Need Help from Experienced Black Friday Shoppers...

Updated on November 21, 2013
N.H. asks from Canton, IL
25 answers

Hi. I've never shopped black friday sales. This year, I've found I need a new electronic item & decided that I cannot pass up Wal Mart's pre-black Friday sale. Here's my issue...Although the prices are good til Dec. 1st, I cannot go any other day except that Thursday, Thanksgiving day, for the sale. Also, how does it work? Does Wal Mart normally have a designated "line" for each department and just have the various items, like electronics, stacked up behind a table & dole them out for each customer during the sale? I went shopping there last night to take a look at my item but did not see it on display...does this mean that Wal Mart will have the sale items off the shelf til the sale then have them available? If they don't normally have a line w/all the items behind the door to hand out, if I can't find it, do I just walk around, find a clerk & ask them? I've found that often the clerks are either 'busy' or unavailable. Do I just call the store iteself & find out through them instead?

I just need some shopping advice on what to expect b/c I honestly have NO clue on what to do or what to expect. Thanks, in advance, to anyone who replies.

**Just a little added info...I have to work til prob. Noon on Thanksgiving, the sale won't start til 6pm, the electronics sale won't start until 8pm so how far in advance should I get there? Should I stand in line for 6 hrs? Also, I did look up the item online but it's not at the sale price, do you think that it will be at the sale price on that sale day?? Thanks!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

WoW So many different replies & remarks. I really didn't expect the snide & snarky replies from some who think I'm cold-hearted & thoughtless of others. I used to work at WalMart...3 different locations in fact (they didn't have Black Friday sales when I worked there) so I know that it's frustrating to work on a holiday but that's how it goes. You need a job, you follow their rules, you don't like it, stay home & don't work or work elsewhere that closes for a holiday. We do celebrate holidays but it's just me & the husband so we have different views compared to others on what makes a holiday. Now, as I stated earlier, I do need this item & if they have it online for the sale price, I'll buy it online. This item is normally $300 & selling for half so it is a good litem w/a good price & it's something I truly need.
I do appreciate those who replied with genuinely helpful advice but I do not appreciate disrespectful, snarky remarks. I normally get great advice from others here. Those who have nothing nice to say or nothing helpful to offer need not reply, thanks! And I'll consider the helpful advice before making a decision. I'll definitely shop around first. Maybe I can find a good refurbished model for the same price online.

Featured Answers



answers from San Francisco on

Please do not shop on Thanksgiving day. If people would not shop, then the store would stay closed and all those employees can enjoy Thanksgiving with their families.

So you're going to work and then shop. Guess you're not celebrating a traditional Thanksgiving, but that shouldn't translate to you not caring if others get to spend the holiday with their families.

I think it's horrid that Wal-Mart is going to be open on Thanksgiving and because of that, they will not see one dime of my holiday money!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I work retail black friday. You will need to get here at least 2 or 3 hrs in advance the place I work at will not let anyone in until doors open there are people at each location through out the store for different electronic items. They aren't just at the department. They will not let anyone get the sale price until the sale starts. I also hate retail opening on thanksgiving at midnight fine but earlier is worse no one gets family time because of it

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

It really depends on what you want. There are some stores that I just flat will not go to on Black Friday. Best Buy is one of those for way in hell am I camping out for 3 days straight for a TV. They also only promise to have so many of each particular item. SO, sometimes if you are not one of the first three people in line, then you aren't getting the item.

I always look on the store websites on Thanksgiving from home...I often can get some of the same deals that way. I LOVE Black Friday shopping, but I go in with a plan of where I am going to go and what I am going to get. I usually go in very early like 4 or 5 a.m. and am done by mid morning.

More Answers



answers from Tulsa on

I have no suggestions for you, I don't want/need anything bad enough to ever try the BF sales. But in response to those that think it's "horrid" that Walmart is going to be open on Thanksgiving, know that retail workers aren't the only ones forced to work on the holiday. We always went to the movies on Thanksgiving afternoon growing up, there wasn't any outrage for the employees of the theater, or the gas stations, etc. Sometimes being an adult and maintaining a job means making sacrifices, including working on holidays. Prior to staying at home with my son, I worked in several hospitals which included working holidays or weekends. It's just the nature of the beast.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Not sure what item you are looking for but check for their black friday deals. For the past two years I've been able to order the black friday deal online on Thanksgiving day BEFORE the black friday store hours even opened.

For the record, Walmart has always been open on Thanksgiving day. They have moved their "black friday sale" start time up to 6pm in response to Target, BestBuy, and ToysRUs starting their sales early. It is not just Walmart being greedy, it's the entire industry.

There are many retailers that remain open on EVERY holiday. Not everyone celebrates the same holidays hence movie theaters being open on Christmas day.

I'm not sure how your local Walmart is in general but I can tell you we live in a small town. We have done black friday sales at walmart several times. The first two years were very organized and both the customers and employees were very pleasant. Customers were passing things up and down the aisles to each other to help people out because it was so very crowded. People were singing carols and really, we all had a fabulous time. The following year was the last time we did Walmart's black friday sale because the "climate" had drastically changed. People were pushing and shoving to get to the electronics deals. Hell they about knocked people over just to get through the front door. Hubs and I quickly decided that it was not worth the savings. The following year I started online shopping with BestBuy and Kohls, both allow you to get the black friday deals online without the hassle of standing in any lines :)

Peace and Blessings,

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I can only share my experience on black Friday at Walmart. First off the items are not usually in their perspective depts. For example the laptop that's such great deal is in produce. The tv that is a steal is by the milk. There will be a map on the website if it isn't already letting you know where the items are located throughout the store.
Once the doors open go to that item and wait in line. Where I was they didn't have tickets, they did have tons of security though. Oh and they have a very limited # of items.
The year I went there was a laptop for $199 and they had 50 of them. The line was well over 100 people long. The next tier laptop was $299 it was out in lawn and garden and they 100 of these, when I walked over there, about 6 people in line. SCORE.
A little planning can go a long way.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You couldn't pay me enough to go stand in line to try to get a deal. My time is worth far more than that, plus I value my safety.

I went to 1 BF and swore I would never do it again. I was shocked at how people acted. People were like vultures pushing, shoving, taking things from people, fighting. We witnessed people being more civil when when we went through Hurricane Hugo and had days with no power and had to wait in lines for gas, water, ice and bread.

I boycott Walmart so there is no worries about them getting any of my money.

There are no material items electronic or not out there that is so important to me that I would give up my day of Thanksgiving and being with my family to go stand in a line.

You can find deals online and in other places as well. Walmart is not the only place to sell electronics.

If you get online, you can probably find what you are looking for and avoid the overall hassle of BF. We don't venture out to any mall or large shopping center Thanksgiving weekend. It is too crazy.

If you go.... good luck, be prepared and enjoy.

ETA: I have to agree with AKmom. We are in the raw materials industry and it is a known fact with us and other distributors of raw materials that when Walmart places orders, they demand the same name brand but they have different specs for the product such as cheaper materials. They squeeze suppliers and cut costs my having a name brand but different spec. Example.. KitchenAid Mixer at Best Buy is higher quality and made with much higher grade materials than the KitchenAid mixer at Walmart. Be aware of what you are buying.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I don't know how early you should be, I myself avoid the stores from Thanksgiving until after New Years (I would rather pay more for a better item). And the "better item" issue is why I am responding. Do not forget to check the specs on the item, often times they roll out a special model that you think is that wonderful $500 TV you looked at, but when in reality it does not have the same specs or features and is of less quality, so look close before you commit.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I looked through your answers to see if someone really called you cold-hearted and thoughtless. Maybe I read the answers too fast or missed something, but I don't think that's what is being said here. A few posters are badmouthing Walmart. They're saying that they themselves won't go on Thanksgiving. They're giving you their point of view about it. I don't think that's snarky or disrespectful.

That being said, I hated Black Friday shopping back before stores started opening on Thanksgiving. The only thing that's different now is that the shopping starts earlier. The reason is that retail lives or dies by this weekend's sales. Without a successful end of November, they won't post a profit for the year. That's actually a BIG DEAL for our economy.

For the most part, I don't go shopping during this crazy time. I did go to Kohl's on Thanksgiving night two years ago after dinner during a movie I had seen several times, because I saw in the circular that they had watches for sale. I ended up getting a $500 Seiko watch, a pretty one too, that I could actually read without my reading glasses for about $125. It was worth it. I was home in an hour. I would like to buy electronics this way, but quite frankly, it never seemed to work out because there were never enough to sell, and the lines were long even if we showed up hours in advance. It has been a long time since I tried that, but I don't need anything that badly and would rather pay more than go through that pain.

The poster who mentioned that those who think it's awful for Walmart employees to work, yet there are all these other employees who work, are spot on. How would people feel if they couldn't fill up their gas tanks on Thanksgiving? Convenience stores? The HOSPITAL? Nursing homes? Restaurants? And yes, there are people who can't cook Thanksgiving dinner and go out to eat. These employees know that they may be working on holidays. I don't blame them for not liking it, but it doesn't mean that no one should shop. For families who travel, sometimes what they do is have their Thanksgivings at home a little early. Part of my family does this.

I wish you luck in getting what you are looking for. Like some people said, plan in advance. But if you have an unsuccessful or crappy experience, you might look back here at the posts you don't like and see things in a different light.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

What exactly are you getting from Walmart? Sometimes you can find the exact same deal elsewhere without all the hassle (because it will be like something out of your nightmares). I am an expert at this method.... :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

Yes, you will need to stand in line for six hours. Or more, if you're there for one of the heavily discounted electronics items. They'll only have a limited quantity. Many of the items won't be offered for sale online at the same price, so you will probably have to go there. Once they open the doors you'll need to run to that department and probably take a ticket in order to be helped. Or you'll get a number and they'll call you.

Honestly, though, are you sure this is worth it? You're basically giving up your entire Thanksgiving day (because you'll need to stand outside Walmart in line from noon onwards).

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Maybe someone already mentioned this but check if your item is part of their 1 hour guarantee. They guarantee certain items for up to one hour of when the sale starts. If they run out, you get a rain check for the sale price. Then you don"t need to worry about standing around.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I don't think shopping on Thanksgiving is worth any deal. We so often get the same deals or better online on Black Friday or on Cyber Monday. Seriosusly check the price of the item you want because it probably is not worth it.

Some people love it - but I don't get it. The crowds, the fights, people get trampled and actually die just from good sales. It's simply not worth it. I will take my kids out on Black Friday AFTERNOON when the big sales are over to get some good priced toys for Toys for Tots, but that's about it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

Why spend so much time during a family holiday trying to buy something? What is the item? Someone was asking a similar question on here a few weeks ago and the item she wanted was actually available online for less right at that moment.

If people keep participating in this crazy Thanksgiving sale BS the stores will continue to keep their employees from enjoying a holiday meant for family and gratitude. There are few things more un-American then spending Thanksgiving day fighting over a few measly deals Walmart tosses out. How much is your precious time really worth?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boise on

This will depend a lot on where you live.

In our store, people start lining up about 1-2 hours ahead, and the store will start handing out tickets close to 'go' time. This stops people from getting stupid over the electronics....not anything else though, everything else is up for grabs. Oh and a lot of times you can get a map of where they have placed everything. I never seem to get these darn maps, but I see plenty of people with them.

In my area most people are pretty nice, there is a little shoving but it's more because of congestion around an item then it is about people being rude, not saying there aren't a few rude people, but over all people are nice.

I'm hoping that with all the people being fat and happy with turkey they'll be slow moving. Once can hope right? lol

I'm not a fan of it being on turkey day, but what can you do? You want the deal, you get out there, and with 8 kids I need every penny and have zero success with Cyber Monday.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Richland on

If it is truly a hot item you will have to get there hours, around ten hours, maybe more, to get one. You may want to see if it is online.

I did black Friday right up until I was freezing my butt off, looked it up on my phone, bought it, and went home. Kind of seemed pointless after that.

Oh, but yes, there will be a cattle line, line tickets, items behind a counter.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

It might be a good idea to ask the store manager exactly what the plan is for that particular Walmart. The store where we shop has a designated line for each "hot" item. These lines are spread-out throughout the store. If you want an IPad, it could be in electronics, but it could also be in produce or pet supplies. It just depends, because they need to spread them out in order to have some form of order.

Last year, my MIL, SIL and I had 10:00 pm items we wanted. Mine was a Nook Tablet (camera department), my SIL wanted Laptops for her daughters (pet supplies) and my MIL was getting a Desktop (dairy). We got to the store at 8:00 pm, because there was also an 8:00 pm item my SIL wanted. We found where our items are and stood in that line for the (almost) 2 hours. Since my SIL has 2 daughters and wanted 2 laptops, it's a good think her husband came, too, because they were only selling one per customer.

Talk to the store manager and make sure you know where your item will be. They are often very strict and will not even hand out the items to be purchased until the designated times. Also, you may be required to pay for them immediately, rather than going through the main checkout line.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I had never been either and my husband and I went a couple years ago. OMG! It was freaking crazy. There were LONG lines for the hot items and I mean people had been in line for MANY HOURS! For example, they had only 49 trampolines at the sale price so they counted the people in line and told the 49th person to turn everyone else away. So if your electronic item is a hot item and they only have a few, you may have to be waiting for a very long time. They usually have the sales items roped up and sectioned off until the sale actually 'begins'. Then at 6:00 sharp, they make an announcement and everyone starts grabbing stuff. It's really horrible. THEN you have to wait in crazy long lines to check out. It just was NOT worth it to us to save a few bucks. We have not gone since and will likely never go again, especially now that they are announcing they are opening even EARLIER. I think that is horrible for the workers and their families and we will not support it at all. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

One way they have done it in the past is that they will have lines in certain areas for a certain item. (The areas have nothing to do with the item. e.g. a handheld electronic might be over in the paint area. Most of the time the location is mapped out ahead of time.) They will pass out tickets. So if it is a laptop that they have 75 of they will pass out 75 tickets and you must stay in that line with your ticket until the magic hour. If you wish to leave you must surrender your ticket. (I think they will give you a 10 minute break to use the rest room.) At the magic hour they will bring the item out to that area and exchange it for your ticket.

No you will not see the item ahead of time. They are not on the floor until it is time to pass them out or they are shrink wrapped and 'guarded' by employees. The merchandise they sell on Black Friday is special stock and not the same everyday merchandise.

Most retailers will not let you buy the BF items online, Kohl's will but I do not think Walmart is one of them.

You will really need to weigh the cost of your time and inconvenience against the best possible price you can find currently. If you decide to go, take a friend that is game to wait, take a book, or something to do while you wait.



answers from New York on

The stores usually only have a few of the big sale item. So chances are, un less you are first in line and risk being stampeded to death, you won't get it. There is nothing in the world that I could want that would make me shop on Thanksgiving. IMO it is a disgrace that these stores are open. Just being honest.



answers from New York on

I hate to say it but big-ticket electronics are what people wait inline for. So, if you are up for the good fight, then go for it. Maybe 2 hours ahead of opening, Otherwise, go ahead and wait for cyber deals. There will be lots of sales going on between now and Christmas. So check lots of stores and check frequently. There are some Black Friday websites, too that list all sales flyers. Google Black Friday 2013. See what you get!

Good luck - and enjoy the mayhem!



answers from Dayton on

I have went Black Friday shopping for years now! I never have went to get any big deal item, I usually go for the small things but like most said below be prepared for long lines. I recommend not drinking or eating a whole lot, just carry what you need, and I would go there after work to see if any lines are forming. Some ppl get crazy and start lining up first thing Thanksgiving morning!! Crazy if you ask me!!! I just found out today that sometimes places offer sale prices online but I have never been home on BF to check it out. Good luck and hope you find what you are looking for!!!



answers from Los Angeles on

I didn't read any of the other responses, but I went to Walmart late in the evening on Thanksgiving. If you think you'll need a shopping cart, grab one if you see it in the parking lot, because you probably won't be able to find one in the store. The only problem is, there will be shopping cart traffic jams too. All the the items that are supposed to be available at midnight, etc, will be roped off, and there will be lines formed near them. These lines will block all shopping traffic too.

The Plainfield Walmart where I went last year was super crowded only in the electronics department. Everyone was polite and in good spirits.

Do you live near a Meijer? If so, check out their Black Friday preview ad. They have great gift card deals on Apple products and other electronics. I think they are open all day on Thanksgiving, and they tend to not be very crowded. Good luck!



answers from St. Louis on

I didn't read the answers so, I am sorry if I repeat something. If you go online and look up your Walmart store by location, it will show you a map of where they will be placing the Black Friday items thru the store. They usually are not where you think they should be. For example, last year the DVD's that they had for $3 were in the produce section of our Walmart. They will actually bring out Skids of the Black Friday deals wrapped in black shrinkwrap and the employees will cut the shrink wrap off right at the time the sale starts. There are usually people just hoovered around those skids. This is the first year they have done the 1 hour quarantee so, I am not sure how those will be set up. Good luck! Hope you get what you are after. My mom and I go every year. We love it. It starts the Christmas Holiday for us.


answers from Detroit on

I have been shopping Black Friday for years. Be prepared to wait in long lines, deal with rude people, and get stepped on (or worse!) Do your homework, prices, and see if any other store price match, also online. I found that prices on current items are cheaper two weeks before Christmas.

I was at Walmart last year for the $139 TVs that did not go on sale until 7 am black Friday. They had everyone in the electronics department in certain lines for the items, some items they would tell you how many they had, others they did not know. I was the first in line with others for 5 hours. To get people out of the store faster, they checked out the deals early, except ours. By the time the guy came with the cart of TVs’, they only had 2 TV's! It was a mad rush (no more line) to the TVs. The guy could not even move. I told people oh heck no, I was here first. So as people were hounding the guy, I just took the TV off the cart myself and went to the register.

Wear cool clothes, do not drink or eat a lot, and only carry what is needed!!! Try not to carry cash!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions