This Friday, there will be shoppers out browsing without a list, trying on clothes and scrambling for a cart. They'll be price checking in the store and asking for help finding items. They may be hungry or tired or cold because they hadn't properly prepared.
Not Travis and Rachel Benham, of Mustang. The husband-and-wife team has been in Black Friday mode since Halloween. They've got “door busting” down to a science.
People may call them crazy. But when Black Friday is over, they'll have 90 percent to 95 percent of their holiday shopping done and saved hundreds of dollars on items for themselves. Then, they say they'll spend the time until Christmas avoiding the packed stores and malls, except maybe to pick up a gift card here or there.
At least 40 percent of consumers plan to shop on Black Friday and most believe retailers will offer their best holiday deals this weekend, according to Price Grabber.
The Benhams have years of Black Friday shopping experience, but anyone planning on hitting the stores Friday can learn a thing or two from their method.
How they prepare
Advance planning is the most important aspect of shopping on Black Friday, they say. The Benhams begin with a wish list and carefully tweak it as each store advertisement is released. They start in October.
“For us, Black Friday is a season, not just a day,” Travis Benham said.
Benham, a software developer, is always looking for the latest tech gadgets. His wife, a stay-at-home mom, wants a new vacuum cleaner this year. And they'll be shopping for their 4-year-old daughter, Piper, as well.
Once they know what they want, they start comparing prices. Sometimes, pre-Thanksgiving sales beat the Black Friday price, so they'll buy ahead.
As the big day nears, they'll match the items they want to the stores that will have it and what time the stores open. This year, most retailers open at midnight, so the couple will have to prioritize and also weigh where they think the lines will be most manageable.
And they've been pre-shopping the stores two days before, to try on clothes and determine where the door busters will be placed.
How they shop
Travis Benham says he'll nap after their Thanksgiving dinner, then be ready to stay up all night. He and Rachel plan to arrive at their first store about three hours before opening.
In line, they will continue checking for deals on their smartphones. Sometimes, businesses drop off free coffee or hot cocoa, they said.
The Benhams wear matching shirts and stick together. Until the doors open and a flood of shoppers pours inside, then each hit one side of the store and meet back in the middle.
By knowing exactly what to purchase and what sizes they need, both are in and out of a store in 15 minutes, carrying everything in their arms.
But they believe Black Friday shopping is mainly for grownups. It's no place for children, they say.
“It really is a game. It's a strategy,” Travis Benham said. “We look forward to it.”