By Tabby Hardman
While standing in line in an over-sized, puffy coat waiting to purchase a measly few items at the Leesburg Outlet Malls in Leeseburg, Va., I am surrounded by teenage girls pumped up on caffeine, grown women spritzing their faces with Evian facial spray to keep lively, and multiple people carrying binders of coupons chronologically organized by which store would be hit when. It was Black Friday 2011, and to say the least—I felt very ill-equipped.
Having had time to reflect on my shopping experience I have some advice for those who plan to venture into the abyss we like to call “Early Bird Specials,” this coming Friday which will not only aid their couponing but help them to sustain the potentially treacherous event.
1. Wear Comfortable Shoes
This is the most crucial detail. Between lines, walking, and getting in and out of cars—your feet will take one heck of a beating. This is not the time to wear your wedge-sneaker shoes ladies! Be reasonable and strap yourself into some heavily soled sneakers or boots. It’s not a fashion show at three in the morning.
2. Wear A Light Coat—Not A Wooly Fleece!
Stores get hot, plain and simple. There are bodies everywhere, brushing shoulders left, right and center. Yes, it may be cold out this time of the year but you will be spending majority of your time brushing up next to every human known to man, and the last thing you want is to add fuel to your fire—literally. A T-shirt and a hoodie or jacket is enough; you will be less hot, less thirsty, and more relaxed which will allow for—more shopping!
3. Pack A Bag Of Goodies/Snacks
I am like a vacuum when it comes to food—I get hungry every three hours which is not a beneficial trait in a situation like Black Friday. That is why I highly recommend packing hearty but healthy snacks like, trail mix, fruit, crackers, a small sandwich, and lots of water. Foods like that are natural energy and won’t send you spiraling down into a food coma. Also, there is no need to fuss with lines at Mickey D’s and Wendy’s along with the other 500 people who had the same bright idea. A mistake I made last year.
4. Organize Your Coupons
Prior to leaving your home, make sure you have clearly separated and categorized your coupons into a mini file or binder. This may sound ridiculous but it’s a good way to reduce travel time and increases shopping efficiency. You will maximize your time in one location, visit all the stores necessary in that specific area and confidently move onto the next sight. There won’t be any “Oh darn, I forgot to go into Charming Charlies!” Think of it as circuit training for shopping—you have to complete one stage in order to move onto the next.
5. Don’t Wear Overly Complicated Clothing
When choosing clothing, I have to try it on. You need to get a feel for it on your body and if it will look as good on you as it does on the rack. Black Friday is all about high volume and speed—which is why you must wear clothing that you can slip on and off quickly. There are going to be 3,000 people trying to push their way in and out of the dressing rooms, so you have to be swift. Grab it, try it, and go!
6. Go With People Who Can Move At Your Pace—Or Go Alone!
One thing I hate when shopping are lagers. It’s not fun for you or them. They want to browse and you want to bolt. Which is why, choose your shopping buddy(s) carefully. Make sure you want to go to the same places and have a similar idea for how you want the night to transpire. You don’t want a fight breaking out in the middle of a sizzling sale in Forever 21.
7. Sleep During The Day
Sleep is a big one. If you don’t sleep, you won’t make it. Simple. Pack in at least six or seven hours during the day and when you rise drink a few glasses of water to charge your system. When everyone around you are dropping like flies, you’ll feel large and in charge.
8. Pack Essentials
It will be a long night, which is why it wouldn’t hurt to pack a miniature pack of cleansing face wipes, facial cream, eye cream, contact case/solution/glasses (for contact wearers), breath mints/gum, facial spritzing spray, hair ties, chapstick/lipgloss, eye-drops, and anything else you deem fit. These are all items that can fit in your purse, won’t weigh you down and will save your night!
Good Luck Ladies!