6 Black Friday Don'ts
Black Friday shopping is one of the most harrowing, terrifying shopping experiences you can ever have -- frantic, aggressive shoppers all fighting for the same limited number of discounted items, all at an ungodly hour of the morning, after hours waiting in line outside in the cold. There are things you can do to make the experience more pleasant though, and less “why am I doing this and what is the point of living”, which is usually how it feels after a bad Black Friday shopping trip. The easiest thing you can do to make your trip worthwhile is to avoid stores that use shady business tactics to get you through the door despite poor sales and poor customer service practices.
1. Best Buy
Best Buy is an amazing Black Friday stop, if you can manage to be one of the first in line; otherwise, you miss all of the amazing deals, and are left with the mediocre leftovers and massive crowds, with the frantic customer support staff left to apologize and stress over the remaining customers. And because Best Buy is such a big name in the shopping industry, especially when it comes to things like laptops and tablets, the customers who are there at opening are hoping to get the best deal on such items, regardless of availability or staff ability to substitute, leading to frantic customers and loud arguments, making a stressful event that much more so.
2. Troll and Toad
Troll and Toad is amazing online resource for trading card game supplies, including boxes of or individual cards, minifigures for tabletop games, and even board games, and they do a series of sales at set times, leading up to their official Black Friday start time. It's an incredible system of deals, but the increased traffic causes constant site downtime and missed deals. Even if the items are in your cart and you are checking out, an ill-timed spike in traffic can cause that great deal to turn into a great nothing.
Toys"R"Us starts their Black Friday sales the night before so that parents are able to go after work and not miss getting their children (or themselves) ready in the morning. This means that not only can you actually get to sleep in the morning, but you also get to actually attend Thanksgiving because you're not getting ready for sleep at 3 in the afternoon. However, sales starting at such an accessible hour means that the crowds are that much larger, further limiting the deals so that it becomes almost impossible to actually purchase anything unless you are willing to dedicate 2 full days, instead of the usual one day.
Walmart is one of the first stores that comes to mind when a person thinks of Black Friday because of a combination of tragic events in the past few years, and because of the classist image of poor people being the only consumers of super cheap products. While Walmart has done much to address the issues that caused the tragedies, that doesn't do anything to alleviate the other issues in their Black Friday conduct. Their sales look amazing, but their extremely limited stock and over-crowded stores (as well as insufficient customer service to address these issues) mean that the amazing sales can be figments of the sale-focused mind.
5. Home Depot
Home Depot is another store that should be amazing at Black Friday, but they fill their stores with lower-quality items to try and compete with other stores, or out-of-season merchandise, just to try and draw in the crowds. They also have an issue with overcrowding their aisles with said merchandise -- space becomes such an issue that you often end up unable to move your shopping cart or lumber pallet cart through the store. Because they're trying to compete, there are no set policies, and everything is up to the manager's discretion.
GameStop is, unfortunately, not a very good stop for Black Friday because of customer service issues. The staff oftentimes make it very clear that they don't want to be there and they don't want you to be there, and they're going to make sure that you know it. They constantly run out of their draw-in items long before they should, because the staff will regularly put new releases aside for themselves or for their friends, thus negating the idea of advertising or carrying the exclusive item. Because video games can be bought online very easily, GameStop exclusives are incredibly sought-after, so the hoarding of items by staff is both insulting to the consumer and counterproductive to the Black Friday mentality. And while this is not an issue in every store, done by every staff member, it is a consistent enough pattern to lead to bitter, frustrated customers on any other day of the year.
Black Friday is an incredibly difficult day, something that feels like it deserves a medal for completion by the end of it all. There are many things you can do to make it easier on yourself, such as researching and using online guides, to simple things like wearing comfortable clothes, getting enough sleep the night before, and bringing snacks to keep your energy up and temper down when things get tense. If you are polite to the support staff, knowledgeable about what you are looking for and what they have advertised, then you stand a much better chance of walking away with the item you want, even when all you want to do is yell because it's 4 AM and you just really miss your bed.