(This post is meant as satire. Any real attitudes expressed are purely coincidental and not meant to represent any person living or dead. Unless they are zombies. And then it’s quite ok to mock zombies. Just don’t be stupid and get too close to them.)

So it comes time once a year to go out there and engage in the battle of the parents. This means making sure sure your child does not suffer the defeat of the “not quite as good Christmas presents” and suffer future parent resentment and lifelong therapy bills because you couldn’t get your butt up at 3 A.M. Of course therapy bills could be withstood if it were not for the constant nagging and associated guilt you would suffer all the way until December 25th at 8:37 A.M. when your child realizes how much of a shmuck you really are. Oh well, you might be able to pull it off better next year.

And what event would I be speaking of that could up your street cred for being the best parent ever? What would give you props for a whole 365 days and 366 if you it happens to be a leap year? What mystical event could turn every year around for the better? I am speaking of the great Black Friday Christmas sale of course. (Or Holiday sale for those of you who do not attend a Protestant, Catholic or Mormon church. Then again it could all just be about Santa Claus after all and he seemed to think of it as Christmas, so whatever.)

What is Black Friday? Why could it be so important? And how could I be considered the best parent ever if I successfully navigated the adventure that is Black Friday? Well, let me tell you something. Black Friday is life. Ok, maybe I am exaggerating.

Black Friday used to have some kind of meaning I swear. For those 5 percent of you who understand cost accounting, (yes I am referring to you uber-nerds out there.) Black Friday represented that time of year where stores typically went from being in the red as far as their balance to finally making it into the black. Which means that they were actually making money instead of pretending to make money. (Like those banks who propped up the housing market pretending to make money from foreclosures. Or something like that.)

And why did this happen on the day after Thanksgiving? Well, first of all, most companies had that Friday off as well. So people had too much free time on their hands and that inevitably means they start to spend money. Also, it was the first opportunity for people to start thinking about Christmas in full and not have any other holidays getting in the way. (Of course now I see Christmas companies doing decorations in early September so I’m starting to get confused about when Christmas is. It’s October 25th right? Or is that September?)

Eventually, these companies began to understand what was going on. Years of making massive amounts of money on one particular day do tend to make one realize something is going on. So, companies began to do things to compete for business specifically on that day. Hence, Black Friday as we know it today was born. (Some year I may come up with the Fake History of Black Friday, but this is not that year.)

Year after year companies began to compete for the almighty buck, dollar, or whatever currency your country may use. And year after year they kept lowering the price until they couldn’t do it anymore. Giving TV’s away for free, they realized, was not cost effective. (It didn’t seem to matter how many people that drew to their establishments.) So they had to think outside the box.

Well, one company did just that. Kmart, going through desperate times. And as we know the cliche goes, desperate times call for desperate measures. So they decided Black Friday on a Thursday. (How they rationalized Black Friday beginning on a Thursday I do not know. Then again, it was cheaper than having to pay the massive overtime it would cost to have people work a graveyard shift on Friday early in the morning. So Black Friday it is, even on Thursday)

Eventually, other stores would follow suit because they could not be outdone. They had to have their Black Friday on Thursday. And once online retailers got into the act, they made up the Cyber Monday. (But what the heck is Cyber Monday? Honestly? Honestly?) And the rest, as they say, is parenting nightmare history. Or some such nonsense.

Which brings us to the point where we at the Guide feel the need to discuss how to navigate through the adventure. Because Black Friday can be a nightmare out there for the uninitiated. Thankfully, as the Black Friday shopping holiday has developed, there have been tips and tricks we have realized to help you survive this holiday, and even thrive to provide your kids with the best Christmas gifts ever. (Or at least the best Christmas gifts until next year and you fear becoming a failure as a parent once again.)

With this in mind, we decided to bring our favorite tips and tricks to survive the madness out there. You might even come out without feeling like you got robbed. And if you are lucky, you just may avoid that black eye you thought you would get. So without further ado, the Guide presents the top ten tips and tricks to survive the madness and avoid the bad parent frown on December 25th.


10 Tips And Tricks To Survive The Black Friday Adventure

1. Go Online At Least A Month In Advance Of The Day –

When you are getting to a month before the event, which means no later than Halloween, you should be looking daily at the information they will provide you online. This means you should ignore the costumes that your children will wear (unless the term sexy comes before the costume name and then you should have absolute veto power.), the crazy Halloween events that they will go to, and even ignore the fact that there might be some food holiday before Black Friday because what crazy person would stick a food holiday in front of a shopping Holiday? What were they thinking? Just be happy that people hung over on turkey may be slower to get to the stores and you may beat them out to the best deals.

2. Get Your Old Football / Baseball / Hockey Gear out to Wear –

Hopefully, you have not eaten too much Thanksgiving Turkey since you last played football. Or put on too much weight since the freshman 15 you gained in college. And you can pray your cup size will be the same from your days on the intramural softball team. But if you are out there wearing pads, you do have an advantage over those who don’t. I know that you aren’t one of those parents who will throw elbows at people’s ribs, or took Donald Trumps invocation to grabbing certain body parts to heart. But you know other people do not have such self-control. So to deal with them, having your pads should help you. Or maybe go all Clint Eastwood man with no name and have a metal plate under your chest and watch them wince in pain. Although that much armor might slow you down, which brings us to number three.

3. Start Your Wind Sprint Training In August –

Because you will be wearing all that equipment, practicing your running skills will bring you many advantages come the big day. You will need speed to get past the first people who enter the room. If you cannot run a 4/40 you may be beaten out by that man in the gray tracksuit. You do not want to be beaten out by the man in the gray tracksuit or by the other man in the orange tutu who brags about being in line since 5:00 A.M. the week before Thanksgiving. That you cannot abide. So get out there and up your times.

4. Start Your High Hurdle Training In June –

You may have thought that sprinting would be enough. But you would be wrong. Parent’s have become more tricky and devious with their pursuit of the almighty “Tickle Me Elmo.” (Please do not insert a joke about the man behind the voice of “Tickle Me Elmo” no matter how much you think Harvey Weinstein might appreciate it.) They will throw shopping carts, TV’s and Clothes racks in front of you to get to that toy first. You cannot allow that to deter you. Getting your high hurdle one will help you not become the one tangled in the woman’s apparel aisle. And you do not want to be caught there. Trust me.

5. See If You Can Get Entered Into A Car Race Prior To The Date-

As with the previous two things, you will need to brush up on your driving bona fides.  Not only do you need to deal with the people at every place you go to, but you will need to make sure you learn how to speed through cars and stoplights as you move from place to place.  You will have to practice the art of cutting people off for that open parking spot.  And you will need to make sure not to be intimidated by anyone who would threaten you with their motor vehicles as well.  Making sure you get entered into a car race and even possibly winning will up your ability to compete with these crazy drivers and competitors for the almighty Christmas toy.

6. Invest In A Police Scanner –

As an aside, I would never advocate for breaking the law under any circumstances, so please do not violate any laws like racing in public or adding Nitro to your car to make it travel 200 miles per hour or something like that.  However, making sure you are fully prepared for what is about to take place can never hurt.  So have one available in your car to make sure you don’t get caught in any speed traps or get stuck behind an accident on the freeway.  Just think of this as following the Boy Scout Motto.  Be prepared.

7. Have Lubricant On Ankles And Wrists –

Having lubricant on your body in those areas should be able to stop people from trying to grab you and keeping you away from that 70″ UHDTV that you have been salivating over for the last few months.  Wait. That’s not for your child.  I mean the Star Wars R2-D2 App or device-controlled robot.  You will not want to have to tell your child that someone pulled your arm away at the last minute and put you in a chokehold.   Best to make sure that you cannot be pulled away from your item of choice for your child.  I’d say lube up your hands as well, but if you did you would probably drop your child’s “necessary” gift and then it would be broken or someone else would grab it away from you.

8. Practice Your Ugly Faces In Front Of The Mirror –

What will make the difference between getting your child that toy and forever failing them?  I think you know that upping your ugly face will aid to that end.  If you are staring at another parent and you have both grabbed the same item at the same time, an ugly face will make all the difference.  When they look at you and think they have witnessed the face of pure evil, they may just think twice about grabbing that item.  In fact, I am guessing they would decide to walk away slowly instead.  In fact, I am thinking about walking away from you right this minute as you are staring at this article.  This web page is afraid of you.  Very afraid.  Good job!

9. Beg, Borrow, Cheat, Or Steal –

I know you are thinking, what???  What could possibly be going through my mind with this one?  Well, you know you have to have enough money to cover the cost of all those toys.  So make sure you have enough money to get them all at any cost.  You do not want to have to be deciding between the amazing UHDTV or your child’s X-Wing Fighter drone.  (Especially as you will probably be the one who plays with it more.)  So do whatever you must to make sure you have enough money in your bank account at the moment of purchase.  You may be happy with walking out with just the TV but your conscience will eat away at you for the next month when you realize that your kids will be mad at you.  I could not live with this on my conscience. Could you?

10. Have Fun –

Ok, so if you have not taken any of the previous things seriously enough.  I pity you.  Your child will hate you.  But at least you can go out and have some fun right.  If Greg from accounting leaped over you and grabbed the last of the Beats By Dre headphones, don’t sweat it.  Besides, you know how he sweats at the gym and will destroy his earbuds in perspiration after one week.  So you can laugh at him then.  Have fun now. Laugh then.  It’s a win win.  Besides, if you take any of this stuff too seriously you will be having a coronary, and I think your disappointed child with a living parent is better than a happy child with a dead parent any day.  Just saying.


Continue The Conversation –

So which of the steps here will you be putting into practice during this holiday season?  Ok, I am really hoping you might only put into practice one of the steps.  Because if you do any of the others, I accept no responsibility for the consequences.  Although if you like putting lubricant on your wrists and ankles, who am I to judge?  I would love to know what you thought of this post, or even what your experience with Black Friday is, for better or for worse.  What was the biggest gift you bought that day? And what was your biggest disappointment?  (For purposes of disclosure, I have to admit to purchasing a Tickle Me Elmo doll one year and being severely disappointed)

Like / Follow Me

Hopefully, this post made you laugh some, and think a little.  If so, please like this post at the end here, and be sure to follow me here at the Guide as well.   I promise to get off my butt and get to some things like sending out the access codes to the Dad Rules.  It’s been a crazy few weeks, and thank you so much to those who have been sending their best wishes about my dad.  It really means a lot to me.  You know who you are.  Thanks for stopping by as always.

Until next time, it’s game on for Black Friday dude.

David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life