Time To Formulate Your Black Friday Safety Strategies

Looking ahead to Black Friday, America’s annual equivalent of soccer hooliganism, Bargain Babe Julia Scott enlists the help of fellow blogger Suzanne O’Connor to compile some safety tips to keep in mind when you brave the ravenous deal-hunting crowds.

Some tips from the post:

* Don’t carry a handbag. “You really want to be hands free,” Suzanne said. “If you have two arms it is better for safety. You won’t get knocked over. Plus you have talons, you can hold onto things.”

* Wear comfortable/athletic shoes so you can move quickly and be able to maneuver. “Keep your those little spike numbers at home,” she said.

* Shop with a friend – if you both have the same goals for the day. Are you focused on crossing every item off your list? Don’t shop with a girlfriend who likes to chat. Leave at home anyone you are going to argue with over purchases (like a boyfriend). Talk before you go and make a plan of action.

Other advice includes common courtesy — don’t start a fight by grabbing stuff out of peoples’ hands — and avoiding parking lots when possible to skip out on road rage.

If you’ve got some more Black Friday survival advice, share it in the comments.

Black Friday Safety [Bargain Babe]
(Photo: OldManMusings)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Aeroracere says:

    Safety Tip #1: Stay home on Black Friday! Screw the sales; it’s not worth it.

    • halcyondays says:

      @Aeroracere: Amen. I can’t stand crowds. It’s just not worth it to me save a few bucks. I’d rather scour the intertubes for deals.

    • MostlyHarmless says:

      @Aeroracere: Fourthed. For me, theres no sale really thats worth standing out in the cold for hours in the middle of the night, and then fighting and arguing and then standing for hours in the checkout lane WHILE fighting for my safety.

      Though the unfortunate part is that there are people who probably need those sales to get what they need.

      • Kaessa says:

        @MostlyHarmless: “Though the unfortunate part is that there are people who probably need those sales to get what they need. “

        Probably “want” rather than “need”. If you have to get up at 3am and fight the crowds because you “need” to save a few bucks, maybe you should reconsider the purchase. ;)

        I’ll be sleeping in on Black Friday, thanks. :)

    • aftercancer says:

      @Aeroracere: Staying in works for me. I would love to be able to be a fly on the wall though, especially somewhere like Walmart

    • Beef Supreme says:


      You mean I shouldn’t go buy a 50 inch flatscreen from WalMart and then have it stolen from me in the parking lot?

      Why, I never!

    • DoubleBaconVeggieBurger says:

      @Aeroracere: Nobody shops on Black Friday anymore, it’s too crowded. :)

    • Outrun1986 says:

      @Aeroracere: Totally agree, I stay home and shop online for the real deals. The prices are usually cheaper than the stores anyways (note: usually). If there was a price different it probably wouldn’t be worth standing out for.

      Also I think the expense of medical bills that could possibly occur from being involved in a black friday mob would negate any savings that you would save that day. IMO, its just not worth the risk to save $5.

    • inadequatewife says:

      @Aeroracere: My strategy is simple. Stay home, catch up on some programs on the DVR, make a nice dinner, spend time with the family.

      Oh, and read Consumerist articles about dumbass shoppers who get trampled by the hordes of people in line for the receipt checker at Walmart.

      There is absolutely nothing (not even 99 cent ipods) that justify waking up at 3 am to fight the parking lots, crowds of people, long lines and other ridiculous behavior.

    • friendlynerd says:

      @Aeroracere: I’ve seen very little that can’t be found online at the same or similar prices. Screw black friday.

    • madog says:

      @Aeroracere: I was going to suggest the same thing. I get angry enough as it is on the road where I live, and Black Friday is just a huge pain in my ass.

    • Real Cheese Flavor says:

      @Aeroracere: This.

      It’s a day off from work for me. The last thing I’m going to do on a day when I can sleep in is get up when it’s still dark to go stand in a line.

      No sale price is worth that kind of laziness.

    • PsiCop says:

      @Aeroracere: +1 on staying home. It’s what I intend to do. Especially since people have been trampled to death over Black Friday deals. Not going there. No way, no how.

    • madanthony says:


      I used to do the Black Friday thing – back about 8 years or so when I started, I could roll up at a store an hour before they opened and be about #30 in line, and walk out with hundreds of dollars of free after rebate stuff. I could hit multiple stores within a couple hours and be home before I normally would wake up.

      But in the last few years, the number of people who show up has gone up exponentially. A few years ago I showed up at Circuit City at 11pm for a 5am opening, and was too late to get the $300 laptop. The deals are also not nearly as good as they used to be, and with the number of people you can’t really go to more than one store and expect to find anything. Plus, many of the stores I used to go to (Circuit City, CompUSA, OfficeMax) aren’t around anymore.

      So for the last few years, I’ve stayed home. I’ve scored some decent deals online, and haven’t had to spend 8 hours in the cold outside.

      • Outrun1986 says:

        @madanthony: I seriously doubt you could that these days, I haven’t seen any free after rebate items at least in the last 3 years. Lines usually start at 2pm or earlier on Thanksgiving day and if your not one of the first 1-2 people there you will not be getting any doorbusters. Most stores only have 1-2 of the doorbuster items available for purchase. The deals have been mediocre at best and if you shop on websites like slickdeals all year long I guarantee you you will think the same. If you find something like that it might be at a site like Amazon.

        The doorbusters can be considered mediocre too depending on the product, an HDTV for $100 isn’t gonna do you any good if it goes belly up in 6 months and isn’t designed to be repaired easily.

        Speaking of free items my friend and I found a video game at Amazon called Spectrobes: Origins for the Wii, and it was on lighting deal for 19.99 a copy. However if you ordered 3 copies it came to something like $29 because there was some kind of other promotion I don’t remember exactly what it was. Combine that with ECA codes that were still working at the time. The games trade in to Amazon for at least $20 each and the game still retails for 49.99 on most store shelves. Amazon was basically paying him to take the games.

    • kaceetheconsumer says:

      @Aeroracere: Yup, that’s our strategy too.

      Which sucks because that’s my birthday weekend so I never get to go out for dinner on my birthday but even then, screw it, I don’t want a dinner where I have to wait for ages while cranky shoppers are waiting for a table too.

      We like to stock up on groceries in advance and then bunker down and wait for all the crazy people to go do their consumption-overload nonsense. We try to avoid going anywhere for anything between Wednesday evening and Monday morning..

    • chrisexv6 says:



      Are the deals REALLY worth that much effort? I did the BF thing ONCE and will never do it again.

      If I really want something, Ill take a leisurely drive to the store at some sane time during the day. If the item is there, Ill buy it. If not, oh well.

    • uberbitter says:

      @Aeroracere: If you wait until mid-late morning, there are plenty of sales to take advantage of (including Black Friday only ones), plenty of store staff to help you, and less of a crowd than a typical weekend. I’ve gone out with my mother and sister for the last 10 years or so and we always have a pretty stress-free day of shopping (though I refuse to drive…).

  2. jaydez says:

    * Pack heat just incase the crowd turns into a crowd of zombies.

    * test drive an F-150 SVT Raptor that day (for the whole day) to avoid all traffic and this all road rage.

    • ArcanaJ says:

      @jaydez: You forgot about the industrial first aid kit and the pack full of sammiches. This is WAR soldier!

    • bloggerX says:

      @jaydez: I find flamethrowers as an exceptional weapon to use against zombies. It throws them off track of you, they bump into each other, making easier on your weapons ammo.

  3. shepd says:

    If you’re up North, and I’m not just suggesting Canada, but Norther US States too, wearing something other than boots and a thick coat in line is a dumb thing to do. Don’t wear sneakers unless that cheap TV is worth your toes.

    • Etoiles says:

      @shepd: I dunno, up in MA / New England, Thanksgiving can be anything from 25-and-snowing to inexplicably-70. If it’s the latter, stick with the sneakers. ;)

    • Kuchen says:

      @shepd: Pshaw. Minnesotans don’t put on their winter coats until it’s in the teens. And you don’t need boots until it’s well below zero.

    • El_Red says:

      @shepd: Canada does not have a Black Friday. So we just watch the madness from a safe distance…

      But we do have Boxing Day on 26th December (similar sales craziness). Even colder and snowier then. I guess, this is why no one lines up at 3am.

  4. SatisfriedCrustomer says:

    Carry some play $20 dollar bills with you – if necessary, drop a few on the floor to distract the crowd while you grab the last item on the shelf.

  5. bravo369 says:

    I just don’t understand black friday. I researched my purchases and I know what tv I want and what Washer & dryer I want. I look at the black friday ads and is it ever listed? no. it’s all the year old crap that probably should already be priced at what they are listing it at since it’s the old models. i guess if you just want to TV then go ahead but I figure that if I’m already spending that much money, I might as well wait a little longer and get the one I want with the features i want.

    • WonderKatGoBoom says:

      @bravo369: Agreed. Evidence seems to suggest that a lot of Black Friday shoppers don’t budget/internet shop throughout the year- if they did, they’d know that it just might not be worth it.

      I’m five feet tall and under a buck. It’d be wreckless of me to go to the mall on Black Friday.

    • Ragman says:

      @bravo369: I’ve noticed the electronics I’ve been interested in for BFs have a tendency to hit that price point a year or so later.

  6. NoDavidOnlyZuul says:

    2:00 wait in line @ Old Navy
    3:00 Free Lego Rock Band with $20 purchase @ Old Navy
    4:00 Wait @ Target
    5:00 Season 3 of Psych $12.99 and other items
    6:00 ?
    7:00 Cracker Barrel for Breakfast

    Nothing at Best Buy really wowed me this year.
    My aunt normally shops at the mall stores and i take care of the perimeter stores. after that i can go home and relax. Black friday is more about shopping for me than anyone else. Never would i go to walmart on black friday. i went in one 3 hours after they opened and it looked like a bull in a china shop. Keep in mind it’s one of the nicer walmarts (Orland Park, IL).

  7. Daggertrout says:

    Ask Troy Hurturbise if you can raid his closet.


    • lemur says:

      @Daggertrout: Yep, full body armor is a must. A helmet too…

      And then the fashion accessory which will set you apart from the rest of the crowd: water wings. Because you never know what could happen.

    • RandomHookup says:

      @Daggertrout: Troy’s suit is only appropriate for grizzlies — not frenzied shoppers in Bayonne.

      I think I saw Troy at the Ig Nobels years ago. I know they venerate him there.

  8. El_Fez says:

    My strategy? stay the hell away! Get some sleep! Enjoy your time with the family on Thanksgiving and eat some more pie. DONT stand out in the cold in the middle of the night like a dufus.

    Simple, no?

  9. Rick Dobbs says:

    People are going to be looking harder than ever for deals this year and retailers know it, Black Friday is going to be nuts.

    My tips:
    – I’ve seen some lines go around the store. Bringing someone to go stand in line while you take turns shopping helps a lot. Especially places like Kohl’s and Wal-Mart that have slow checkout processes. You can get right in line and still have time for you to both look for the things you want.

    – Make sure you get all the flyers and don’t go to a store that really only has one thing you want (unless it’s a BIG thing like a $19 plasma TV or something).

    – In relation to the last one, don’t expect to get the $19 plasma, you probably won’t. Going to a store for just the one item like that is going to leave you feeling disappointed.

    – Snacks in my wife’s purse have saved the day many times. Bring enough for the poor suckers standing in line around you too, they probably didn’t think of it.

    – BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU GO IN TO A STORE AS IT OPENS. No one should die just because you want a bargain. This isn’t funny because it’s true and has happened.

    – Don’t be a dick.

  10. Opoponax says:

    My plan?

    Stay the frak home. Seriously. Nobody needs cheap plastic garbage from China so bad that I should have to spend hours fighting off mobs in a big box store to acquire it for them.

  11. TheLemon says:

    Don’t forget to protect against identity theft. Watch out for card skimmers.

    Yeah, I’m staying home.

  12. mbd says:

    I do all my holiday shopping in January or February before. The stores are not crowded, and everything is on sale. For me, who I give gifts too does not change much from year to year, so I have not problem storing away the gifts till December. I occasionally pick up an extra or unexpected gift in December, but only if it is something I come across in my travels. I would never go out specifically gift shopping during this time of year.

  13. Eldritch says:

    I have to work on Black Friday and it’s just as horrific from behind the counter. Seriously, sometimes I think they should give us hazard pay. Last year, someone tried to punch out one of my associates because we had just sold the last Rachael Ray cookbook that had been on sale for 50% off.

    Everyone shopping on Black Friday, please remember to be nice to the poor sods who are working that day!

    • XTC46 says:

      @Eldritch: I love working black friday. My favortie day of the year when I worked for CompUSA was getting to work a 24 hour shift on black friday (9pm to 9pm typically). I was comissioned based, and was typically one of the only ones in the store that was (I worked for business sales, and we got comission, retail did not) and the rest of the business guys were off for the holiday. So I would sell tons of stuff, we got 5 catered meals on black friday, we got holiday pay, and over time pay typically, and its fun and exciting.

      I would make tons on that day, and could usually do double my monthly quote in a single day, I miss it.

  14. ElizabethD says:

    Black Friday chez nous: Get up late. Get doughboys from Iggy’s for breakfast with nice hot coffee. Watch TV. Read newspapers. Soup for lunch. Spend time with two kids who live out of town. Don’t shop for Christmas presents. Yay!

  15. JulesNoctambule says:

    My plan is as follows:

    1. Stay home.
    2. Shop [www.etsy.com] for presents.
    3. Eat pie.

  16. sean98125 says:

    I will celebrate Black Friday by playing the mall level on Left 4 Dead 2.

  17. menty666 says:

    Let’s just say that scalding hot cup of coffee I’m carrying isn’t to drink. I’m getting that one tv on sale for $200.00!!

    Kidding…kidding. Honestly, sales have been so off for stores that you may as well wait for the desperation sales the week before Christmas and take your time. Maybe even haggle a better deal out of the manager who’s nearing the end of the month and hasn’t made his numbers. Tis the season for manipulation *sigh*

  18. pb5000 says:

    This makes me happy that the majority of my shopping is already done.

  19. flugennock says:

    I have an even better strategy: Stay the hell home.

    Seriously. Stay home. Drink some beers. Call out for a pizza. Watch an old movie or two. Screw it.

  20. janbutty says:

    Hold out for Cyber Monday – a lot less pushing, shoving and standing in line

  21. MinorAnnoyance says:

    My “strategy”…? I do NOT leave the house to venture into the downtown or commercial districts from Thanksgiving day until the first week in January. I have never been involved in a “Black Friday” sheep stampede and I never intend to be and anybody who voluntarily submits themselves to the kind of crap that goes on every holiday season these days is just asking for it.

    When are people going to get up on their hind legs and stop letting marketers and advertising DBs lead them around by the nose?

    Bah! Humbug!

  22. axiomatic says:

    Is there a way to have the CEO’s of AIG and Ticketmaster do my black friday shopping for me? Those two CEO’s could do for some trampling.

  23. JRock says:

    Slickdeals.net. It’s like Black Friday year-round! …well, as long as the deal doesn’t expire within the first five minutes of it being posted, but then that’s a lot like Black Friday anyway, right?

  24. discounteggroll says:

    I am afraid to see the stats of taser sales leading up to black friday.

  25. RandomHookup says:

    If you are going to shop on Black Friday for super deals, head for the places that won’t have as much traffic but still may have some deals — drug stores, hardware stores, grocery stores. If they are doing promotions for 1st xxx shoppers, you might still get them just by showing up at opening.

  26. EdnaLegume says:

    Can’t say I’ve ever been out on Black Friday. I do enjoy getting up early and getting online. I curl up on the couch, get my coffee and some variety of sugary confection and turn on the news. I then laugh heartily at the poor schmucks beating the crap out of each other for a few deals. No deal is worth my braving that mess.

  27. LastError says:

    How about what to do AFTER you buy all that stuff.

    First, put down the cellphone and pay attention to your surroundings. The calls can wait. Take your stuff back to your car in a zig-zag pattern so somebody following you has no idea where you are going. Once you get it back to your car and do NOT immediately drive home. Instead, make sure you are not being followed. The only better deals than Black Friday and the ones where they steal it for free, so don’t be that one. Don’t allow yourself to be followed right home.

    If in doubt, drive to the local police or fire house and wait. Lights off.

    When you get home, be discreet carrying in your haul. Carry in from inside a garage if you have one. If not, use black trash bags for disguise. Lock your car and your house between trips back and forth and have someone helping you by watching your back. If an item is too big to hide, wait until night, turn off all the house lights, hide it in a blanket and carry it in then. It does no good to leave the house lights on so anyone can see what you are trying to do in secret. Turn off the lights, use curtains, etc.

    After Christmas or the great unwrapping, DO NOT put all your empty boxes out for trash pickup. Nothing screams “Home Invasion!” like the box from a new TV or video game. So take the boxes and cut them at the seams and turn them inside out, slice them into shreds and put in trash bags or take to a cardboard recycling bin, or take them to work and deposit in the dumpster.

    The same goes for the packaging from any expensive item any time of the year. Use common sense and be careful. Even if you WANT to outdo the neighbors which the pricey toys you just got, the end of your driveway should never look like a catalog page of what you just bought. Burglars cruise around looking for that, ‘shop’ from the comfort of their cars, and will happily take it from you.

    If trash day is a long way off, take the garbage to the dump yourself or just keep it in the house until the proper day.

    You can call this being paranoid but get robbed, home-invaded and assaulted and suddenly it’s common sense stuff you should have done. So why not just do it?

    • Outrun1986 says:

      @LastError: I don’t think the box from a single item would do it like a single game console (Xbox 360 is only $199 now) but if you have something more expensive like a $2000 TV you might want to be a little more careful what you do with the box and if you have a large pile of those things like a new TV, laptop and a game console definitely be careful. Its common to see a single box around here but a pile of them or even from expensive children’s toys which could signify that you have money and that its a good house to rob. Its not common to see the box from a $2000 TV around here so that is definitely something to be careful about.

      If you can’t dispose of the box you can always try putting it at the end of an alley or street where it would be ambiguous as to who owned the box.

      Though if you have boxes for game consoles the smart thing to do is to save them or sell them on ebay, there are people out there who will pay money for just a box (either to play a dirty trick on someone or just because they want it for their collection). If you decide to sell your system later on it will be worth a lot more if you have the original box.

  28. barb95 says:

    I will spend my black Friday packing. I’m flying to Hawaii on the Saturday after Thanksgiving! Whoot!

  29. alshultz says:

    I’ll spend over 8,000 days of my life sleeping. If waking up at 3am means I can get a 32inch HDTV for $250 I’ll do it