Black Friday is considered by many to be the biggest shopping day of all. Now that most major retailers have decided to spread Black Friday into Thanksgiving Day much of the craziness and huge crowds have subsided. This year, Black Friday sales were down 11% largely through spreading the same amount of spending across more hours. It looks like Black Friday may not be as crowded a shopping day as legend would have it. Is there a worse day to go shopping? I think the worst day to step inside a retail store is December 26th. The day after Christmas is the day when everyone feels compelled to take back all those presents that didn’t fit, didn’t work, weren’t the right color, weren’t needed or were just plain crazy. The lines are endless. Everyone if front of you has arm-loads of returns…none of which have a receipt or tag that can help the hapless clerk figure if that red sweater even came from there store. Then there are the endless arguments over price or whether to put the credit on a gift card or the original credit card. Don’t forget you have to have that credit card present to even get the credit. Why do we put ourselves through this every year?
SAY HOME THIS YEAR AND ENJOY A WHOLE DAY WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILYHere’s a little secret…we don’t have to. Here are some strategies to avoid the post-Christmas trauma of "The Dreaded Returns" and get ourselves back to spending a little quality time with our families instead: Strategy #1…DON’T GO THERE! Nobody says you have to be there on the 26th. The store will still be there next week. So maybe they won’t have the exact size you need. Who cares? You didn’t pick it out in the first place. You’ll get something you like even better. Strategy #2…SAVE YOU RECIEPTS! Keeping the receipts and tags handy for the items you gave your family will make all the difference at return time. The salespeople will love you. It’s amazing how much faster this will make the return process. By the way, did you put gift receipts into the gifts you sent out of town? Every store will print them for you. Everyone will thank you for it. Strategy#3…IF YOU HAVE TO GO ON THE 26TH, DON’T GO EARLY! First thing in the morning is absolutely the worst time to go to the stores for the dreaded return. Everybody wants to get it done early; so everyone is already there. Translation: long lines. Dinner time and later is the best time to go. No lines means you get twice as much done in half the time. Bring a power bar along…you’ll survive. Strategy # 4…SHOP ONLINE! Most online retailers know that returns are a reality and have worked hard to make the return process as simple and convenient as possible. They offer free shipping for returns. You can even arrange to have the returning package picked up at your home or office. Besides, it’s always fun to get hard jobs accomplished while still in you PJ’s. Strategy #5…CONSIDER THE POWER OF THE GIFT CARD! Get rid of the guilt of giving a Gift Card to everyone for the holidays. If you really think about it…giving a gift card might be the most thoughtful option of all. When it comes down to it what other gift could you give that will always fit, always be the right color and always be exactly what they need? Put it in a super special card. Send it with some chocolate. Follow up with a nice long holiday phone chat. You’ll get over the guilt. This year, December 26th just happens to fall on a Friday. Nobody deserves two Black Fridays in one year. Do yourself a favor…stay home this year and enjoy a whole day with your friends and family.