Reminders and rules for Black Friday

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By Mark Sweetwood

Managing Editor


Welcome! We're glad you found our little page!

Right now, I want to share some essential reminders and rules for Black Friday shopping:

• We've already covered the shopping list. Do not leave home without it.

• Plan a route by reading the biggest Vindicator of the year and noting when stores open. Walmart opens at 10 p.m. Thursday night, but they don't sell electronics until midnight. Target and Best Buy open at midnight but J.C. Penney and Sears open at 4 a.m. while Big Lots opens at 7 a.m. Yes, you can literally shop until you drop. But precision is key.

• Use a car with a big, empty trunk. If you are buying something very large – one of those 40-inch TVs, perhaps – make sure you bring along a friend with a SUV or a pickup. Plan now for how you will get those treasures home.

• Employ the buddy system. Shopping in packs helps you obtain the best bargains. Most stores have limited supplies of the great deals so it is best to hit several different departments simultaneously. Many of the best bargains are only offered for limited times. Also, there is safety in numbers. Black Friday is a fun time but you have to be on the watch for those who might want to take advantage of your carefree fun.

• Wear comfortable clothes. It'll be chilly in line BUT hot in the stores. Layers! And avoid bulky coats, boots, etc. Instead, think: jackets, sweats, etc. Plus: comfortable shoes are a must.

• If you plan to be in line for an hour or so, plan ahead. Bring bottles of water, small bags of snacks and something to pass the time like a hand held game, a smartphone, a book, the biggest Vindicator of the year, etc.

• Make sure you know how you are going to pay for your gifts and have a plan. Hit an ATM before you hit the line, if you plan to pay with cash. Sort your cards so the debit card is on top. Make sure you grab your check book before you leave the house.

• Black Friday is for SHOPPING. The lines at the cash registers will likely be long. Don't make a hectic day worse by being one of THOSE shoppers who a.) argues about a price at a cash register (if an item is missing its price tag, find an associate in that department BEFORE heading to the register to check a price or grab the same item with a price tag and take it with you to the counter); b.) slows down the customer service desk by deciding to return an item today from a purchase made weeks ago; c.) both misreads a coupon and then decides to debate it; or d.) takes 30 items to a 10-item or less line.

My favorite irritating shopper is the one paying by check who waits until the purchase is entirely totaled before slowing searching for her checkbook from her overstuffed purse and who then proceeds to fill one out with the painstakingly slow, precise penmanship of one of the signers of the Magna Carta.

How do you always get in front of me?

Next: My version of midnight madness tonight: "The Top 10 Reasons for Losing Sleep on Black Friday." This is your preview to the huge bundle of ads you'll receive Thursday morning.

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