JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Black Friday deals are coming out extra early this year. For the most part though, the big doorbuster deals start Thanksgiving night. There are those who won't set foot near a store or mall during this time. But we found a few ladies who view Black Friday as both a tradition and a marathon and were willing to share a few of their secrets with us.
Nikkie Fulp and her friend Kim Salter have been mapping out their Black Friday strategy for weeks. The two along with other friends and Nikki's Mom head out Thanksgiving night for their marathon shopping session. "We were out of the house for 22 and a half hours last year, that was our longest. So I'm kinda pushing for 24 hours this year, just because it would be fun."
Most of us wouldn't put "24 hours of shopping" and "fun" together in the same sentence but these ladies do. Fulp and Salter leave Thanksgiving night and won't come back till Friday evening. Fulp has made Black Friday a shopping tradition for 20 years. Last year her SUV was stuffed with gifts. "Everybody had stuff in their laps. It was kinda crazy." This year Fulp even had t-shirts made for the adventure that say "Black Friday shopping is not for sissies!"
They're serious about that Black Friday motto. A few years ago other friends tried to keep up but it was too much. "About 6 o'clock in the morning they called their husbands to tell them to pick them up at the Avenues. I promised that they would never be invited back," said Fulp.
Fulp has refined her Black Friday strategy over the years. First, she says have a team. "We normally always put one person in line and the other two people or three people get what ever we want in the store." Second strategy, have a plan. "Walmart is doing something different because they want to have your business. They're having three events at 8 o'clock, 10 o'clock and 12 o'clock. They are three sets of sales and so you have to be there if you want something from all of them. But we leave there and go to the outlet mall and then to the Avenues."
Third. Don't wait in line. "We sit in the car and kinda rest our feet until about ten minutes before they open and then we wait till the end of the line comes all the way around to the front of the store and just get into line. We never missed any deals that we wanted."
Fourth strategy. Employ price-matching. Wal-Mart will usually honor other store's prices if you bring the competitor's ad. "Last year one lady went with us and she had four ads and they price adjust over $100 worth of ads for her," said Fulp.
Fifth strategy. Know where the goods are before going into the store. "We almost saw a fist fight one year in the electronic department over a TV because they thought there were only four but what they didn't know is that there was 40 more over by the steaks."
And last tip, a marathon shopper needs nourishment to go the distance. "You gotta eat. Last year we were eating pizza and 2 o'clock in the morning at the Outlet Mall."
Fulp and Salter admit you have to like crowds and the excitement of "finding the deal" to survive Black Friday, especially for 24 hours straight. But for them the payoff is not only the goods but the experience. "You still might not get that gift you want but at least have a good time. And have a bunch of fun stories to tell when you get hope and your deliriously happy."
Or maybe deliriously sleepy! By the way, The Florida Retail Federation predicts a 5.2% ride in consumer spending this holiday season. Consumer spending in Florida by residents and visitors should reach $58 billion in November and December, up by $3 billion from a year ago.
First Coast News