Black Friday shopping in person at big box stores is the stuff of hilarious memes about being thrown into combat, getting trampled to death or simply being guilty of gross consumerism the day after one was theoretically supposed to be thankful for what they've got. There's a lot of sane reasons big and small to want to avoid a real-life Hunger Games scenario on the most overhyped shopping day of the day, starting with personal safety. But the truth is that if you want a good deal, you don't have to wait until Nov. 23 ‚ and sometimes those Black Friday deals aren't really deals, once you really break them down. Below, some alternatives for jumping in the fray that day.
The day after Black Friday is a pretty cool day to shop
It's called Small Business Saturday, a day when consumers are encouraged to #ShopSmall. Helping to keep a mom-and-pop shop alive feels good.
Going outside is free
REI is the one major company that makes a big deal about not being open on Black Friday as a way to encourage both staff and customers to instead spend the day participating in some form of outdoor recreation, or simply just getting into the fresh air. There's even an official hashtag for it: #OptOutside.
A lot of Black Friday deals start early
If your Black Friday fever simply won't go away, there will be plenty of deals expected to be announced in early November that you'll actually be able to order before Nov. 23, so you can avoid crowds or not participate in breaking the Internet that day.
There are other 'deal days,' too
On any given day, you can hit up sales online such as Best Buy's Deal of the Day and Target's Electronic Deals. The Big Daddy of annual online deal days, Amazon's Prime Day, has already happened this year, but if you like to sweep up a lot of deals all at once, consider waiting/saving up until the 2019 date is announced.
You can get great deals on refurbs now
If you are itching to score a deal for a high-ticket item on Black Friday, you can get a more instant form of bargain gratification by shopping for refurbished items. You may know you can buy refurbs from companies like Apple, but did you know you can also buy a refurbished Vitamix for the kitchen? Learn what types of refurbs to avoid before you start your hunt.
If you must shop on Black Friday
Shop locally! Consider supporting businesses in your community.
Comic relief: The funniest Black Friday memes.
Black Friday 2018 TV Deals: Price predictions for the year's best TVs.