The Apocalypse Clearance Sale – A Black Friday Survival Guide

Black Friday

Black Friday

Editor’s Note: With Black Friday just 2 weeks away as we write this, we called on a guest blogger to give us all some survival tips for Black Friday. Take it away Mark…

Even at the best of times shopping can be a pain. You can’t find what you want in the right size or color, store clerks are either too distant or too pushy, and the long haul from store to store quickly resembles some form of biblical punishment.

Black Friday has all the hallmarks of regular shopping, except that it adds hordes of screaming people who will cheerfully shank you to get their hands on the last pair of jeans. Luckily, there are some tips to get the most out of the day without losing your sanity.

Plan for Success

I’m very organized when I go shopping, and believe me – planning is essential. You need to know what you want and where to get it. Distractions mean wasted time that could be spent finding the next item. Make up a list of the items, the stores where they are sold, and the quickest route to each. This also reduces the impulse to buy ‘off the list’ and rack up horrifying debt, as well as giving you time to compare prices, research warranties and so on.


A few days before Black Friday, hit up the clothing store you plan on shopping at. Put the best-looking outfit in your size inside the worst-looking one and hide it near the back of the rack. Just don’t get caught. Same goes for planting men’s clothes in women’s sections.


Coerce friends and family to help. Spread out the stress by giving a different task to a different helper. Note: not recommended for children or family pets.

This approach means that you won’t double-up with friends and family by going over the same store twice. If you all hit a different area, you can save time. If you plan on purchasing two different ‘door busters’ on Black Friday – outsourcing is a must.

The Early Bird

There won’t be a better time to shop than as early as possible. While that won’t make much of a dent in the crowds, the stores will still be fully stocked, and the other shoppers should be a bit more pleasant that early in the day. Once all shopping is completed, retire to the food court to enjoy a leisurely meal and to watch the carnage. People watching on Black Friday is my favorite.

The Bodysuit

To save you time in the dressing rooms, consider investing in Spandex that covers everything it needs to and yet hugs the body. Most guys I know, however, just remember to put clean underwear on that day.

Techniques That Don’t Work

The Sympathy Gambit

Bringing Grandmother along might make others more polite around you, but in the end will only slow you down.


In my experience, store clerks are amenable to a bit of pre-sale bribery. However, there is no guarantee that they’ll actually be working on the big day.

‘Playing it by Ear’

Only good if you want to fight over the last set of underwear with somebody’s Grandmother.


Blocking the entrance of stores with clothes racks/cars/human chains will not endear you to store clerks. Plus it will probably get someone trampled or pepper sprayed.

The bottom line is that you will be seeing humanity at its worst, so take a deep breath when things get stressful. Dress comfortably, keep a sense of humor, and remember that those other shoppers are human too (even the mouth breathers).

Mark Thomas is a veteran of Black Friday, and still has the limp to prove it. The trick to success, he believes, is to use your elbows

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