... but what if I DO want something from Black Friday?

Yesterday, Keilexandra wrote:

What if you're stalking something and it goes on sale on Black Friday? I'm thinking of better-end brands like Anthropologie, where BF sale merch tends to be the slow sellers but are not any worse in quality or produced especially for the occasion (and sometimes I'm stalking something that no one else likes, it seems).

That's a great point that didn't get addressed yet, so here are my tips for how to shop Black Friday with military-style tact and precision. ;)

  1. Do your recon: know your size and color(s) before BF rolls around. Whenever possible, go to the brick & mortar store and try it on to make sure, because you just never know when a brand will cut something 2 sizes too small or take a horrible picture that skews the color. Also find out the exact time the store in question opens for BF (don't assume it's the same as the mall), and what time the sale goes live online.
  2. Monitor stock fluctuations: if you really, truly want this item, it doesn't hurt to make sure it'll still be there on BF. On some online systems, you can try adding multiples to your cart until you get the "unavailable" error - if you have to add 400 before you're denied, you know there's no danger of a sell-out. You can also swing by the store, call the store, or email the company (note: salespeople don't always need to be honest and may try to tell you XYZ are superimpossiblypopular to create urgency to buy at full price). 
  3. Enlist the locals: being friendly with a Sales Associate can be super helpful when you're searching for a deal, because there are lots of things that can go wrong while you wait for the price to drop. At stores like Nordstrom, for example, there's a chance they might ship the thing off to the Rack before it hits the price you want. A good SA might be able to let you know when they're down to the last one in the store - or in some cases the entire company. 
  4. Authorize a pre-emptive strike: i.e. buy what you want before Black Friday, but within the store's window for price adjustments. Then roll on in on Saturday and get the difference refunded to you (make sure the adjustment window extends to the day you want to go in, not just Black Friday). 
  5. Plan your routes: it always helps to find out where your item will be displayed within the store - sometimes not even the SAs will know this beforehand, but sometimes they will be able to point you toward the Sale section - and sometimes they might be allowed to tuck something aside for you if they know you're coming. It also helps to know where you plan to park and the order in which you'd like to visit various stores. 
  6. Team up: if you do want to shop at multiple stores - or in multiple departments of a department store - you may want to rally your trusty shopping partners and split up your lists by location. 
  7. Lie in wait: last but not least: always get there as early as possible. Stores like Uniqlo have been known to only allow a certain number of shoppers in at one time. This is great for the people inside, since they can shop without fear of being trampled... but it also means that the people at the end of the line are left with a store that's been picked over. If you're going to brave the crowds, bring a thermos of coffee and wait around a bit for the doors to open (note: if your SA has something on hold for you, well, never mind this part). 

Well that's my two-cents on the issue. I would love to hear what has worked for you guys in the past as well, if you're willing to share!

Dressing with Gratitude on Thanksgiving

Repost: Why I Don't Shop Black Friday for Clothes