 – You can thank me directly via Facebook message ;-)



This post is part of my (4)-part holiday series on how technology fits into my home/family life, sponsored by Dell. See my other posts on this topic, and posts from other bloggers, over at the Dell Family Tech page




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