FOR some, Black Friday is a day best spent safely at home nibbling on leftovers. But for the more zealous shoppers, it’s an endurance challenge, and she who returns with the most spoils wins.
Just ask Columbus residents Kristina Arnholt and Lisa Stephenson, who will be among the 147 million shoppers braving the cold and dark this Friday morning.
The pair are close friends, but on Black Friday, there is no time for pleasantries.
“We’re good friends,” 35-year-old Arnholt said. “She shops and I shop, but we don’t talk on that day. We’re not friends on that day.”
It’s understood among dedicated shoppers that if you’re out in the wee-early hours of Friday or the late hours of Thanksgiving Day itself, you’re on a mission.
“If you’re not in line to buy something, get out of the way,” Arnholt said. “If you’re there just to window shop, stay home.”
And no shopper should embark on such a mission without a few weapons in the arsenal. Let these Black Friday pros show you how it’s done.
Stephenson prefers to fly by the seat of her pants, opting instead to plan her Black Friday shopping trip Thanksgiving day. Last year, she set a personal record: 28 straight hours, beginning at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night. She says she completes nearly all of her Christmas shopping on Black Friday, and manages to find a few things for herself in the process.
“I’ve always been a shopper,” 40-year-old Stephenson says. “I end up with a lot of things I don’t need, just because they’re good deals.”
If 20 years of braving the crowds on Black Friday have taught her anything, she’s learned:
Arnholt maps out her trip weeks in advance. She leaves home between midnight and 3 a.m., and has usually hit three stores in three cities, including Indianapolis, by 8 a.m.
Planning is essential for such a feat. Endurance is important, Arnholt says. The 20-year veteran Black Friday shopper trains throughout the year, by walking and running, to maintain stamina for her marathon of holiday shopping on Nov. 23.
“If you plan ahead, it’s not such a mess,” Arnholt says.
To eliminate unnecessary distraction and keep your focus, Arnholt recommends having a game plan and preparing for possible pitfalls.
Use online resources, such as blackfriday.com and theblackfriday.com, which begin posting ads from big-box stores weeks before the items are marked down.
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