Black Friday: The day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 25, retailers promote their best holiday deals to entice shoppers into crowded aisles for "must have" goods. Surviving Black Friday isn't easy so BBB offers the following advice:
- Go prepared. Bring copies of sale advertisements and coupons; look carefully at conditions, timeframes and limitations. Compare product prices online ahead of time to see if deals are as good as they appear. Draft a sensible budget and shopping list to help avoid spontaneous spending.
- Get purchase details. Research store policies on: warranties, layaway programs, gift cards, refunds, exchanges, in-store credits and return policies on clearance items; sale items may be "final sale." Keep presents in original packaging and enclose gift receipts so the items can be returned if necessary.
- Guard possessions. Look out for pickpockets trying to nab wallets, credit cards and cell phonesâ€”or even gifts in shopping carts; don't leave belongings unattended. At registers or ATMs, cover keypads when entering personal identification numbers. In parking lots, avoid leaving gifts and shopping bags in viewing range and discreetly stow valuables in trunks.
Small Business Saturday: Shop local on Nov. 26. Most community-based businesses are accountable, available and easy to locate if issues arise.
- Converge. Explore neighborhood stores and window shop to find gift inspiration.
- Collect recommendations. Look to family members, friends, coworkers and neighbors for suggestions on preferred local shops or boutiques.
- Connect with community resources. Seek local stores on search engines or map out merchants through cell phone applications. Check with BBB, local Chambers of Commerce, Visitors Bureaus or other business organizations.
Cyber Monday: Internet shopping on Nov. 28 is convenient, but can be chancy; avoid unreliable retailers with BBB's Cyber Monday top online shopping tips:
- Shop around. Only surf with anti-virus software. Avoid too-good-to-be-true offers.
- Scrutinize websites. Only purchase from sites with privacy policies and secure check-out pages - "https:" instead of "http." Review terms and order confirmations.
- Secure purchases. Only use credit cards or secure payment systems. Avoid paying with cash, checks or money orders. Never wire money.
Do preliminary research before making purchases. Examine retailers on bbb.org.