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Black Friday Afterthoughts

It has become a tradition in my household to go all out for the annual Black Friday sales. Living in Philadelphia, I have the privilege of going to the King of Prussia Mall, one of the largest malls in America. The Black Friday shopping spree tradition began about three years back and has been getting progressively more intense. In 2011, I arrived at the mall at around 5 AM and stayed until 10 AM. In 2012, I arrived at the mall at midnight and stayed until 5 AM. This year takes the cake—I arrived at the mall on Thursday at 8 PM and stayed until 3 AM. I then went home and slept for a solid four hours before waking up and going to Philadelphia Premium Outlets for another four hours of shopping.

I don’t claim to be the expert of Black Friday shopping, but I have gained some knowledge on the whole ordeal over the past few years. Here are a few tips that will hopefully shed some light on the best way to approach next year’s sales (or even this year’s Christmas sales).

1. Finding parking
The best way to find parking is to park by stores that nobody really wants to go to. If you park by big department stores, you’re asking for trouble. Alternatively, if you arrive late, make sure to follow shoppers with bags—chances are they’re about to drive home.

2. Time management
Stores are opening earlier every year. This year, sales started as early as 6 PM at big-name stores. Other popular stores, like Urban Outfitters, opened their doors at midnight. Make sure you know when sales end. You don’t want to miss out on buying something half-priced just because you didn’t read the fine print on the ad! Map out the stores you plan to go to so you don’t waste time aimlessly strolling the mall.

3. Get your caffeine fix
After a Thanksgiving feast you don’t really feel like walking around a mall in a food coma. Upon arriving at the mall, go straight to the nearest coffee establishment. There are two benefits to getting your shots of espresso in early. First, you’ll beat the line. Second, that Skinny Vanilla Latte will kick start your energy so that you can give your full attention to finding the best deals.

4. Bring a list
It’s easy to forget the things you went to buy when you’re overwhelmed by amazing deals. Make a list to keep track of the things you plan to get so that you don’t overbuy or accidentally forget someone’s secret Santa present.

5. Hydration and food
Bring a water bottle in your purse to keep you hydrated. Also make sure you take a break to grab food so that you don’t pass out. Grab a pretzel so you can eat while walking to the next store on your list.  

After all is said and done, make sure to get home safely and take the next day to sleep and recuperate. While Black Friday is a fun event, make sure you also take the time to enjoy Thanksgiving. After all, it is a holiday to be thankful for the people and things already in your life! 

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