Go shopping on Black Friday, and you may come home with bags overflowing with unbeatable deals. But is it worth the hassle of shopping instead of sleeping? What if you waited until later in the day to navigate the stores? You'll have to weigh the pros and cons of early versus later to decide when is the best time for you to shop.
The Crack of Dawn (Or Even Earlier)
The classic image of Black Friday, early morning shopping is a retail experience that some diehard fans anticipate all year long.
If you want a doorbuster deal, this is the time to do it. Black Friday deals are often limited-time or limited-stock offers. The only way to score the deal of your dreams may be to line up before the store opens and race for the display as soon as the key is turned.
It's an incredible adrenaline rush. There's nothing quite like tossing as many hot buys in your cart as possible, then rushing to the checkout, so you can head out to the next store. For many people, shopping doesn't get much better than this.
You can be back in bed by mid-morning. Sure, you'll be tired, but if you plan your day right, you can head to bed as soon as you get home and stay there for hours.
Push and shove can be the name of the game. You won't be the only one gunning for those top sellers. Expect to get jostled about as you navigate the aisles.
You won't get much sleep. Getting to the stores before the sun comes up will require staying up all night or rising very, very early. Prepare to be exhausted by the end.
Tired often equals cranky. Short nights lead to short tempers, for both you and the other shoppers with whom you're sharing the aisles
Later in the Day
Just because you are not a morning person, doesn't mean you have to rule out Black Friday shopping altogether.
Many deals are still available until noon or even later. Most stores will keep some sales going all day long. There will be plenty of good buys available all the way until closing time. Or the sale may change from 80% off to 70% after the noon hour, a few percentages less but still great savings.
The crowds will have thinned out significantly. While early shopping on Black Friday can bring heavy crowds and long lines, by mid-day it may feel like you have the store all to yourself.
You can sleep in. Shopping late means you don't have to set your alarm. Rest up before beginning your marathon shopping trip. Enjoy your company longer on Thanksgiving night or stay up to watch the end of the game.
Doorbuster deals will have expired or sold out. If you want to snag a popular item, don't wait until the last minute. You'll need to be as early as possible for a chance at it.
You may be shopping on your own. Middle-of-the-night Black Friday shopping is a tradition for many people. If all your friends went shopping early, you may not be able to find a partner to join you on your retail adventures.
Don't forget about option three: shopping at home in your jammies. Many websites run comparable sales to brick-and-mortar stores on Black Friday, plus Cyber Monday will bring a whole new set of online sales. This makes internet shopping is a viable alternative to heading to the stores on Black Friday, whether early or later.
Whenever you choose to shop, do your homework ahead of time. Research the regular price of items, so you know which deals are worth your time and money, and come up with a list of which stores you want to hit and the items you want to get there. Shopping with a plan in mind is the best way to get in and out of stores reasonably quickly, no matter what time you go.
Meghan Ross is a freelance writer covering all things home and living. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.
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