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Black Friday Shopping Tips

Posted: Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011

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Kelli Robinson

Kelli Robinson is a freelance writer who lives in Mooresville and has been contributing to Lake Norman Magazine since 2009. She juggles family and writing with humor and lots of chocolate, and enjoys experiencing all the Lake Norman area has to offer.

In case you haven’t heard, Black Friday’s just around the corner. Merchants are screaming for your attention, which is why many of the big box stores like Target, Kohl’s and Best Buy are opening at midnight. Yikes! Not sure what I think about that. Actually I am sure, and I wish that Thanksgiving could have the entire day to itself.

But if you are braving the crowds to get the best holiday gift deals, don’t forget to visit your local “mom and pop” shops. Lake Norman main street stores and boutiques in between Concord Mills and Northlake Mall will be open, too, and many of them are offering their own Black Friday specials.

Some examples? Molly Malone’s in Mooresville is giving away free mandy tote bags when you spend $75 on a Vera Bradley item. Shop for mom and get a little something for yourself, too. Fi Fi’s Fine Resale in Cornelius also has some cool sales. The Village Store in Davidson has brought back its popular “Treat Yourself” promo: Receive a $10 gift certificate for every $50 you spend.

If you’re getting ready to brave the crowds, consider the following tips to make the experience as enjoyable or bearable as possible.

1.Research

Write down the gift ideas you’ll be shopping for. Scan the store newspaper ads to determine where you’ll get the best deals for the items.

Check out a store’s Facebook page: They’re more likely to post deals and specials here than their website.

2. Avoid opening store credit cards

Saving 10 percent sounds great. A bill that totals $100 reduces to $90 in an eye blink. Regardless, more credit cards only produce more debt. When the credit card bill arrives in January, the $10 savings won’t matter anymore.

3. Write down clothing sizes ahead of time

Once you’re in the store, there’s no time to figure out what size pants to get your nephew or what size boots your niece wears.

4. Shop in numbers

Bring friends or family. It’s tough to stand in multiple lines at once. Make sure everyone has cell phones – with fully charged batteries!

5. Take rations

Bottled water and snacks like crackers, fruit, or granola bars work best. Otherwise you’ll be hitting the food court or local donut shop, spending money where you don’t need to.

6. Dress properly

You’ll be walking in parking lots, strolling through aisles and standing in long lines, so wear comfortable shoes. Consider wearing layers you can easily shed as the day goes on and the temperature rises.

7. Be safe

Bring only the credit cards, debit cards, check book or money you plan to use. Consider putting them in a fanny pack or money clip kept in your front pocket. The Black Friday crowd is a pick-pocket’s dream.

8. Know what you’re getting into

If large crowds and possibly encountering rude people stress you out, Black Friday might not be your scene. Anticipate lots of people who are in a hurry. Take deep breaths, and know your turn at the cash register is coming. Don’t forget to smile and say thank you to the sales assistant.

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