Dads. They’re the unsung heroes on Black Friday. They drive packs of kids to and from the mall that day. They wait in parking lots while their wives ransack favorite department stores. They do so much of the work that makes Black Friday possible and get none of the credit. Well, dads of the world, we can’t give you a trophy for your acts of Black Friday selflessness, but we can show you how to make your Black Friday a little bit more enjoyable and a whole lot less stressful.
Step 1: Be a Park Shark
There are a lot of things that are going to push you over the edge on Black Friday, but finding a parking spot has to be at the very top of the list. Spending hours circling a mall lot looking for a place to park can make you feel like you’re trapped in some kind of sedan-filled time loop. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to keep from going crazy. The first, and most important, tip is to let all the other riders out of the car first. It’s hard to stay calm with a bunch of back-seat drivers telling you what to do. Once they’re out and safely at the front of the store, don’t continuously circle the same spots — it’s Black Friday; no one is going anywhere for a while. Instead, try to find the spots other people are avoiding. The back of the lot may seem like a long walk, but you save a lot of time in the long run if you just take a spot and move on.
Step 2: Stay Away From Savings
If the rest of your family wants to kill themselves grappling with other shoppers to save a few bucks, that’s their business. You just want to get through the day avoiding serious bodily harm. The best way to do that is to stay away from any store that’s offering insane sales. JCPenney and Macy’s are the two prominent mall stores that typically have the biggest sales, which means they’ll attract the biggest crowds. Get as far away from them as you can if you want to stay out of danger. Better yet, why not seek out the stores that offer lower savings? Big Lots and Costco both offer statistically low savings on Black Friday. Head over there for a few hours and you should be able to avoid getting trampled.
Step 3: Become a Food Court King
The food court isn’t just a great place to kill some time dining on the finest pretzels and cheese the mall has to offer; it can also be a great place to really unwind. There are some fast food restaurants that will serve you alcohol with your mass-produced meals. Baja Fresh and Chipotle both offer beer and margaritas in the $4 to $7 range. Sbarro, meanwhile, will give you an entire bottle of wine for $23.99 (but maybe only go for that option if you’re sharing it with a few other dads). While we must stress that this tip is only for dads who are going to be spending at least three more hours at the mall, grabbing a few drinks could really help you get through Black Friday with a smile on your face.
Step 4: Catch a Movie
“Holiday Movie Season” is total “Dad Movie Season.” It’s when all the overly long, self-serious historical dramas that dads love come out. Thank goodness it lines up so perfectly with Black Friday. This year, there are a ton of awesome Dad movies out in theaters, including “Bridge of Spies,” a three-hour Cold War spy drama directed by Steven Spielberg; “The 33,” a testosterone-fueled true story epic about a bunch of miners trapped in a cave; and the Rocky sequel “Creed.” Best of all, there’s “Spectre,” and everyone knows that all dads are genetically predisposed to love James Bond movies; they just can’t help it. See one or two or all four of these movies on Black Friday and the day will be over before the final credits roll.
Extra Tips: If you really want to come out of Black Friday feeling like a million bucks (instead of just feeling like your family spent a million bucks), use the day to get some exercise in. The mall is actually a great place to get fit. The long corridors and hallways are perfect for power walking; you can use mall benches to assist in leg stretches, sit-ups or other small exercises; and if you look for it, you should even be able to find a staircase — climb it a few dozen times instead of taking the elevator or escalator. Bring an iPod along so you can drown out the crowds by listening to some of your favorite Dad rock (all of The Moody Blues’ albums are available on iTunes) or getting through a big chunk of the latest Tom Clancy audiobook.
Finally, the best Black Friday survival tip for dads? Skip it! Try and convince your family to just forget Black Friday altogether. After all, Cyber Monday is right around the corner — and your kids spend their entire life on the Internet anyway!
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