5 Things Not to Do on Black Friday

Don't go on a Black Friday shopping frenzy without considering these tips.

— -- There’s a lot of pressure this time of year for a consumer reporter to write a Black Friday shopping guide. But me, I don’t knuckle under so easily.

I’m no follower. I refuse to go along with the crowd. Here, then, is my guide to what not to do on Black Friday!

I came up with my “Un-Black-Friday guide” by trolling some of my favorite shopping gurus’ sites. Here are the top tips I found with links to more details:

1. Know what not to shop for.

Just because Black Friday is known for deep discounts doesn’t mean you’ll get a discount on what you need. DealNews.com tracks sales all year round to predict trends and prepared a list of products that don't go on sale the day after Thanksgiving.

Don’t bother looking for bargains on furniture, chocolate, exercise equipment or designer clothes. Those are best bought at other times of the year. Who knew?!

2. Don’t buy cheesy products just because they’re cheap.

ConsumerWorld.org makes an excellent point: “A low price on a lousy product is no bargain.”Founder Edgar Dworsky suggests doing your homework on expert testing sites like PCMag.com and ConsumerReports.org to separate the good from the bad. He also likes the reviews some retailers like Amazon, BestBuy and Walmart allow users to post about products on their sites.

3. Don’t go to the store.

More and more retailers are offering some or all of their black Friday deals online. That’s why cheapism.com suggests you may not have to endure the mosh pit at the mall after all. The website suggests you research your online options in advance, rather than leaving your doorbuster scores to chance.

4. Don’t stand in line in the cold.

Chrissy Pate of BeCenstable.net has long known a savvy secret: Some superstores offer price matching, so while other shoppers are standing in long lines to get into their favorite toy or electronic stores, she cozily strolls the aisles at Walmart snagging the same deals.

Here is her article about snagging Walmart deals this year. And here is Target’s holiday price matching policy.

5. Don’t go on Black Friday!

When retailers broke the sacred wall of Thanksgiving and started opening their doors on Thursday instead of Friday, everything changed. Back at ConsumerWorld.org, Dworsky says “Some stores are staggering the release of their doorbusters at different times… If you don't read their circulars carefully, you could show up on the wrong day or the wrong time.”

Read his advice for navigating this increasingly complicated shopping ritual to avoid being in a black mood on black Friday.

Opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author.