TLC’s strangely addicting show “Extreme Couponing” recently aired a new special, Midnight Madness (January 29). It features more extreme couponers getting the best deals that they can on Black Friday.
The cast consisted of pregnant Angelique, mother of 8 April (aka the Coupon General), stay at home mom Jessica and Callie (aka the Cajun Couponer). These women were prepared to do battle. Jessica stated “I’m a very competitive person. I don’t like to lose and so I am gonna shove myself up there and make sure I get the deal”; while Callie said that “It is every man for himself… when it comes to Black Friday, the gloves are off”. One comment that disturbed me was from Jessica who said to her son: “Don’t be afraid to throw an elbow, or you know, kick them in the shin, trip them, I don’t care”. It was hard to tell if this was said tongue-in-cheek, but with the recent news of trampling, pepper spraying and other Black Friday craziness, this seems really seemed inappropriate.
The episode contained a few Black Friday facts, like:
- In the past 5 years, Black Friday shopping has doubled.
- 58% of Black Friday shoppers are looking for consumer electronics.
And while most Black Friday (BF) shoppers already do these things, there were some helpful hints to help strategize your next BF shopping trip.
- * Look for preleaked sales and start writing a list.
- * Set a spending limit (you need to decide what works best for you. Angelique brought only cash so she wouldn’t be tempted to add more to a debit or credit card).
- * Recruit friends and family members to line up at different locations. Some of the stores had deals (like Old Navy had arm bracelets to give out a free digital camera to customers purchasing $40 or more). If you are going to a store like this, you can have additional members get a bracelet and divide your transaction into smaller ones.
- * Map your route out. Jessica input her stores’ addresses into her GPS. It didn’t work well for her on the show, so you might want to make sure the store is where you think it is. If you are unfamiliar with the mall you are going to, you can map out your mall route beforehand as well.
- * Schedule in potty breaks!
- * Also bring some food and maybe a bottle of water with you (along with the chairs and blankets) if you are planning on shopping the whole day.
- * Instead of the big box stores, try checking out your local shops as well. They might have great deals going on as well.
- * Some stores hold back their deals until Thanksgiving Day. Check the inserts that day to review the ads for changing. Don’t forget some stores might have unadvertised deals, as well.
- * It might be a good idea to bring along your ad inserts, in case an advertised item doesn’t scan correctly. Not only do you want to be able to get in and out of every store quickly, you want to be considerate to other shoppers. Having the inserts handy could mean it takes less time to check if it is the right item at the right price.
I don’t know how I feel about the changing scape of BF sales. First stores started opening crazy early (like 5 and 6 AM). Then it was 3 or 4 AM. and now some are starting to open the night before around 10 or 11 PM and are open all night. Do you think this takes away from the Thanksgiving holiday? And let’s not forget the yearly horror stories. Trampling, shootings and stabbings.
In this show, a few of the shoppers hiding items they wanted, before the sales (in boots, in handbags, in drawers and even hidden in the center of clothing rack). One of the issues with this is, what if someone purchased the boots or the handbag during that time? What if she was arrested for trying to shoplift? Not really great shopping etiquette.
As well, Angelique cleared the shelves and bought more than her fair share of electric razors (she had a coupon that made them less than free). I think she bought 19. It is doubtful she will be using all 19 of them as Christmas presents. More than likely, they ended up being sold on Craigslist or eBay. I think that a large majority of this winds up for resale. Its sad that 18 or so other people weren’t able to give those as gifts.
Did you watch the episode? So what do you think?