Depending on your perspective, Black Friday has become a veritable holiday unto itself: a paean to American capitalism and the joy of deal hunting. Or, you know, a cultural dark spot that calls into question our country's materialism and conscience. As avid bargain hunters ourselves, we're split, and we figure if you absolutely, positively, have to brave the cold and chaos come this Friday, then you'd better make sure you come home with some bonafide deals. We consulted retail maven Tyler Thoreson, Gilt Groupe's VP of men's editorial and creative, who reminded us that, as a whole, the bargain-hunting process "is supposed to be fun. There are amazing deals to be had – you just need to know what you're doing." Here are his insider's tips on how to prep ahead of time, how to suss out deals on the fly, and how to prevent buyer's remorse on the big day.
If you didn't know you needed it, you don't need it.
As Thoreson puts it, if you didn't know you needed something, then you really don't. Black Friday preys on the discount-obsessed and sleep-deprived among us, and stores have myriad ways of laying on the pressure to hook you with impulse buys. Your best strategy is to stick to the game plan and be methodical. Have your list and no matter how tempting, ignore all other offers. "You don't need that $3.99 Dustbuster, or whatever they're offering, that badly," Thoreson says. You likely don't need an 840-count pack of baby wipes either.
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