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Turn ‘Black Friday’ into a less hectic shopping day

November 18th, 2010

Thanksgiving will be here in about a week, which means holiday shopping season is just about here.

If you cringe at the thought of Black Friday and/or crowded malls, there may be some solutions for you. As many people have probably figured out by now, online shopping becomes more and more popular every year. There are no lines to wait in, shoppers do not have to spend twenty minutes searching for a parking spot, they’re not shoulder to shoulder with people who all want the same item, and most importantly, shoppers can do it in their pajamas.

Still, not being up at the crack of dawn fighting the crowds on Black Friday doesn’t mean sale-searchers will be missing out on huge deals and savings.

In fact, many stores offer their Black Friday products for sale online starting on Thanksgiving morning. This way, customers can have their items purchased with discounts galore before Black Friday even begins.

“When I shop online, it’s easier to find what I’m looking for, I just put it into Google and instantly I can buy it,” said junior Jonathan Holman. “I don’t have to go from store to store, to compare prices either because on the Internet, I can do that in a matter of seconds.”

Although online shopping is a great alternative, it does unfortunately leave shoppers paying that little extra bit they wouldn’t have to pay anywhere else: shipping costs.

Have no fear. An estimated 1,000 stores will be offering free shipping for the annual “Free Shipping Day.”

That’s right. On Dec. 17, your online purchases will be made free of shipping costs, with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve. For participating stores, visit freeshippingday.com.

If shopping in stores is completely necessary, make sure to check Twitter, Facebook or e-mails for discounts and advertisements. More and more retailers are posting deals and ads via social networks, some even with printable coupons.

For iPhone users, the iPhone is now offering apps that could help make holiday shopping experience a lot less hectic.

The “Black Friday App” allows users to browse Black Friday ads right on their iPhone. This offers a search feature to help find exactly what shoppers are looking for, and even allows them to save items to their own shopping list, so they can be in-and-out of the mall. The iPhone also offers the “Pricegrabber App,” which can be downloaded for free. The Pricegrabber makes it easy to find items for the cheapest price possible, with a built-in scanner. Just scan your item’s bar code on the sales tag, and your iPhone will tell you where that item is being sold for a cheaper price.