Online Black Friday shopping saves time and money

Steve Talbot, Sports Editor

One thing that everyone should know about me is that I love few things more than saving money.

Without a coupon, a gift card, or a sale, most stores don’t get my business. But when I do find a good deal, I capitalize on it.

For this reason, Black Friday is seemingly tailor-made for someone like me. With most items ranging anywhere from 50-90% off, it’s hard to pass up getting a DVD or video game that I’m usually too cheap to spend money on.

This past Thursday, I spent the NFL’s copious commercial breaks on my phone, browsing Amazon for their “Lightning Deals,” fast-selling, temporary sales on generally pricy items.

Originally, this had been purely to prepare for an expedition to Best Buy, ready to capitalize on their outrageous and enticing sales. But when my brother called to inform me that the store had a line wrapped around it seven hours prior to opening, the plans began to fall apart.

Over the years, I’ve learned the three basic rules of Black Friday: know what you’re going to buy, make sure the time you invest is worth the savings, and do not, under any circumstances, go if you aren’t incredibly patient.

I had my item list categorized by where in the store the items would be, and prioritized accordingly. I knew beforehand that I’d be spending $100 on $300 worth of merchandise. My problem is, I’m the least patient man on earth.

I won’t stand in a lunch line if I’m going to be there for more than three minutes. So I was lying to myself by thinking I’d last seven hours in a half-mile line.

That’s when I put two and two together, and recalled what I’d read online while searching for leaked ads: “Most stores will put the same sales on their website.”

It was at that point that I realized that I’d trust the internet (which is usually a risk in and of itself), stay at home, and attempt to find the items online.

When midnight struck, I was already situated with my laptop, Safari open and Amazon and Best Buy on separate tabs.

A few keystrokes and some mouse clicks later, and I had every item I planned to get, bar one (Batman: Arkham City was about as easy to obtain as a painting from the Louvre).

Complete with free shipping, I literally paid exactly as much money online as I would have in the store. I lost only 10 minutes of my life, zero body heat, and most importantly, none of my patience.

If you’re in the market for a cheap TV or laptop next year, use the money you’ll save to buy yourself a tent, and head out on Wednesday night.

But if you’re like me, and just looking to save some money here and there on a few movies, you’re much better off staying at home and shopping online.