I don’t know about you, but my overall experience with holiday shopping continues to be one with dread expectations. I have fought the Black Friday crowds at 4:00 am in years past and scored a ‘few’ deals that I used to justify my pre-dawn effort, lack of sleep, and overall angst when I could have been home dreaming about the true meaning of the season.
As I’ve said here often, Deal Fatigue doesn’t exist. I, like you, love to get a deal. So each year we are faced with a dilemma—the “two evils” of holiday shopping:
1) Fight the crowds and lose the sleep in an attempt to snag one of the few (understocked) mega-sale items, or
2) Surf countless websites to find deals on items I can’t see, touch, feel and be left with uncertainty after I purchase that I got the “right thing.”
Last year I gave into #1. I got up early and drove from store to store and, yes, I did score some deals. I also lost some deals as well, as well as my temper as I became increasingly frustrated with the entire process and ended up having a rotten day—on the day after ‘Thanksgiving,’ no less.
Essentially, I following a day of joy, happiness and gratitude with a day of – well, something less than that. So this year, I decided to give way to #2 and try my luck online.
I began by checking all the ads for items I was interested in and plotted out a game plan. I would still get up early, about 5:30, walk downstairs in slippers and PJs and get online (and perhaps rely on the more tried-and-true approach of picking up the phone for a couple items) in an effort to accomplish my goals.
The results? First, while I wasn’t able to ‘handle’ the merchandise (call me old school), I was able to get about 75% of what I set out to acquire. Second, for the items I wanted, the vast majority of them were available online with free shipping or ‘site-to-store’ features to avoid shipping costs. Third, in a few instances where the deal was not available online (sold out) I actually picked up the phone and was pleasantly surprised to reach actual people and even better, those actual people were willing to put items on hold for me—at the sale price! (This wasn’t Walmart of course, but places like Game Stop and Big 5 Sporting, etc.)
Finally and best of all, I was able to go back to bed around 7:00 am having accomplished a great deal. I later drove to the different stores (around 12 noon) and actually picked up the items they held for me and secured that ‘early bird’ pricing.
The good news is, “The Deal” still lives on. We sometimes have to fight for the Deal, but it’s even better when we can get the deal by being smart instead. In this case, I found that almost all of the ads I had were available online and I was able to quickly cross-reference to make sure I was getting the best deal. And, I was able to do it from my home.
I am still very much a ‘brick & mortar’ guy and like to get the deals in-store. However, as far as my holidays are concerned, I enjoyed my weekend ten-fold more than prior years and was truly ‘Thankful’ for the experience.
Happy Deal Hunting!