The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local Business

November 21, 2012

Tips for coping with Black Friday frenzy

ANDERSON, Ind. — Up to 147 million bargain-hunters will hit stores Black Friday weekend, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation.

The Herald Bulletin asked expert Braun Roosa, assistant general manager at Anderson’s Mounds Mall, for some advice on snagging the best deals and staying safe.

PLAN AHEAD

Guess what — to get ‘door-buster’ deals, shoppers might actually have to bust down some doors. Figuratively speaking, of course.

And that might require staying up all night to “be one of the first in line,” Roosa said in an email.  Not to mention “a lot of patience and missing family on Thanksgiving maybe.”

To get the biggest bang for their buck, Roosa suggests shoppers make a “hit list” of specific stores, merchandise and deals to look for, then group them geographically.  

Some businesses “will have staggered opening hours, but it doesn’t make sense to go from one end of town to the other and then back again to do your shopping,” Roosa said. “The most convenient shopping is when you can find multiple stores together, like shopping malls or outlets.”

At Mounds, 2109 S. Scatterfield Road, Carson’s, Claire’s, Nirvana and the Piercing Pagoda will all open at 12 a.m. Friday. The rest of the stores will open at 5 a.m.

Need the skinny on where the best deals are? Other shoppers are looking in circulars (49.5 percent), TV ads (30.5 percent) and online (26.8 percent), says the NRF.

Those are also good places to find coupons, and “you don’t want to be stuck in line to be told your item requires a coupon,” Roosa said.

And bringing the kiddos is fine, Roosa said, but “remember, toddlers may slow you down with a lot of ‘mommy/daddy I’m tired, mommy/daddy I’m hungry.’ I speak from experience having 3-year-old twins.”

STAY SAFE

Buyers beware — Indiana State Police are also warning against pickpockets and theft on Black Friday.

Worse, stiff competition for the best deals might make some shoppers a little aggressive. Black Friday 2011 saw shoppers stabbed, shot and 15 were even pepper-sprayed, according to NBC News.

Statistically speaking, the odds are relatively low that will happen to you. But as a precaution, Roosa said Mounds has added extra security staff.

Still, he said, it’s best not to shop alone. ISP also advises shoppers to only carry the cash and credit cards they need, to stay in well-lit areas and pay attention to their surroundings at all times.

It’s also important to safeguard purchases against theft. “Never leave your car unlocked as you run from store to store,” Roosa said.

State police advise keeping packages hidden, possibly in the trunk.

Find Baylee Pulliam on Facebook and @BayleeNPulliam on Twitter, or call 648-4250.

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