Black Friday Driving and Shopping

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It’s hard to believe that it’s almost Thanksgiving, and even more so, that there are 34 days left until Christmas! There’s one high-stress, high-traffic, and sometimes fun day in between called Black Friday. It’s the infamous day of long lines, super sales, and packed parking lots. We have a few tips to help you navigate through the day and arrive home safely with all your deals.

Do your homework. Stores are competing for your business – big time! Some experts predict that remaining uncertainty in the economy and a shortened period of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas will result in much lower spending this year. Retailers are responding accordingly, trying to lure shoppers by releasing ads even earlier and using social media to promote their sales. You may have to like a page or sign up for emails, but you can use this to your advantage. You have several days to plan ahead and choose where you are going to shop.

Do more homework. Know your prices and know them well. Black Friday is designed to generate excitement. If you go into a store unaware of normal prices, you may spend too much, thinking you’re getting a great deal. Keep an app like RedLaser or ShopSavvy handy, so you can compare prices while you’re in the store.

Drive safely on the road. Stores open earlier and earlier every year. In fact, despite much controversy, several are offering big deals on Thanksgiving Day, at least before the clock strikes midnight. Remember, there is the possibility of folks on the road who have been drinking or remain in a daze from too much turkey and pie. Don’t be one of them, of course! Also, make sure you get enough rest to be driving safely. It also wouldn’t hurt to take along a friend.

Park wisely. Parking lots are notorious for trouble on Black Friday. Park a bit farther away and enjoy walking off that extra piece of pumpkin pie; you’ll save a lot of time when you’re leaving. Be especially careful when backing out. Drive slowly. Many folks travel fast enough in parking lots that the airbags may deploy if hit; keep this in mind and buckle up immediately. Watch for pedestrians. Also, make sure you put your shopping bags, especially for electronics, where they cannot be seen from the windows. It takes only seconds for a thief to smash and grab, doing a lot of damage along the way. Also, remember to keep your cool. No deal or parking space is worth a confrontation with a stranger.

Don’t forget alternatives. Retailers are also offering deals online, so you may save by shopping from the comfort of your home. Support local businesses; you may find some amazing buys on unique finds on Small Business Saturday, which is November 30 this year.

Whatever you choose to do on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, we wish you a happy holiday shopping season!

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