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Holiday promotes competitive shopping

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Put on your running shoes, apply the war paint and sharpen your elbows — Black Friday is coming.

The day after Thanksgiving is the time for serious shopping. Don’t even think about going if you’re a leisurely shopper because you are guaranteed to lose from the beginning. I’ve become convinced that professional Black Friday shoppers have a sixth sense that detects fear — they will take advantage if you don’t have your game face on. These are the shopping Olympics, after all.

Last year was my first Black Friday experience. My mom and I we to Walmart with the goal of getting a deal on a camera to give my little sister for Christmas. Unlike some stores, Walmart lets customers come in early and look at merchandise before they’re allowed to start buying.

The Black Friday items were set out in the main aisles, and the employees made it clear they weren’t to be put into shopping carts until the official “go!” announcement rang through the store. But don’t assume the race really starts at the sound of the bell because that would be logical. It’s not OK to put the items you want in your cart, but it’s OK to stand with your hand on the product you want while yelling at your child half the store away demanding not to let go of grandpa’s future Christmas gift.  

It’s clear that I’m not the Black Friday type, but I know many who live for it. Every year before Thanksgiving dinner, my grandma knows to set out the Black Friday fliers on the coffee table. As soon as the turkey has been demolished, the planning for tomorrow’s shopping begins. There’s price comparing, shoppers prioritize stores and couples plan to split up to make separate stops if needed.

I’ll sit out on Black Friday from now on and save my sanity, but I can understand the excitement. How many days out of the year do you get to compete while shopping? It’s become a family tradition for many and something they have fun doing together. Although it might seem like it at times, not every Black Friday shopper is out for blood … perhaps.

If you don’t live in fear of the Black Friday shoppers, just make sure to do one thing before you get caught up in the excitement: Don’t just compare Black Friday deals between sale fliers, but also check online. Many sites sell products at or below the “special” Black Friday price. It might not always be the case, but it’s worth checking.

So, I wish all you Black Friday shoppers well. Plan your attack carefully, and do your research. If you are going to commit yourself, you have to go all the way. And if it’s your first time, don’t show your fear — the practiced professionals will sniff you out.

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