Countdown to Black Friday: Tips, trends, and tricks to help you survive retail’s biggest day

Hair pulling, elbow shoving and towel throwing — this is the legacy of Black Friday. Fighting to get new treasures immediately after we give thanks seems ironic. Yet each year, many Kentuckians go out and explore the sales. As the day inches up on us once more, I decided to find out exactly what draws people to the madness.

Gracie Maxie of Whitley County takes Black Friday very seriously. Every year, Maxie’s family cooks their Thanksgiving meal on Wednesday. On Thursday morning, they head out for a shopping trip that will last at least 48 hours.

Maxie started the tradition with her sister-in-law and they’ve shopped everywhere from Cincinnati to Pigeon Forge; they’ve even traveled as far as Georgia. Maxie says that they just go for the fun of it and to people watch.

“Even if we don’t want anything, we’ll stand in line for stuff just so we can watch everyone else fight,” she said.

Maxie has even been in such incidents herself. She said one time, as she was standing first in line for a camera, a woman dove between her legs. “She tried to raise up and I was riding her just like a horse,” she laughed.

While Maxie and her sister love the thrill of Black Friday, some dread it like the plague. Fellow Whitley County native, Bryan Lawson, isn’t as thrilled by the hours of shopping.

“I hate Black Friday,” Lawson said. “Too much commotion, traffic, over populated, getting up way early when I’d rather be sleeping.”

If Lawson makes the trek Friday, it will likely be with his wife. He said he normally sees who she plans to go with and if they are dragging their significant other along. If they are, he will go to join the other men in solidarity toward the madness. However, he later admitted that he makes the sacrifice for his wife more than anyone.

Although Maxie and Lawson both testified for the age old story of chaos, Christy Jones of Newport, Kentucky, said that she didn’t experience anything of the sorts. Jones is originally from Knox County and moved to the Newport area as a freelance makeup artist.

As a sales representative, many would think that Jones would dread Black Friday, but she actually volunteers to work it.

“It’s not that bad, it’s a lot of fun,” she said.

Jones admitted that some stores, like Walmart, are a lot more hectic than her own work locations. She said that at Ulta, Macy’s and other cosmetic carriers, the only abnormality of the day is the larger rush of customers.

Jones said it’s a great opportunity to meet sales goals and to get good hours before the Christmas holiday. She gave the example of having a mascara on sale.

“I can be like ‘hey, did you get your $10 mascara’ and nine times out of ten they’ll purchase one,” she said.

She also added that she always asks customers the questions of “who, who, and you: who are you shopping for, who else are you shopping for, and what about something for yourself?” This allows her to make a huge amount of sales to large amounts of customers without forgetting to address all their needs.

Black Friday will always have its legacy, but everyone has their reasons for partaking in the occasion. If you’re planning to go this year, here are some of the tips released this year by the Laurel County Sheriff Department:

— Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.

— Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.

— Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings.

— Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

— Keep cash in your front pocket.

— Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen, or misused.

— Be aware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con-artists may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.

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