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This is How I Roll on Black Friday

This post is part of a 4-part series on how technology fits into my family life, sponsored by Dell. See my other posts, and posts from other writers, at the Dell Family Tech page.

Black FridayMy older sister had to leave our Thanksgiving lunch at 4pm. She needed to be asleep by 5pm tonight.  And at work by 2am because, you guessed it, she works for a major retailer and they are opening the doors at 3am this morning.  Last year it was midnight, which seems to be standard practice.  I hear some retailers are opening up at 10pm TONIGHT for their “Black Friday.”  Shouldn’t that be called “Insane Thursday?”  Remember when the door-busting sales really did happen at 7am?

Here’s a performance that reminds me of this holiday shopping craziness by the a cappella group Straight No Chaser:

I get it.  The Black Friday deals are amazing.  My brother-in-law was telling me of a 42″ screen television that will be on sale for around $180.  Yes, that’s incredible.  Barbies for $3.99?  Yes, I would be compelled to stock up on 20 (do they even allow for that?).   And, I know for many people the physical hunt of deeply-discounted goods on Black Friday is exciting.  My sister was telling me that last year she saw a family split up at her store each with their own list of goods they were seeking and communicating with each other on walkie-talkies.

But, I just haven’t done it.  Maybe, I’ll put it on my Life List one day.

For now, this is how I roll:

1) Watch Amazon.com like a hawk. Have you seen their Black Friday deals?  Amazon’s Black Friday is a week long and they’ve researched the Black Friday deals other stores are planning so that they can beat their prices.  These lightening deals are on a schedule so you can see what’s coming up.  Better yet, you can do it all from your couch while simultaneously watching the Real Housewives on Bravo.

2) Visit flash sales sites throughout the year.  The flash-sale sites like Gilt, One Kings Lane and Fab.com, for example, bring you the door-busting Black Friday experience to your computer everyday.

3) Embrace Cyber Monday, like NOW. Yes, just like Black Friday has now started on Thursday, Cyber Monday starts on Thanksgiving Day.  I keep the last promotional email from all my favorite shops and whenever it’s time to shop I search my email inbox and hope that I have the latest deal.  If not, I go to #4.

4) Never shop online without looking for a promotional code. I never ever shop online without searching Retail Me Not or Google for a promotional code that gives me some sort of discount.  Sometimes I don’t find anything.  But usually, at a minimum I get free shipping and/ or 10% off, sometimes more.

5) Shop for good. Two of my favorite stores, CB2 and Alice & Olivia are giving nice discounts to shoppers if they bring in donated items.  In the case of CB2, it’s canned goods to benefit Share Our Strength and at Alice & Olivia it’s children’s goods like diapers to benefit Baby Buggy.  Retailers, if you’re reading, please do more of this.

6) Shop Small Business Saturday. On Saturday, November 26 I am shopping small businesses.  Eighteen months ago my sister closed down her very popular children’s shop in Brooklyn which was the manifestation of a childhood dream.  And, that just breaks my heart.  Her store was a vital part of the community in which we grew up.  Besides selling baby and children’s gear and clothes she also offered high-quality prenatal classes.  I’ll be shopping because I know that sometimes these shop are in business because the shop owners love what they do.  It’s personal, not just business.

May the Force be with you this shopping season.

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