For an entire week, I had the luxury of driving around a 2012 Chevrolet Equinox, courtesy of Chevrolet’s Driving in the Heartland team, dedicated to the heartland of America! You can check out their website or follow their tweets, @ChevyTexan, for their latest adventures, offers, fantastic finds, and more.
As a savvy deal finder, I definitely wanted Chevrolet to get their money’s worth, I tweeted #chevyhaul like crazy and during Black Friday I managed to make it to 20 different stores, starting at midnight with my friend and fellow blogger Gita of the uber-fashion blog, Mimi and Chichi.
Top 10 Black Friday Shopping Tips
In preparation of Black Friday 2012, here are 10 things that every savvy Chevy Haul shopper should know:
1 – Do the math! It is very easy to think you’re getting a good deal on Black Friday. You wait the entire year for sales like these. The only day of the year Apple deems worthy of offering a discount…but to feel good at the end of the day, make sure you’re getting a good deal on quality items!
Walmart was offering an Emerson 32? 720p LCD TV for $188 but who could beat the quality and discounts offered by Best Buy’s Sharp 42” 1080p LCD HDTV for ONLY $199.99. Plus, with the Walmart horror stories on the news and talking with other shoppers in line, I doubt I’ll ever visit Wallyworld on Black Friday.
2 – Map it out! With many stores opening at midnight (and some even opening on Thanksgiving day — too early if you ask me…) you’ll not only want to make sure you understand where you’re headed but WHEN you need to head there. Before I hit the road in my Chevy Equinox, I made a list of all the stores that opened early, in the order they opened here. There tends to be a gap between the stores that opened at midnight, and the next round that opens at 4-5am…this will keep you busy.
*Another thing to consider, visit stores more out of the way. Although the drive might be longer, the wait will be shorter and more variety will be left untangled. Especially for high demand items, go the extra 20 miles to a remote location that you know won’t be as hectic!
**Many stores open earlier but end the incredible sales before 11am or noon. Get there early if you want to get the best deals!
Click on the Foursquare image below to see the stores that I stopped at and the deals at the time.
3 – Bring a snack! If you’re always snacking like my friend Gita and I you’ll want to bring some holiday leftovers (brusselsprouts and cookies) as well as some water and energy drinks. At every store we visited, people were complaining of hunger pains, impatiently waiting for the food courts and other restaurants to open. Crabby people make impatient shoppers who are more willing to just buy things they don’t want. Give your wallet a fair chance.
4 – Leave the kids at home! We were waiting in line at Old Navy, for 30 minutes outside (so many people showed up for the free digital camera, fire hazards limited the number of shoppers allowed in at one time…) and it was fairly cold for us Texans. In front and behind us were were sobbing toddlers, begging to go home. Finally, seconds before being let into the store, the mothers staggered off with their children. MAKE CHILDCARE ARRANGEMENTS! There are a lot of children friendly daycares, gyms, and play places that offer moms and dads Black Friday shopping drop offs, starting early in the morning until the afternoon.
*With the new midnight shopping time, I also noticed a LOT of tweens running loose at the mall. Apparently their parents dropped them off with friends, while waiting for their stores to open, you could see some inappropriate makeout sessions going on. PARENTS – shopping is not the only thing that goes on at the maul…I mean mall.
5 – Go big or go home! Some of the best deals that I saw being offered were in department stores! For all your houseware needs, Macy’s and Sear’s were the way to go!
- KitchenAid Pro 500 Series Mixer for $199.99 at Sears
- Macy’s offered 20% off additional Black Friday sale prices! Gita got amazing sheets, retailed at $600 for less than $250!
6 – Fight the Crowds! With the explosion of online Black Friday sales, who in their right mind would consider fighting the crowds when all of your shopping can be done from the comfort of your own home? I’ll give you one reason why. Every year, without fail, there are significant online outages or slowdowns because of the crazy amounts of traffic generated from the 20 million other people who want to shop from the comfort of their own homes.
I remember one year I spent 3 hours painfully fighting Kohls website, adding things to the shopping cart, trying to checkout with them, being told they were sold out or having my cart emptied prematurely. In 2.5 hours I probably could have fought the masses, tried on clothes, AND checked out! Never again!
7 – Keep it social! Above was a list of all my foursqaure check ins. Make sure you take advantage of all the social and in-store promotions being offered! Many Foursquare venues offered additional discounts to shoppers. At Old Navy, Gita won an additional coupon for being the first to bring up a nail file during a contest. Many retailers on Twitter offered their followers Twitter only coupons AND additional #hashtag contests. With everyone else busy shopping, the chances of your winning is increased greatly!
8 – Chevy-sized vehicle for haul! This year I was blessed to have a 2012 Chevrolet Equinox to haul around all our deals! Buy a new car, borrow a friends, clean out your trunk before hitting the road!
Our Equinox offered:
- great gas mileage so we could go the distance
- plenty of storage space for our shopping haul
- comfy seats when we needed to give our feet a rest
- hiding places so we didn’t get mugged (always be wary of your surroundings, don’t be sitting ducks…)
9 – Additional tips and tricks! Here are some more helpful tips and tricks for making the most out of Black Friday:
- Sign up for email alerts from your favorite stores ahead of time
- Buy the newspaper on Thanksgiving for printed coupons and tons of store ads (nice consolidated view for the last minute shopper)
- Download a Black Friday mobile app like BF Ads that gets updated with new ads all the time, is easy to use, and works without an internet connection (mall 3g can be shady)
- Shop the off hours! Old Navy was CRAZY and had a long line at midnight, but everywhere else we visited between 2am to 7am had virtually no lines! Traffic starts to pick back up around 7am…
- Make sure you get a place in line. If you’re battling it out for the best Best Buy offer, get there early and get the ticket. Ask for one. You need proof you were there at 24 hours before midnight and not some random person who waltzed up when the clock struck 12.
10 – Shop with a buddy! Bring a willing and able friend (one who won’t make you feel rushed) to:
- Stand in line while your searching for clothes
- Run to the car to get coupons or snacks while you’re waiting to check out
- Give you a second opinion on impulsive purchases
- Let you borrow your phone if yours starts to die
- Think of stores you might not have gone to
- Keep you safe in numbers!
+1 more – BEST tip of all! I almost didn’t want to share this secret. I’m afraid that once it gets out EVERYONE will take advantage of it. But because I love my readers so much, I will share the best Black Friday shopping tip in the entire world:
This year, on the Wednesday BEFORE Black Friday, at my leisure, I went to several retailers and tried on the clothes that I wanted to buy on Black Friday. Waiting to try on clothes during Black Friday, especially at busy stores like Old Navy, Kohl’s, etc. is adding an additional hour to each store, at least. I tried on all the close that I liked, at my leisure, without them being picked over…and then I *gasp* placed them on layaway. On Black Friday, I waltzed into the store, headed straight to the counter, asked for my clothes, and walked out in about 15 minutes (the time it took to wait in the long line.) I received glares from other shoppers and looks of envy from others.
*There are some risks. Only one store that I went to had better deals the Wednesday before than the Friday of, but it did happen. Also, the people can always accidentally put the clothes back on the shelves (happened once on a non-Black Friday shopping trip…)
Driving in the Heartland invited me to:
So, what better way to ease some of that holiday shopping stress than by taking a brand new Chevy for a spin to get all of your shopping done in comfort and style? This year, Chevrolet will be giving five fabulous bloggers a Chevy vehicle to drive while they take on their holiday shopping throughout the Heartland. Three bloggers from Texas and two bloggers from St. Louis, Missouri, will be riding comfortably in Chevy cars and crossovers in the next few weeks, and you can follow along as they navigate the madness on Twitter using the hashtag #ChevyHaul.
Check out all the details here.