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Tips and tricks for Black Friday shopping

By ALLISON MILES
Nov. 17, 2012 at 5:17 a.m.
Updated Nov. 18, 2012 at 5:18 a.m.

Overall the mood among Black Friday shoppers can be upbeat and ever-hopeful, as the promise of cheap goods outweigh the shouting, jostling and aggressive behavior of the crowd.

START SHOPPING

Sneak peeks at this year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday bargains are already available online. Websites include:

BlackFriday.com Bfads.net TheBlackFriday.com BlackFriday.GottaDeal.com CyberMonday.com CyberMonday2012.com

Downtown Victoria to host Black Friday

For many, Thanksgiving morning means careful planning, time with family and a chance to look back at the many things they are thankful for.

As the day wears on, however, many of those same people find themselves donning battle fatigues, plotting out strategies and preparing to fight it out for the day's hottest deals.

Black Friday is the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season, a time when retailers nationwide offer up special bargains to early bird shoppers willing to fight the good fight.

A 2011 National Retail Federation news release estimated about 226 million people shopped the event last year, while Jon Vincent, a spokesman with BlackFriday.com, said he expected customer traffic to remain right on track this year.

"We typically find that, regardless of the economy, people love a sale," he said. "The ads are great this year, so we expect really the same amount of traffic this year, compared to the previous."

And with some stores opening their doors at midnight - and others beginning their Black Friday bargains Thursday night - it pays to go in with a plan.

Here are some tips for making that day-after-Thanksgiving shopping spree count.

Tips for shoppers:

Do your homework. Black Friday ads are already available online, and you'll also find them in newspapers, commercials and more.

Adjust your schedule accordingly. Just because a store opens at midnight doesn't mean that's when you should get there. You'll likely face lines.

Brace yourself for chaos. Black Friday is hectic for everyone. Be prepared to deal with the crowds.

Dress the part. Wear comfortable shoes and go ready for whatever weather conditions the day might hold. If you'll be in line outside, for instance, a jacket might not hurt.

Shop from home. Stores often offer the same Black Friday deals online that they offer in-store, and those Internet offers are often available earlier.

Tips for retailers/employees:

Don't get overwhelmed or aggravated. Stay professional, even if frustrated shoppers are rude.

Stay organized. Know where to direct shoppers looking for specific items and have a system in place.

Consider letting customers in a few at a time. It might make the wait slightly longer, but will avoid the chaos that comes with many people rushing in at once.

Take a break if you can. You're there to help customers and bring in business, but sometimes you need a break. Give yourself time to take a deep breath and regroup, even if it's just for a couple of minutes on the sales floor.

Be prepared for crowds. The shopping holiday draws droves of people in search of a good deal. Be ready to be on your A-game.

Did you know ... ?

Black Friday statistics were higher than ever in 2011, according to a National Retail Federation news release.

A record 226 million people hit stores and websites throughout the weekend, shelling out an average $398.62 per shopper. Total spending rang in at an estimated $52.4 billion.

While department stores were shoppers' main destinations, discounters, electronics stores and clothing stores were also popular.

Meanwhile, people spent an average $150.53 on Internet purchases.

Don't forget ...

If you don't cross everyone off your holiday shopping list this Black Friday, you can still save online.

Cyber Monday, the Monday following Thanksgiving weekend, serves as the official start to the online holiday shopping season, according to Shop.org. Retailers that day often offer free shipping, special discounts and more to online shoppers.

Sources: Allyssa Brosch, Justice assistant store manager, Adrian Lopez, Best Buy store manager, Laura Patino, Melrose store manager, Jon Vincent, spokesman with BlackFriday.com, National Retail Federation news release and Shop.org

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