A guide to navigate the battlefield of holiday shopping with ease…
Black Friday is upon us, and brings with it, the official start of the holiday shopping season. Black Friday sales are traditionally American, and take place the day following Thanksgiving, but have become increasingly popular on this side of the border in recent years. Though the sales are generally not as good in Canada, and you likely won’t see a fistfight over a cheap kettle, it does give Canadians a chance to score some good deals before Boxing Day. Of course, the easiest, and most practical way to shop right now is from the comfort of your own couch and laptop. But just in case you want that instant gratification of holding the product in your hands the minute you purchase it I’ve got some simple tips for you to keep it together, and get shopping.
Tip One: Research and plan
Any great mission starts with a detailed, and thought out plan. Canadian Black Friday sales aren’t as much of a steal as they are in America, so do your research of what you’re looking for. A great tip is to use store websites to see which locations have the item you’re looking for in stock. Holiday shopping is way less painful when you research, make a plan, and stick to that plan. Try your best to not deviate from the plan. Once you’ve figured out what you need to get, and where you need to go, start making your list.
Tip Two: Strategically order your shopping
Stores are going to be busy. Expect to wait in lines. By knowing what you’re getting into before you get into it, you should be able to remain calm. If you have a few different locations to shop at, start with the busiest, and work your way to the more quiet and calm locations before heading home. Chances are your energy, and patience will be higher at the start of the day. This is not the time to leisurely browse. I cannot repeat this enough.
Tip Three: Know where to look for deals
As somebody who typically does their gift shopping with the “one for me, one for you” method, I know where the deals are. It’s all about knowing what products to look for when you’re in the research phase. Often, products that you already plan on buying as a gift (or for yourself, no shame) will come in a pre-packaged gift set for a great price. This is a really easy way to complete your gift shopping, while still going above and beyond for friends and loved ones.
Tip Four: Take breaks
It can be easy to get wrapped up in all of the shopping hustle. You’re eventually going to look at the time and realize you’ve been on your feet carrying bags, and dodging people for eight hours straight. If you’re starting to feel run down, take a break. Grab a tea or a coffee, put in your headphones and escape from the madness for a few minutes. Your mind and body will thank you for it later. Your energy, and spirits will stay high, and your shopping will be a breeze.
Tip Five: Be kind
Nobody likes a Scrooge. As somebody who has worked retail for a while, I can say with confidence that cashiers, and sales people are more inclined to go above and beyond for customers that are nice, than those who are not. Always remember that the people behind the registers are there to help you, but they’re people too. Sometimes they make mistakes, and they are more than willing to help make your holiday shopping experience a pleasant one.
Tip Six: Shop with friends who are just as hard-core as you
You are running a machine out there and you don’t need anybody bringing your team down. This isn’t the time to catch up with indecisive pals, and those who like to browse. Having somebody shop with you that has similar goals, and pace will keep you on track for your shopping. Before heading out, coordinate with your partner, and map out your shopping for the day. It’s always helpful to have another person with you to hold each other accountable, and keep on schedule.
When it comes down to it, shopping at this time of the year can feel like a battlefield. If you stick to your plan, and keep a clear head you should manage to make it out alive, and with all of your great finds. If you don’t get everything on your list, relax, there’s always a glass of wine, and online shopping to grab anything you may have left behind. So do your research, make your plan, and I’ll see you at the mall.