Black Friday: A survival guide

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File: South Africans have adopted the American tradition of Black Friday, when retailers spare no expense to promote their specials but consumers have been warned to not be tempted to spend their way into debt. 

Pixabay / Wokandapix

JOHANNESBURG - Discount-hunters, store managers and, well, South Africans, brace yourselves: Black Friday is coming and best believe you need to be ready if you’re hoping to cash in. Or even if you’re planning on venturing anywhere near a mall.

It sounds ridiculous, and it is, but people have actually been injured in the rush for sale items. In the US, Black Friday sales have resulted in seven deaths since 2006, something South Africa should avoid at all costs.

Banks have already said they’re preparing their systems for increased volume and retailers have started dropping hints on what their deals will be.

So consumers would do well to make sure they’re ready for the madness. Here are a few tips on how.

Push notifications
Because retailers want you to buy from them first, like that over-eager know-it-all kid in class, they’re going to be sticking their virtual hands up while shouting “pick me!” through the power of a push notification.

Many stores also offer discounts to shoppers who do their purchases via their apps. Signing up for these push notifications helps consumers plan how they’re going to shop and where.

Plot and plan
Once you’ve got your notifications sorted, refine your shopping list so you don’t waste time buying random items that’ll end up gathering dust in the garage. Flashy ads and salespeople will try to sway you. Don’t let them.

Stay strong and stick to your list or you’ll end up with eight left clogs and a plastic lid. If you’re heading to the mall, make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes (you might have to run) and know the layout of the space. Oh, and stay hydrated.

If crowds and physical mayhem aren’t your style, you’ll be joining a few virtual queues so make sure your internet connection is decent and be ready for the moment the sale store goes live.

Do your homework

Most retailers will be doing Black Friday sales. Do your research on what will be on sale where. For the fashionistas, there’s Zando.

To get going on your 2018 travel plans, Travelstart will be having sales on flights. Also, if you’re unsure of your creditworthiness in 2017, try not to make it 2018’s biggest problem.

Teljoy will be running discounts on their rent-to-own prices. The company’s rent-to-own model lets consumers purchase appliances and furniture at a fixed monthly rate with the option to take ownership after the pre-determined rental period. Not only that but every day that week will be Black Friday at Teljoy, giving you a bit more time to think about your impulse buys.

If you’re looking for a sale with a little more meaning, why not buy a course for a teacher you know. Publisher and e-learning provider Via Afrika is doing a 50 percent off sale on courses at its Digital Education Academy. The courses help teachers adjust to an increasingly digital world with lessons on everything from gamification to using YouTube in the classroom.
 
Budget, and stick to it. Draw cash and leave the cards at home. This way you’re forced to stick to your budget. If you’re shopping online, stay disciplined.

Team work makes the dream work
Go with your gang and play tag team, whether it’s one of you standing in a queue while your friend runs around the shop or one of you doing the filling up your cart at one online store while another gets their click on at another. 
 

Play nicely. Don’t get arrested
This seems like a weird tip but every year, guaranteed, there are reports of people being arrested for assault on Black Friday.

Like ravenous White Walkers, people seem to lose all sense of basic human decency and end up trampling on others, pepper-spraying fellow shoppers, and punching people.

Play nicely, everyone. There’s no point paying R2,000 for a plasma TV when you need that much for bail money.