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The madness called Black Friday
A past Black Friday at The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley. - photo by Bulletin file photo

If you’re reading this this morning and hoping to run down and get in line and get your hands on a ridiculously -priced item, go make a cup of coffee instead.
You’re too late.
There will be no $100 computer left. There will be no $200 50-inch flat screen. There will be no $200 Xbox One. You’ve violated the cardinal rule in Day-after-Thanksgiving shopping, and that’s not getting out of bed early enough to claim the prize at the end of the battle.
But don’t fret. There will be other chances to get your beloved items, and you have to weight the correlation between cost and benefit. And let’s be serious here – is saving $150 worth a good chunk of your time?
And let’s be honest here.
Black Friday has changed.
When I first drew the short straw of showing up at a big-box store the morning after Christmas – usually Wal-Mart – the line and the dedication of the people that waited for hours in near-freezing (and sometimes freezing) temperatures was astounding.
But there was a sense of community involved in it.
A co-worker was always out there every morning with his family, one of the traditions that kept them strong as a unit.
Now, Black Friday has moved onto Thanksgiving Day itself. Workers have to give up dinner with their families and the shoppers themselves are changing their dinner plans in anticipation of the massive sales that draw people in with a handful of loss leaders.
While some have come to shun the revisions and changes to the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be just as people out there when you make the rush and the wait to get your hands on a ridiculously-priced computer or a super cheap television for the man-cave.
Here are a few things to remember if you’re planning on participating in the madness:
uPlan on being there for a while. Those that get their hands on the low-priced goodies are usually there the day before, and some spend their time in tents making sure that they’re guaranteed at least some of the bounty at any given store. Just don’t expect to show up and get a magical discovery if you didn’t plan accordingly.
uPlan accordingly. While showing up two hours before the store opens in the heat of the midday sun might seem comfortable, spending the night outside is often not. It gets much, much colder early in the morning than most people realize, and if you’re spending hours in those temperatures – especially if you’re normally covered up under a warm duvet – can be a challenge. Bundle up and make you sure you bring coffee or hot chocolate or something that will keep your hands from feeling numb. With no fingers you can’t really do anything, including catching up on that season from Netflix that you’ve been putting off.
uBe patient. Like I said at the beginning, if you’re not already standing in line (and for those of you that are, thanks for your dedication in reading this) then you’ve already missed out on the chances for the lowest prices of the season. Only they’re not. Yes, there will be items that stores will unload at below cost in order to attract you in, but only a few people, some of whom will spend days waiting, will get their hands on that. What has become even bigger than Black Friday over the last five years is Cyber Monday – the Monday after Thanksgiving when online retailers slash their prices in an attempt to draw people away from the lure of Holiday shopping centers. It’s hard to beat these prices from some of your favorite e-commerce distributors, and getting it dropped at your house without dealing with the indignity of finding a parking spot at the mall is a much better route anyway.
So grab that credit card you’ve been paying off all year and prepare to make a few special people in this world very, very happy.
Because Christmas time is here.
And we all know what that means.