"Black Friday" is a day of huge sales at many chain stores. Consumers can get especially good deals on electronics, appliances, and sometimes even cars. Clothes, too, are often steeply discounted. Here are 10 tips for shopping smart on Black Friday in Brooklyn, NY.
- Try to get Friday off work. Thanksgiving Thursday is a federal holiday, and public and private schools are closed on Friday. Still, many people including healthcare providers, retail sales clerks, and restaurant workers will have to report to work on the day after Thanksgiving. So if you're hoping to get big bargains on Black Friday this year, arrange beforehand to get that day off work. Note: In 2011, some retailers started "Black Friday" on Thanksgiving evening. In 2012, some started the week before Thanksgiving.
- Avoid impulse purchases. The best way to do this is to make a shopping list before you set out, with some idea of what you want to pay for each item--and stick to it. When there's a shopping frenzy all around you, having a list in hand is the best way to avoid making purchases you'll regret later.
- Scope it out first. You can't be in two places at once, alas. Will you go to an individual store, like Century 21, or a mall? In Brooklyn, New York, you've got a growing choice of malls: the Atlantic Center Mall? Kings Plaza? Macy's and the stores in the Fulton Mall? Or Gateway Mall?
- Prioritize the most expensive items first. You won't be able to get everything on your list, so you might as well save the most money on the largest items.
- Make sure your credit or debit card is ready for Black Friday shopping. There's nothing worse, or more embarrassing, than standing in line for an hour only to discover that your credit card isn't accepting the charge.
- Decisions, decisions: Are you a solo shopper? Or do you like company? For some, the motto "he who travels alone travels fastest" applies to shopping. Others like to bring their spouse, sister or friend. If you've got your eye on two very different big ticket items, like a TV and also a car, then you might need to enlist your family members or friends to help shop so you can get the best bargains early. If you've got young children, it's wise to leave them with a babysitter; this is heavy-duty shopping, and kids won't find it all that much fun.
- Be prepared to wait outside or in. Wear comfy shoes, travel light and bring a snack. Wear weather-appropriate clothes, like a jacket or raincoat if you're going to get to the store super early and wait in line outside. Wear super comfortable shoes, too — and outerwear that won't be bulky if you end up taking it off inside an overheated, crowded store. Bring snacks like an apple or energy bar, a bottle of water, and your patience. Lines can be long.
- Work out your transportation: Figure out how you're going to get to the store, and back. If you're going very early, check the mass transit schedules or the parking situation. If you plan to buy a huge item, like TV, either drive or have the phone number of a car service handy.
- Charge your cell phone or smartphone the day before so you can stay connected.
- Even if you don't arrive at 4 A.M. trying to get there as early as you can. Some stores have limited quantities on the best bargains. Some end their sales when you might normally be enjoying your second cup of morning coffee. As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm.
Or... Stay home instead! Have a bagel, stay in your PJs, and shop online. See www.DealsofAmerica.com or just check your favorite online sites.
Brooklyn shoppers — whether you're visiting for Thanksgiving or live in Brooklyn — have more than a few choices. You can go to the local Brooklyn stores and malls, which offer a good selection. Or, head to Long Island or upstate New York to the discount malls. And, of course, you can always head to Manhattan, a shopping mecca.
Tip: Some experts suggest that consumers can buy an item in advance, and then bring it with the receipt to adjust the price on Black Friday. This strategy carries the obvious risk that the stores will say no.
Black Friday is the retailers' way of enticing shoppers to start spending for the big Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa season. Happy hunting!