The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

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November 17, 2012

Black Friday: What's your strategy?

ENID, Okla. — Black Friday.

Nearly every consumer in the United States knows the words “Black Friday” signifies the day after Thanksgiving, and the start of the Christmas shopping season.

Some say the day’s name is as ominous as it sounds, reflecting the heavy traffic and shoulder-to-shoulder crowds that must be battled by anyone who works or ventures out on that day. Others cheerfully claim the day’s name signifies the first day of the year that retailers begin to make a profit, moving their ledgers from the red to the black.

No matter what the unofficial holiday’s name means in technical terms, Black Friday has become a shopping tradition for the masses.

For Teresa Coleman of Enid, Black Friday has been a family tradition that goes back more than 20 years.

“On Thanksgiving Day, everybody in my house goes through the ads,” Coleman said.

The tradition of poring through the ads as a group helps Coleman get ideas for Christmas gift shopping, she said. After everyone gets a chance to look through the advertisements, she said she generally makes a list and a schedule.

Scheduling one’s Black Friday shopping plan before venturing out can be a great help for those who want to get the best low-price deals. Many stores open early on Black Friday, but they all do not open at the same time. Also, many stores have sales that are only in effect during a certain time frame on Black Friday.

Stacy Nall of Enid also looks forward to Black Friday price cuts each year.

“My husband and I go through the ads and decide what we think we need,” said Nall.

Nall said for the past five years, she and her husband have begun their Black Friday shopping experience at about 4 a.m., waiting for the first store to open at 5 a.m. After they finish their shopping, they have time for breakfast, and then Nall heads to work for the day.

Kendall Conger of Garber said she usually picks one item from the Black Friday shopping ads and stands in line for it, usually arriving at the store 30 minutes before the sale starts.

“My life won’t end if I don’t get it,” said Conger.

After waiting in line for her select item, Conger said she continues shopping for whatever deals she can find.

Coleman, who has the 20-year tradition of Black Friday shopping, said she isn’t sure if she will participate this year.

“I’ve always gotten up early and still been to work at 8 o’clock,” said Coleman. “I think when I was younger, it was more about the adrenaline.”

Last year, Coleman said she was disappointed to find that at one store, shoppers were permitted to arrive hours before the sale, claim their items and wait around in the store until the time came for the sale price to kick in, when in previous years, the items were not available until the sale began and people had to wait in line to get their sale merchandise.

“I don’t know if (the store) has changed their strategy for this year,” Coleman said.

Coleman said she may still change her mind and brave the crowds on Black Friday but, as of now, she thinks she will sleep in this year and avoid the mayhem.

There is another big shopping day for those who prefer to shop on the Internet, from the comfort of their home. Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, is the day when many retailers slash prices for their online merchandise.

Because Thanksgiving is an American holiday, Black Friday is an American phenomenon. However, in many countries, including Canada and Britain, Boxing Day is a holiday that is very similar to Black Friday. Boxing Day usually takes place the first weekday after Christmas.

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