Last year, 20% of Americans – some 63 million people – worked on Black Friday, according to a survey by Starbucks Corp. unit Seattle’s Best Coffee. And of course, retail workers will certainly be among those who must work: In 2013, BuzzFeed compiled the 21 saddest selfies posted on social media by retail employees working on Black Friday.
No one wants to spend the biggest shopping day of the year working, but it’s an unavoidable reality for many. What should you do if you’re one of the millions working on Black Friday? Here are some tips to help you spend – and save – money while you earn it:
Adjust Your Schedule
The first thing to do if you find out you’re working on Black Friday is to try not to work on Black Friday. Look at your schedule in advance of the much-anticipated shopping day. If you can, request the day off.
Other options include switching days off with a co-worker or working the night shift so you’ll have plenty of time to shop in the morning.
If none of these options is possible at your job, try moving on to one of the next tips.
Shop on Thanksgiving
It’s called the Black Friday creep. Black Friday sales seem to be starting earlier and earlier with each year that passes. This means doorbuster events now begin on Thanksgiving Day and continue into Black Friday, or even over the entire weekend.
If you’re not a retail worker, you’ll probably have Thanksgiving off to observe the holiday. If so, hit the mall – or just your favorite store – on Thanksgiving Day instead of Black Friday. Sure, you might miss some turkey and stuffing, but you’ll be able to grab a great deal before you’re stuck in the office all day Friday.
If going to a brick-and-mortar store isn’t an option for you, shop from the comfort of your own home instead. Many major retailers now make their Black Friday deals available both in-store and online.
On the days leading up to Black Friday, check to see if those amazing price cuts you’ve been eyeing for weeks will be offered to cybershoppers. Some stores will even offer free shipping if you reach the designated minimum purchase amount.
Before you leave in the morning for your shift, wake up a little early, pour yourself a cup of coffee and log on. You can even sit back and shop online after you return home in the evening.
Shop on Your Break
So maybe you’ll be working all day long and won’t have time to browse websites on your tablet or make purchases on your laptop before you leave the house. If that’s the case, have you thought about shopping on your break?
Bring your favorite Internet-enabled device to work with you and devote your break time to your very own Black Friday blitz. Or, if your lunch hour is long enough – and you’re near enough to a retail outlet – head over to a physical store location and purchase your favorite product in person, all before you even start the second half of your day.
Send a Friend
If none of these ideas is an option for you, send someone to the store in your place. Instead of being jealous of that friend who has Black Friday off, ask him or her to do some shopping for you.
All you’ll need to do is read Black Friday ads ahead of time, research your favorite deals and make a list of your must-have items. Be sure to pick a friend who doesn’t mind waking up early and standing in line. If all goes according to plan, you’ll come home at the end of a long workday to your dream product waiting for you.
There’s Always Cyber Monday
If all else fails, and you have no possible way of shopping on Black Friday, you can always skip the official kickoff of the holiday shopping season and do your bargain hunting on Cyber Monday instead.
The Monday after Thanksgiving is filled with online sales and great deals. You won’t have to feel bad about missing Friday’s discounts because there will be plenty more waiting for you come Monday.
If you work on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, well, better read through these tips again.
Work-life image via Shutterstock