Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Black Friday's on it's way...

I really wanted to get this post written sooner as there is SOO much information to share about cross-boarder Black Friday shopping... But I guess I better start writing and keep going for the next two days to get everything out you need to know to be prepared.
  • FIRST tip: BE PREPARED, BE PREPARED, and BE PREPARED! This year most stores open at midnight on Thanksgiving (Nov. 24) however some open sooner and some open later. Research your sales and what items you are in desperate need of (or want which we often confuse with need) and be sure to be at the store when they open as many Door Crashers go fast! Also Be Prepared to arrive at the store a little earlier, dress warm enough to stand in line to get into the store and Be Prepared to stand in the line to check out if you are running in for 1 or 2 things and running out.   
Some stores also open ON Thanksgiving day (Old Navy at Noon, Michael's from 6-9pm: are the one's we visit) with different sales than those they have on Black Friday. They then close and re-open with different Sales for Black Friday. If you can't find opening times for the store you are looking for, you can always find the phone number!

Most stores have announced they are opening at Midnight this year, however for us Manitoban's who are going the distance to Minneapolis, stores at Albertville have scattered their opening times..8:30pm, 10:30pm and midnight. If you are going to be there when stores open, Be prepared not to leave for a while. The parking lot becomes a gridlock!
  • Second tip: http://bfads.net/  is the BEST black friday advertisement site I have found so far. They begin uploading black Friday ads about the beginning of November and release them as they receive them. As us Canadians don't receive newspapers with store flyers in them, BFads is a national website where you can find most flyers or at least the items on sale for most popular stores. If you are looking for a certain flyer they don't post, all you have to do is send them a message and the SUPER friendly editors there will respond to you very promptly.
Another tip to go along with the last one: Find a newspaper when you get down there and buy a couple. COUPONS, COUPONS and did I say COUPONS. Most department stores have coupons in the flyers. It is almost ALWAYS worth buying the paper (depending on what you're buying) for the coupons. Take a pair of scissors and while you're sitting in the parking lot waiting for the store to open, cut your coupons to take along on your shopping day.
  • Decide whether to take a hotel Thanksgiving Night or not. If you are going to be hitting the stores at midnight and shopping all through the night and next day, you'll have to decide whether it's worth paying for a hotel that night or not. Just remember, it is a place you can go and drop off your stuff so you have trunk space and if you don't take a hotel that night, you have no home base until check in time (which is generally 3pm) Friday afternoon.
I'm not going to say too much about this one but watch your boarder wait times. Here are two websites that you can access and will show you boarder wait times. American bound: http://apps.cbp.gov/bwt/index.asp and Canadian bound: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/bwt-taf/menu-eng.html. We have a few boarder crossings that are pretty easy to go through if Emerson/Pembina are REALLY backed up BUT they are not open 24 hours and you may not be able to get any Duty Free.

I think this post is enough to at least get you started thinking about saving on your trip. Hopefully you've learned something. If you are thinking about going to Grand Forks (Manitobans), my personal opinion.. Fargo is only an extra hour. It's worth the drive for the extra stores I find... (And no tax on clothing in Minnesota...Moorhead is right over the bridge). 

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