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Waiting in Line on Black Friday? Here Are 5 T’s to Pass the Time

Nov. 28, 2014
Black Friday, Shopping
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So, you’re one of many enthusiastic bargain hunters who have opted to leave their warm homes and turkey dinners behind for cold temperatures and less-than-comfortable sidewalks – all in hopes of snagging a huge deal on a Black Friday doorbuster.

Standing in line for hours – or possibly even days – to score a huge discount may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but now that you’re actually there, you may be wondering what to do to keep yourself busy.

Thankfully, we’ve got five Black Friday (or Thanksgiving) tips and tricks to keep you occupied in line:

1. Talk With Your Crew (or Another Neighbor)

It may seem obvious, but one of the simplest ways to spend your time in line is talking.

If you’re camping out with a group of friends or family, talk among yourselves. You can discuss your strategy for when you get into the store or devise a plan for which member of the group should try to snag which product. You should also consider how you will stay in contact with the members of your Black Friday pack once you descend on the store.

If you’re alone in line, or even if you’re not, try striking up a conversation with your fellow Black Friday hopefuls. You can discuss how long you’ve been in line for, what doorbuster you have your eye on and more. This can actually be more strategy than social: Determining which customers will be buying which products can help you determine whether you’re close enough to the front doors to secure one of the limited-quantity items.

2. Text to Keep in Touch

If you prefer texting over talking, you can try that, too. Take selfies and send them out to your friends to capture your Black Friday experience.

Additionally, your friends and family who aren’t standing in line (or sleeping in a tent) can alert you of any better sales or interesting Black Friday news. If you’re staked out at a well-known store, they may even text you to say that they saw you and your fellow campers on the local news station’s coverage of Black Friday.

3. Take Turns to Lighten the Load

You don’t have to be in line the entire time you camp out. Have you thought about taking turns? Give yourself breaks to go home, get some rest, take a warm shower or get something to eat. This will give you time to refresh and recharge.

You may also need to switch off shifts of standing in line if you have to go in to work. Find a Black Friday shopper who is just as dedicated as you are to be your partner in line – or maybe just a friend who is dependable enough to give you a break.

4. Tease Your Brain With Games

It’s probably the oldest trick in the book for passing time – playing games and solving puzzles. Try filling out brain teasers, putting together puzzles, playing card games or downloading the newest smartphone apps. You can play against yourself or challenge your friends.

Not sure what to play? A few examples: crosswords, word searches, hangman and Sudoku. As for virtual ones, try the popular Words With Friends, Angry Birds or Candy Crush. Finally, there are always the old go-to games that require nothing other than your imagination – like I Spy and 20 Questions.

5. Train for the Shopathon

Last, don’t let all of that free time go to waste. You can train while you’re in line.

Yes, shopping does indeed require training. This may include studying maps of the store to memorize the location of particular deals, reading through ads and clipping coupons to have handy for the checkout line. Furthermore, if you’re waiting outside a store that accepts price matching, such as Walmart, try to find lower prices in the ads of the retailer’s competitors.


Read more from NerdWallet:

Best Buy Black Friday 2014

Victoria’s Secret Black Friday

Walmart Black Friday Ad



Girl waiting image via Shutterstock