CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Heartland stores are getting prepared for the big Black Friday crowds but physiologists say shoppers should also be prepared for the mental strains that could come along with hunting down those deals.
Dr. David Van Pelt with Applied Psychological Center said Black Friday comes with more than just great deals. He said there are several factors that can affect shoppers' mental well-being on that busy day.
"One of the conceptual underpinnings of Black Friday shopping that is perpetuated by the retailers is that of scarcity. The concept employs that opportunities and "deals" seem more valuable when they are less available," Dr. Van Pelt said.
Dr. Van Pelt said this can lead people to do things they would normal never do.
"The scarcity mentality can also lead people to that aggressive behavior that comes along with it," Dr. Van Pelt said. "People what would otherwise be considered normal, doing things like stampeding, standing in long lines, crowding, and rushing people."
Dr. Van Pelt said it's important to avoid these effects by remembering that the shopping experience should also be enjoyable.
"Some use shopping a way to work off the thanksgiving meal, or go out to be social and in the midst of people," Dr. Van Pelt said. "It can be fun to sit back and observe the hustle and bustle of others. There are also some freebies for going into stores, such as cups of coffee or cider, cookies and samples of products. The holiday season and Black Friday can be a positive venture and in fact is for most people."
For shopper Mindy Crowley, Black Friday is just that. She said it's not only about the deals, but also about the fun.
"What other time of year can you shop all night long and the stores stay open? So that's fun," Crowley said.
Crowley said staying organized helps her shopping experience be stress free.
"We make full lists of everything we're going to buy, who they're for, how many we need, we have a huge family, a lot of presents to buy," Crowley said.
For Crowley and her sister-in-law, it all starts after Thanksgiving dinner.
"We get through family time then it's a straight strategy session with our Black Friday ads," Crowley said.
Crowley said if you've never been Black Friday shopping, keep a few things in mind to help you keep a level head.
"If you don't like crowds, you should never go," Crowley said. "You need your backpack fully stocked with anything you might need, like Tylenol in case you get a headache."
She said with the right attitude, you can't go wrong.
"I think it's only stressful if you make it stressful," Crowley said. "We don't find it stressful at all. This is our sixth year so we feel like we are pros at this point."
Dr. Van Pelt has a few tips to help shoppers have the best shopping experience possible:
1. Make a list ahead of time and stick to the list
2. Make a budget and review your finances before you go shopping (Remember you do not save money when you buy things- you spend money when you buy; bargain or not.)
3. Research the items in the sales adds before you rush out to buy so as to not be tempted by the bargain
4. Be willing to go home empty handed, the items will arrive again and there are after Christmas sales
5. Enjoy the event. Don't make it competitive
6. Ask yourself... Would I buy this in June or July? Essentially assessing the "need" for it versus the "want."
7. Overall, enjoy the season, and remember it is supposed to be a joyful time and a time for giving.