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Black Friday bargains pay off for the early riser

Would you wake up at 3 a.m. to purchase a 26-inch high-definition television?

While some people may immediately shake their head, others have anticipated this purchase for months.

On Friday, millions of shoppers will flock to big box stores like Best Buy and Target for Black Friday, which is the largest and most competitive shopping event of the year. High-definition televisions are reduced by hundreds of dollars. Other electronics like GPS systems, video games and digital cameras receive major markdowns.

I've realized that people who have experience with navigating the long lines and crowded aisles on Black Friday often have a strategy for doorbuster shopping.

For instance, I overheard a group of women last week sharing their Black Friday traditions.

One woman said that she, her husband and children kick off Black Friday by eating a hearty restaurant breakfast, followed by an early afternoon of shopping as a family.

Another woman described her specific shopping strategy: She wears a utility belt attached with reusable shopping bags. This way, she said, she can maneuver through the crowded isles without having to push a bulky cart. In addition, she carries a pair of scissors in order to cut coupons from newspaper flyers.


From my own experience a few years ago, a college roommate and I ventured out for Black Friday. We were in the stores by 5 a.m. and I was overwhelmed by the frantic rush of the crowds. I realized, while filling my arms with discounted socks and Christmas decorations, that I needed a shopping list. I expected to go to stores like Fred Meyer and Michaels craft store to take advantage of deals as I shopped. Instead, I found Black Friday to be confusing and intense without an idea of what I should be shopping for.

Stores like Target, Best Buy and JCPenney advertise their doorbuster sales a week prior to Black Friday, which gives you an idea of what stores offer before the big event. Black Friday offers staggering price cuts, but be prepared to wake up early and have your shopping list handy.

Leave a comment and tell us your Black Friday traditions -- or tell us why you choose not to shop during the hustle and bustle of peak holiday shopping.

Kelly McLain can be reached at kelly(at)