Dac's Guide to Black Friday Success

I know a lot of you are like me; you love geek stuff. DVD’s, phones, video games, flash memory, iPods, TVs, computers, graphics cards, and just so much more. But you know what’s even better than geek stuff? Cheap geek stuff. I’m talking about brand-new-52"-1080p-LCD-HDTV-for-under-a-thousand-bucks cheap. And it seems like it’s that time of year once again. Black Friday is approaching, and you need to be ready for it.

Black Friday veterans can skip this paragraph: For those of you who are new to the Black Friday circuit, BF is the day after Thanksgiving, or as I like to say, Thanksgiving Part 2. Seriously, Thanksgiving is a day where we give thanks (to no one in particular, really) by rewarding ourselves through eating as much as we can handle and then some. And what’s more American than eating more than you need to? Shopping! So on the glorious Friday of Black, US citizens are blessed with the opportunity to indulge themselves with low-priced gadgets and presents. But, my friends, all is not happy-go-lucky in the world of Black Friday; it’s a cut-throat, dog-eat-dog situation where everyone must fend for themselves. If you don’t have a strategic plan, you have a good chance of failing. This is where I come in.

Now, I’ve experienced quite a few Black Fridays, both on the buying and selling ends of the rope. I’ve seen the weak fall, and the strong triumph. You have to know what you’re doing, or else you won’t get what you want. I’ve read a few BF articles before, and I have to admit, they all completely suck. I mean, they’re just freaking awful. You don’t need someone telling you "check the ads!" or "shop with a list!" Come on, how about I treat you like the vicious nerds you are, and not like a pregnant single mother. I’m going to let you in on a few pro tips that’ll ensure you have the most successful Black Friday possible.


Screw Online Shopping

Are you one of those people who’d like to sit at home, wait until 12:01am, and double-click for the best deals? Well, sorry guy, you won’t find them on your precious Intarweb. There’s a reason why the early-bird special exists; the big companies want you in their store! They want you inside, looking around, buying an excess amount of junk you don’t need! That’s why all of the best deals are always behind those front doors, not an IP address.


Consult Your Bible

Psalms 11:23 (see what I did there?) clearly states: "In order for thou to receiveth thy fairest deals, thy must gain true wisdom beyond thy’s brethren." Or… something like that. Anyway, I’m talking of course about the Black Friday Bible, otherwise known as BlackFriday.info. This is the holiest of holy Black Friday websites. It features all of the leaked Black Friday ads from all the major companies, and passes all of the information on to you. I’m going to repeat the website, and I need you to say it with me. Black. Friday. (One word.) Dot. Info. (The info is key, right there.) This will allow you plan out absolutely everything that you want come November 23rd. Which brings me to this…


Pinpoint Everything You Want

Most people are confused about Black Friday. They think it’s all about showing up early, running in as fast as they can, and snagging as much as their shopping carts can hold. These people fail. Fail hard. Black Friday is all about the foreplay; the actual event doesn’t matter nearly as much. I’ll say this right now – The most crucial part of Black Friday is the preparation days before. (And proper line etiquette, but we’ll get to that later.)

Make sure you go into this event knowing literally every product you want. And don’t just circle the items you’re thinking about getting in their ad, you noob. Write a detailed list on exactly what the products are, the brands, and the prices. Total it up, if you have to. Hell, add in sales tax, nerd. If you don’t have a preset list, you’re only going there to browse, which makes it like any other shopping day, because simple browsers don’t get shit for deals.


Visit The Store Two Days In Advance

This is crucial, and ties in heavily with the last tip. If you don’t know exactly what a product is, go check it out first. Find out what everything looks like so you’re not stumbling around, trying to locate the model you want. Build a mental (or physical) map of the store, and pinpoint each location of everything you want. The odds are there were be certain products that shuffle around; maybe the 4GB SD cards will be up front, and maybe the Bluetooth headsets will be in the back. But if you want a DVD, it’ll be in the DVD section. How about a monitor? Check the computer department. When you visit the store two days before BF, you should already have a complete list of exactly what you want, then modify it accordingly once you get there. This is strategic stuff, folks, and you can’t take it lightly.


Hide and seek, my friend. Hide and seek.

This is my favorite pro tip of all, and it only works in conjunction with the previous tip. It’s very simple: Go to the store right before Black Friday, find a few of the products you want, and HIDE THEM. Let me tell you a quick story about my Black Friday experience last year. I chose Best Buy for my Black Friday venue (which is my top suggestion). Last year, they were selling a spindle of 100 DVD-Rs for five dollars, which is a damn good deal. I immediately knew that this would be a hot seller. It was that product that no one actually came for, but everyone was like "yeah, I’ll be gettin’ computer, an’ a TV, and I guess I’ll pick up a few’a dem DVD packs." (Just a note: The people who talked like that are the exact people who didn’t get any of the three.)

So I walked into Best Buy two days before BF, and navigated my way to their writable media section. Sure enough, they were selling the exact DVD spindles their Black Friday ad showed, only instead of competitively pricing them at five bucks a pop, the unfriendly price tag said something more like "$59.99." Here’s how I rectified this situation. I grabbed a few (four) of those DVD packs and walked right on over to the kitchen appliance section (because no one ever looks there, ever), I opened up a vacant freezer, and stuck those bad boys right in the back for no one to see. Guess what. When Black Friday rolled around, there were only 500 DVD spindles for customers (and well over 4000 who wanted them), and they literally sold out in under 120 seconds. But when my shopping was nearing completion, I waltzed right over to the kitchen appliance section (where, for some reason, there was a long line of people), opened up that sacred freezer door, and pulled out four of the coveted $5 DVD packs that everyone wanted so badly. People in line were looking at me like I fucking discovered Narnia or something, and as I walked away, I witnessed a man step out of line and check another freezer (as if the staff stores the "extras" there or something). Success.

And this works with any of the items there. I hid the Arrested Development Season 3 DVD box behind Dora the Explorer. Now, on doomsday, no one was really going for Arrested Development (which is a damn shame, I’d like to add), but I still was ensured that I got my copy no matter what. Do this with all of the products you can, this way you won’t have to focus on them until the frenzy dies down. Just be smart in choosing your hiding places. Freezers are great for medium-sized items. If you’re item is small, try setting it behind stereos, keyboards, or washing machines. Don’t worry, the staff is lazy. No one cleans.


Come Alone

Don’t listen to the people who tell you to bring a friend. They’ll only slow you down. Certain line tricks (talked about later on) are impossible to do with more than one person, so it’s a good idea to prepare yourself for a lonely battle. The only reason to ever bring a friend is if you want to continually swap positions between the line and your car, but only pansies do that. Trust me on this one; being alone will allow you to accomplish much more. In fact, there’s only one friend you need to carry along with you…


Bring A Nintendo DS

No, I don’t mean bring entertainment, I literally mean bring a DS. A PSP is passable, but a DS is a far better solution. First off, it’s fun to play. That’s a given, though. (But make sure your screen backlight setting is on low to conserve your battery.) The main reason to choose a DS is because you’ll certainly find other people in the line with DS’s in-hand. Owning a DS is like being in a club. Everyone will welcome you with open arms for a few multiplayer gaming sessions. And hopefully, those welcoming you will be well in front of you in line, which leads me to this.


Make Friends, But Keep Moving

Let’s be honest, here. You won’t be first in line. You won’t even be close to first in line. We’re going to have to bust out the fourth grade playbook for this one, because we need to go over the key points in cutting the line. The important thing to remember here is that you do this at the start of your evening, not when the doors are about to open. There’s no security (or angered customers) in the early hours of the morning, and everyone waddles around anyway. But if you try this even an hour before they open those doors, you better believe your ass will be escorted to the back so fast you won’t know what happened. So anyway, here’s what you need to do. Make some friends. First, the ones behind you. (You need to appear to be social to everyone, not just the ones in front.) But look for that group of guys playing Mario Kart DS, or talking about your favorite TV show ahead. They’ll be there, trust me. Slowly navigate closer to them with your eyes focused on them. Do it casually. Remember Dac’s golden rule of life: If you look like you know exactly what you’re doing, no one will question what you’re doing. Once you start up a chat with them, boom, you’re in. Continue this cycle until there’s no one ahead of you that you can relate to, just don’t make it seem obvious.


Get Your Ass There Early!

I’m not joking. The people first in line are the people who ate their turkey in the parking lot. Now, I know that neither you or I are that dedicated (which is why we need to use the aforementioned advanced line techniques), but you can’t expect to even get a decent place in line arriving at 4:00am. Get there no later than 8 or 9pm on Thanksgiving. If you have something to do, that totally sucks, and you’ll really have to bring your A-game when conning the line. Last year, I showed up at around 11pm, and I was easily 400th in line. (But I’m so good, I ended up being in the top 50 when the doors finally opened.)

Here’s the other biggest reason to get a great place in line: tickets. Oh yes, the sacred tickets. Most big stores (including Wal-Mart and Best Buy) will hand out tickets for very coveted and highly-priced items about an hour before they open the doors. If you’re there to buy something over 50 bucks, you better be in line early to snag your ticket. This includes all TVs, printers, DVD players etc. Notice I didn’t mention computers. That’s because you won’t get a computer. Unless you’re willing to spend Thanksgiving in front of Best Buy, you won’t get a computer. Every one of the computer tickets was snagged within the first 20 people last year, and I wouldn’t expect it to be any different this time around.


It’s F’ING Cold Out There!

Unless you live in the depths of Florida or California, it’s November, and you’re going to be frickin’ freezin’ your ass off all night. This isn’t like skiing-in-Aspen cold. Oh no, this is much worse. Picture yourself entering a walk-in freezer, and just sitting there for 10 straight hours. Don’t just bring a coat and heavy clothes. Bring multiple blankets, a plethora of those air-activated hand warmers (check your local dollar store), hats, gloves, and anything else to cover your raw skin. If you do bring blankets, however, be sure they’re nothing special, because you’ll have to be prepared to ditch them when those doors open. I’d like to stress one more time: Those little hand warmers will save your life. Get as many as possible, because you can always sell them to people…


Sell! Sell! Sell!

Buying is only part of the fun of Black Friday! You’re the one spending all your hard-earned money, so why don’t you try making a little of it back on the side? Get two or three dozen Dunkin’ Donuts and sell ’em at a buck a pop. If you can, bring a giant coffee container and sell some java using those tiny Styrofoam cups. This one’s key, though, and doesn’t require you bringing anything. If you get there early enough, you’ll be in line for the aforementioned tickets. If you manage to snag a few of those for computers, TVs, and printers, you’ll be able to sell that shit so fast to people. I wasn’t one of the lucky ones getting the computer tickets last year, but I know that a few of the tickets were sold for over a hundred dollars a piece. Don’t feel bad doing it, either. You got there early, and you deserve the tickets. If people want them, they can go ahead and buy them.


Get The Little Things First

When they finally do open those doors, you’ll already have your ticket for the 700 dollar 42" LCD, so don’t rush straight there. You already have that secured, so don’t worry about it. Run (literally, run) straight to those Bluetooth headsets, or the cheap SD cards. Those small items that everyone seems to want will fly off the shelves so fast, so get there first. Don’t grab a shopping cart, crazy. Just snag what you can get at first, and when all the popular products are dried out, walk to the checkout line.


Multiple Transactions Are You Friend

Once you have the initial bunch of crap you wanted, go check out. Don’t be slow about it, but you’re past the rush. Black Friday is over for you; the exciting part is done. Bring some of the items to your car, then come back in for the rest. The odds are, anyone with a ticket for a big item (like a computer or TV) will be standing in an additional line to receive those items. Dude, you already waited in a line for 10 hours, I don’t think you’re all about spending even 10 more minutes wasting away behind someone else. Go grab your hidden items, and don’t be nonchalant about it, either. Be proud and show off the fact that you were smarter than Jane and Jeff over there who aren’t going to be leaving with 600 DVD’s like you. Finally, when you’re all finished paying for your hidden treasure, go back for the big stuff. It’ll still be there; your ticket says so.


Make No Promises

I’m a generally nice person. (I mean, I’m telling you all my secrets, aren’t I?) But here’s something you’ll definitely want to stay away from. Don’t make any promises to people who want something from the Black Friday ad. If they want something, kindly let them know that you’ll be going after your stuff first. If, by the time you’re finished shopping, their item is still there, you can snag it for them, but more than likely it’ll be gone. I made the mistake of trying to get my sister a computer. I’ll tell you one thing: that did not pan out well. Get your stuff, and stay in the zone. If they really want something, they can stand in line and wait for it, too.


Be Prepared!

(Remember The Lion King? Writing that totally reminded me of The Lion King…) So those are my pro tips for you. If you follow them, you’ll certainly have your best Black Friday yet. Now, there are always complications that could happen. Maybe they’re handing out the tickets after they open the doors this year, maybe they found your secret stash and put it back. Inevitable problems may arise, but that’s what makes thinking on your toes and being smarter than everyone else fun! If you stick to the formula and stay frosty, I have faith you’ll get everything you want this year.

Good luck.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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