December 3, 2008

Results of Black Friday 2008

My wife and I did some shopping on "Black Friday" the traditional shopping day the day after Thanksgiving. We got out to the stores around 6 A.M. and then we were done by around 9:30 A.M. We went to 6 stores total. We got a couple bigger ticket items that we wanted. One was a curio cabinet and the other was a gift. We also got some clothing for gifts and some other misc. bargain items. Overall it was a good experience. Big part of making a success was planning a head and limiting the time we spent. In 3.5 hours we saved a lot of money and it made it well worth our time. Plus we both enjoyed it.

Key things we did that made it a success:
Develop a plan in advance. We went through the ads the day before and identified the sales we wanted to try and get and decided on which stores to hit.
We stayed away from the busiest stores. That meant no Best Buy or Walmart. The most popular stores might have good bargains but you can spend hours in line to get in and then hours more to check out.
Got to stores at 6 A.M. but didn't stand in line. We could have spent all night in line or got up at 2 A.M. like many people. But by getting up at a somewhat reasonable time we minimized our total time investment and still got a decent nights sleep.
Stick to one area of town. We only went to 6 shops that were all within 2-4 miles of one another. If we'd driven all over town we could have spent hours in nasty traffic.

It appears that nationally the sales over Black Friday were OK. The survey from the National Retail Federation reported that sales were up over last year. They said: "...more than 172 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend, up from 147 million shoppers last year." and "Shoppers spent an average of $372.57 this weekend, up 7.2 percent over last year’s $347.55. Total spending reached an estimated $41.0 billion."

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