Around four or five years ago, I wrote an article for a website called Devlib.org which suggested various amusing ways to survive Black Friday. The article was linked on MSNBC and now, every year, it pops up on a blog or two.
So, since it’s a holiday and I’ve already pumped you full of all kinds of blogs, I’m going to leave the week with one final one. My article, reposted from years past, on Black Friday.
I know it has nothing to do with film or being a web celebrity but, what the hell? I think it’s fun.
There’s a reason the day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday — it isn’t because it’s the day that retailers move out of the red and into the black, and it’s not because there have actually been casualties in the rush-to-shop that overtakes normal people and changes them into sale-loving-Zombies (the worst kind of Zombies.)
The real reason — and you’re hearing this here first — is that the Friday after every Thanksgiving sees so many people hit the stores that it actually shifts the Space-Time Continuum just a little. Scientists believe that this will eventually open a black hole (see where we’re going with this?) and send the Earth into another dimension, a strange dimension, perpetually in-between Holidays — where people are always in the midst of digesting a turkey while wondering what terrible sweater to buy a loved one… thus, Black Friday.
Below is a Top 10 list of what you should know and do that fateful day. We have spent the last fifteen years carefully studying and testing each one of the suggestions below. This is, without a doubt, the most decisive Black Friday Survival Guide you will ever read.
Are you ready? Here we go…
10. Don’t Wear Anything You Wouldn’t Wear In a Mexican Mosh Pit
Sure, most of the world is going to be in the same store as you, and yes, you’re probably going to bump into at least one person from your past who you’ve at one point or another slept with. But let us put it into perspective — and we’re talking to the women right now since, for most men, dressing up means wearing the slightly darker jeans and buttoning up that shirt.
Ladies — imagine giving birth for ten hours while your husband/boyfriend/children stand at your side and say, “Can we go? Are you done yet? Seriously, are you done? Okay, I’m actually serious now, are you done? Do we need that? We don’t need that. Don’t get that. Seriously, why do you need that? Put that down. Fine, get it, but I don’t think we need it. Are you done? Can we go? Seriously. Okay, I’m waiting in the car.” Oh, you’re also doing this while thousands of people are trying to buy your doctor at 30% off.
And that’s kind of like dressing up for Black Friday.
Our advice? Wear sweat pants, wear pajamas, wear slippers if you have to, just don’t wear anything that you wouldn’t wear to a mosh pit in Mexico.
9. Keep Hydrated – Passing Out Will Not Get You 30% Off On Pants
Yes, most malls have drinks readily available, but considering the sheer amount of people that will be flooding the stores, we highly suggest either grabbing a bottle of water or wearing one of those beer hats (you may or may not fill it with beer – just not enough to projectile vomit on other customers.)
Another good reason for bringing your own water is that it ensures that you never have to leave a purchase line – and since you’ll be in those lines for quite some time, we’d suggest bringing a picnic basket and a bathroom while you’re at it.
So, bring water, bring juice, bring anything that’ll keep you awake and focused – you’ve got a slightly less expensive shirt to buy.
8. Taking Your Lover Is Like Taking A Walking Argument – Just Don’t.
Shopping and love hardly ever mix – a man can only stand looking at Victoria Secret mannequins for so long, eventually, he’ll realize they’re not real. And there’s a limit to the length of time a woman can watch a man get excited over video games/sports paraphernalia/mannequins,
If you are going with your significant other – make a battle plan. The battle plan should include two things – one, how to avoid each other, and two – how to find each other when you’ve both maxed out your credit cards. Luckily, in this world of cell phones and other gadgetry, number two is as easy as picking up the phone and moving desperately through throngs of people to try and catch a signal. Number one is a little harder – but if you each stay to your allotted stores, taking care to avoid each other like you might do in your own house – it becomes a little easier.
So, leave them at home, leave them at work, leave them in another store – just leave them when you’re shopping or you’re going to leave them altogether.
7. Don’t Tell Your Liberal-Fur-Is-Murder-Almost-Socialist Friends Where You’re Going, They Will Judge You
In a world where injustice has free rein and corruption rules, consumerism is often frowned upon by anyone wearing Birkenstocks. We all have a social activist friend – we all love that person dearly and wish we could be like them, its just there’s a sale and everything is almost half-off and won’t the world’s starving kids be there the next day?
They will, won’t they?
Well, the sale won’t.
So unless you want to be barraged by pictures of children starving and people dying (the key here is to not, in your enthusiasm for Black Friday, ask if the kids are on sale) – tell your friend you’re going to a Free Tibet/Malaysia/Africa/Dolphin meeting that’s invite-only and go buy yourself a cheap pair of pants.
Yes, you’ll feel guilty. Yes, you’ll feel a little bit like a consumer whore. Yes, God would probably give you that patronizing – “Is that how it is, then?” look – but come on – a computer for $400 dollars? Even God can’t pass that up.
6. The Early Bird Gets The 10% Off Worm – Wake Up Early, But Not Too Early.
There’s a careful line here – on one hand, the people surrounding the doors before the stores open are a little creepy in their zombie-like eagerness to buy things. On the other, “the early bird gets the worm” as the more wiser, well-adjusted birds tell their children – so, its really a toss-up.
Here’s our advice – get there early, but not too early. Wake up in the morning, get dressed, put on your beer hat, get some coffee and slowly make your way to the store. Don’t get there when the doors have yet to be opened because getting trampled in a primarily overweight country isn’t going to help you get that worm everyone keeps talking about.
Get there within an hour of opening – that way, the crowds have moved inside but are still deciding whether those blue pants make them look fat or not (they do) and you still have time to get some of the good stuff.
So, wake up, eat a nice breakfast, and patiently rush to the store – get there early, but not too early, walk there fast, but not too fast – save all of your extremes for the shopping.
5. The Thing That Separates Us From The Living Dead Is A Shopping List
Shopping, especially on Black Friday, is like going into a War Zone. If you don’t have a plan, you’re going to be brutally injured, left behind enemy lines, and then saved by your dedicated friends who intend to go above and beyond the call of duty to get you back.
Last year, we spent seven hours shopping for a new computer — we didn’t buy one, hell, we didn’t really need one — but a sale is a sale, and who can refuse looking at slightly cheaper prices and thinking, “Mmm, still not low enough” for hours on end?
Here’s the point – we didn’t have a plan, so we spent hours aimlessly wandering around, store to store, gripping our credit cards, foaming at the mouth – eagerly wanting to buy everything but having the same thought in our heads – “This is nice, but I bet I’ll find something nicer…” until the stores closed and we went home and slept on our salty, tear-drenched pillows, dreaming of what could have been.
So, make a list of what you want, what you need, and what you’re willing to spend – you might seem like an over-obsessed shopper taking your preoccupation with buying things on sale a little too far – but hey, you’re going shopping on Black Friday, you’re already there.
4. Kids and Shopping Go Together Like Kids and Opened Bottles Of Hydrochloric Acid – Don’t Take Them.
We know they’re cute – we know their doe-y eyes and froggy gurgles draw you in like some sort of Cobra – but like a Cobra, children will, once you get too close, strike and kill with deadly accuracy. Just don’t do it, don’t take your kids shopping on the busiest day of the year.
If they can’t talk, the realization that they’re going to be in a stuffy mall filled with people and other, hateful children will sink in at about the second hour. This is when the loud, screaming protests will start, in fact, we have been told that many people suffered their first traumatizing moments on Black Friday as children – remembering it as the first time they realized their parents were addicts and needed to be institutionalized. Kids are surprisingly aware.
So, just don’t. Get a babysitter, get an aunt, get a grandmother, get a cage – just don’t take your child on a ten-hour shopping trip with you – they’d rather be in that cage.
3. Style and Pride Can Go To Hell; Get Yourself A Fanny Pack
Yes, we realize that Black Friday doesn’t take place in an Italian train station – still, crowded places are good pickings for thieves and tiny children employed by said thieves. So, either put special attention on your wallet and/or purse, or get a fanny pack.
Here’s the thing with fanny packs – they’re terrifyingly ugly. Really, anything that has the word “fanny” in it immediately loses all respect from its potential wearers. But it is in our opinion that if you’re good-looking enough, you can make a fanny pack stylish, and if you aren’t – then you’ve got other things to worry about.
Besides, the beer hat and sweat pants aren’t exactly going to make you look like nobility, so just suck it up and go all the way with it – buy a neon pink fanny pack, look the world in the eye and tell them there’s a new style in town – and it’s got the word fanny in it.
2. Bring a Carefully Selected Like-Minded Friend Less Pretty Than You
As we mentioned earlier, bringing a lover just doesn’t work unless you’re eerily like-minded, which only happens in the first few months of a relationship anyway, so just don’t bother testing one another. Still, it’s tough shopping by yourself without having a second opinion, and as this is payday for most store employees – they’re not exactly going to give you an unbiased opinion.
The solution? Think of it as one of those Desert Island games – only in reverse. Who would you spend the whole day with in an overcrowded, over-heated, sensory-overloaded jail of a place without strangling them with a surprisingly cheap scarf? Have someone in mind? Okay, now make sure they’re less pretty than you are.
Think about it — the chances of running into someone attractive on Black Friday is likely – old crushes, new crushes, ex-crushes – they’re all there, waiting, watching, looking surprisingly attractive wearing their fanny packs. So, obviously, you want your friend to provide a good contrast for them.
Let their ugly extenuate your pretty, let their Birkenstocks extenuate your beautiful, golden slippers, let their troll-like face put emphasis on the fact that you not only look nothing like a troll, but are a good person for taking your troll friend to a place where people might congregate and stare.
After all, it’s Black Friday — anything goes.
1. And Finally… Stay Home, Get Naked and Buy Online
Now hear us out. We realize that it’s a little silly to create a top ten list giving Black Friday advice and then finish off by telling you to scrap the whole thing altogether – its confusing to us too. But it’s because we care and know a better way.
It’s called the Internet. “What the hell is the Internet?!” you might be wondering.
Okay, so – you can actually buy most of the things you want online for roughly the same price as they would be when they’re on sale. Hell, you can even buy these things at the stores that you would have gone too if you had gone to the mall that day.
We know, its like we make it our job to blow your minds.
Shopping on the Internet assures you that, for one, you won’t have thousands of people trying desperately to buy your keyboard. Secondly, you don’t need to wear that fanny pack.
And finally – you can shop naked. That’s right – get naked, buy a cigar (even if you don’t smoke, just by the damn cigar), and browse until your eyes are slowly tumbling down the sides of your face with joy and a certain amount of weariness.
Why? Because it’s the future, and in the future that’s how we roll.