Wednesday, November 21

The Quad: How to survive Black Friday


Black Friday is the bane of both the retail worker and proletarian existence. (Creative Commons photo by John Henderson via Flickr)

Black Friday is the bane of both the retail worker and proletarian existence. (Creative Commons photo by John Henderson via Flickr)


There are very few things, barring fascists and Justin Bieber, that I dislike more than the concept of Black Friday. I’m a natural introvert who despises crowds and sleep deprivation, so the idea of being immobilized in a crowd of rabid shoppers at 4 a.m. is pretty much the last place on Earth I’d like to be come Friday morning.

The quarter system doesn’t give us many opportunities to relax. We get 48 precious hours for Thanksgiving break, so I urge you to spend as much of that time as you can eating as much as humanly possible. If you insist on participating in this capitalistic tradition, here are some tips to make the day less terrible:

  1. Shop after Friday morning. Go in the afternoon or the evening when crowds have subsided. Or even go a step further and take advantage of Cyber Monday deals. Why battle crowds when you can order things on sale from the comfort of your own bed?

  2. Don’t compromise Thanksgiving in order to seek out deals. At the very least, Thanksgiving is a sacred holiday meant for us Americans to stuff ourselves with as much delicious food as you can.

    Even if you’re not close with your family, or you don’t want to see them because they’re all bigots who voted for Trump anyway, please do not compromise this time-honored, gluttonous ritual. Many stores have started to open up for their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving, but in my opinion, the only thing you should be doing on Thanksgiving night is sleeping off a food coma.

  3. If you must go early in the morning, buy something worthwhile. Fine, so you have to go. It’s tradition in your family or whatever. I get it. My one plea for you: Make sure you actually are buying something that you need. Consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow has said people often waste time and money buying things they don’t need just because the thing was on sale.

  4. Do your research and come up with a game plan. Find out when the store you are targeting opens, where whatever knick-knack you are shelling out for is located in said store, and if there are any special rules or policies the store has in place. The more organized you are, the smoother your day will go.

  5. Take care of yourself so you can be a decent member of society. Sleep deprivation and hunger both affect your mood, so make sure you get a good night’s sleep and eat a real breakfast – and no, shot gunning a Red Bull and wolfing down hash browns from McDonald’s en route to the mall does not count. People you interact with throughout the day will appreciate you for it.

  6. Be kind to those around you. Remember, the people you wait outside with are humans, not competition. Strike up a conversation with them. Play Heads Up on your iPhone to pass the time. If you’re making a coffee run, ask if they want you to pick something up for them. Take any steps you can to break through the competitive, slave-to-capitalist raincloud that surrounds Black Friday and remind people that there are still nuggets of goodness in the bleak, bleak reality we call 2016.

  7. Remember your dignity. I assure you that there is no item in any big-box department store that is worth fighting another human being over. Human decency aside, the internet is forever. We live in a digital age, where large proportions of our population own smartphones. Before you decide to duke it out with a someone over a flat-screen TV or a blender, think, “Do I really want to become a headline?”

  8. Remember that every employee you come into contact with, is, in fact, human. A lot of people who have never worked retail tend to forget this. I’ve worked retail jobs before, so I understand. We do not have control over how many TVs corporate decides to sell at steeply slashed discounts. We do not have control over store policy. We do not have control over how fast or slow our register processes a transaction. Often, we do not have all the answers you demand of us. Be kind to us.

If you are venturing out into the jungle that is the morning of Black Friday, Godspeed. I hope these tips serve you well. I, for one, will be enjoying the day hibernating wrapped up like a cinnamon roll in bed.

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