CM’s Guide to a Pleasant Black Friday Shopping Experience

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While working in retail, Black Friday traumatized me because people acted ruthlessly. Shoppers didn’t think twice about the employees, most forgetting that common courtesy existed. You’ve seen crazy videos on YouTube–when it comes to discounts, people don’t know how to act. As Black Friday approaches once again, all of those haunting memories flooded back, so here are some tips on how to make it an easier and more enjoyable experience for everyone.

Practice Patience

There will be lines everywhere. It’s Black Friday, what did you expect? Take your pick from the thousand things that make lines go faster. If your clothes have hangers on them, take them off. This exponentially speeds up the checkout process. Don’t shuffle around your wallet for money once you get to the register; have it out and ready to go. Don’t give the cashier a death stare, wondering why it’s taking so long. As one of the most stressful days of a retail worker’s life, they most likely are going as fast as they can without messing up. If they mess up, it’ll take twice as long to complete a transaction, and that’s the last thing you want.  Also, don’t forget that many stores sensor everything now, so that also has the potential to take forever. So if you bought 27 items, don’t roll your eyes of tap your fingers on the counter impatiently. Be understanding and distract yourself from the long wait.

Use Credit Cards

Paying with credit cards is possibly the easiest way to shop–Black Friday or not. With one swipe, you’re outta here (kind of). It may not be that simple, but believe me, this is the fastest way to finish the transaction. Just remember that most places require an ID to verify that it’s actually you using your credit card, so today probably won’t be the best day to bring your mom’s cards. Some cashiers are lenient, but many stores have a strict policy because increases in identity theft. Just swipe and sign.

Avoid Cash

Let me speak on behalf of most retail employees: we hate cash. Please don’t be the moron that uses a f–king $100 bill to pay for a $7 sweater. Employees must verify whether or not it’s a real bill, which is really time consuming. One of my biggest pet peeves was also when people wouldn’t hand me the cash directly. I promise  I’m cleaner than the clothes that you just bought which have been sitting out for months. Customers would drop the money on the counter instead of handing it to me, as though they wanted as little contact with me as possible. Don’t throw the cash on the counter. Treat us like real people.

Stay Hydrated

This goes for shoppers and employees alike. There will be an excessive amount of people in a hot and crowded are, and some of you might be running on two hours of sleep. Water is essential to keep your body going when you’re sprinting around the mall and lifting entire televisions, so keep caffeine and a few snacks to recharge. That way, you don’t have to make an unnecessary trip to the food court—just snack and shop.

Study the Sales

S0me retail stores offer the same Black Friday sales  the week before, with a few exceptions. Honestly, electronics will be your best bet if you want to snag a huge deal. Clothes? Not so much, unless you go to one of the huge corporations where they can afford to offer huge discounts. How much cheaper can a $30 pair of pants be? It might get a little cheaper but it’s mostly the stuff on clearance that goes on an even bigger sale. If you want to find out which stores will have more sales, go online and see what kinds of promotions they’ll have in the store so you don’t waste time.

Don’t Bring Your Kids

The mall is not a day care, birthday pary or park. Unless you have an extremely well-behaved child, they usually run around and knock things down. Will they mess up the clothes I just spent 20 minutes trying to fold to perfection, and then run away? Possibly. Will they hide under the fixtures and go inside of the fitting rooms? Probably. Will their parents be completely clueless while all of this is going on? Definitely. So if you do decide to bring your little angels, it wouldn’t hurt to give them a little speech on proper mall behavior, otherwise Santa won’t bring them presents this year.

Avoid the Mall Entirely

Why don’t more people try Cyber Monday? Most of my friends shop online now, myself included, but I still see so many people at the mall. Is it a generational thing? Sure, you always run the risk of ordering the wrong size, but most stores have the same size charts so the risk isn’t as big as you might think. It beats the lines and crowds and you get to do it all from the comforts of your own home, while eating delicious Thanksgiving leftovers. Many stores have even better sales online with free shipping included. So take the plunge and go off the cyber end.

I am currently a senior at The University of Maryland. I like long walks on the beach or quick ones to Chipotle or Starbucks. I watch far more movies and television than I'll ever admit. Just kidding, I'll totally admit it.

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