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Energizing Your Black Friday and Bringing Home the Loot

Every year, the final week of November, we celebrate a holiday with traditions that were set in motion years ago. Some refer to it as the official start of the holiday season. For others, it's an occasion to form family unity. Still others mark it as stressful time busy with preparation. But for most, it's a day to be thankful … for doorbuster deals and cutting the line without being noticed. Yup - retailers rejoice because Black Friday is on its way!

Traditionally, Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the busiest retail shopping day of the year. Over the past 10 years, this shopping holiday has been making steady gains in national popularity. In 2009, consumers forked over $40 million- that amounts to a lot of cordless drills and crock pots.

According to Reuters, close to half of U.S. consumers take advantage of Black Friday deals. So, with all this competition, not everyone is going to make it to the checkout with their wish lists fulfilled - but after this post, my money (or what's left of it after Nov. 26) is on the 5-Hour Fans. I know it's going to be exhausting, especially after all that turkey, but don't fret, the 5-Hour Energy Guy is here to give you tips on staying energized while you bag the loot. So, set your alarm clocks, lace-up your tennis shoes, and put your mouth guards in because you have some serious shopping to do!

The Preparation:

If you think you're going to just "wing it," on Black Friday, you just might get crushed - literally. Each year, there are multiple reports of serious injuries as a result of Black Friday crowd shenanigans - so proceed with caution and maybe wear some non-slip shoes.

As for the deals, it will be easiest to map out your must-haves before the post-Thanksgiving stampede. Check out sites like BlackFriday.info and BFads.net to preview ads and checkout store hours. Decide ahead of time which items you want to snag and note your top priorities. Many similar items might be on sale at different locations, so do your price comparisons. However, it might be a good idea to develop a backup plan in case the item you're looking for is already sold out.

When sleuthing deals, be on the lookout for duds. Don't assume anything advertised as a Black Friday deal is, in fact, marked down. Use resources such as BizRate.com, Shopping.com and PriceGrabber.com to verify actual discounts.

After you've developed your list, map the best route between stores. This will shave precious minutes off your travel time. Use FindtheBestRoute.com or Route4Me.com to plan the most efficient course.

The Day Of:

If you've done your research and have set a plan of action, Black Friday should be a breeze - okay, you're right, it probably still won't be. But one can always hope, right? To make this day of calamity run as smoothly as possible, here are some Black Friday shopping tips:
  • Get energized: You can't be ruthless when you're groggy. Do some jumping jacks to get warmed up, then counteract the Turkey Day tryptophan with a 5-Hour Energy Shot.

  • Dress comfortably: This might seem like a no-brainer, but there are still some fashionistas out there who insist on wearing 4-inch heals whenever they head to the mall. Remember that on Black Friday, you're probably going to come home with torn clothing and pulled hair anyway.

  • Haggle prices: Today, your pride will probably take a digger, so don't be afraid to show the manager a competitor's ad for a product with a lower price tag. It might not be their store's policy, but during the holidays, exceptions are going to be made.

  • Work in teams: Recruit a friend or unsuspecting family member to help you out. Put your lists together and separate the items based on store or aisle location. Just make sure to keep your receipts so you can figure out who owes whom later on.

  • Be on the lookout: You might find some unanticipated deals that are unadvertised. For the sake of time, go ahead and snatch the potential impulse buy, then use your Smartphone to do the research while you're in the checkout line. There are countless barcode scanner apps for your iPhone or Android.

Stay Put Instead:

Want to avoid the Black Friday rush? Do your shopping at home. You'll avoid the madness and you won't miss the legendary post-thanksgiving turkey sandwiches. DealNews.com and GottaDeal.com list deals that can be put in your online shopping cart. Just be prepared to miss some of the doorbusters and surprise buys.

Sure Thursday's Thanksgiving might be the holiday for family, togetherness and giving thanks, but the following Friday, you get to be competitive, crude and selfish and no one will judge. I guess it all evens out. Ahh, gotta love the holidays!

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