The Extreme Black Friday Survival Guide You'll Need To Make It Through Shopping's Craziest Day

It's become a commonly known fact that Black Friday is a war zone, so you'll need to come prepared. If you're not outfitted for survival while shopping, you can kiss your new, 70-percent-off genuine leather handbag with its cute dangling charms goodbye. That's why I've devised an extreme Black Friday survival guide to help you make sure you get through this in one piece.

Holiday shoppers are some of the nuttiest people around. There's even a website that shows just how many injuries have occurred in recent years due to the frenzy that is snagging outrageous discounts the day after Thanksgiving. Which is to say, you need to be alert and on your guard at all times.

The positive side of Black Friday is that there truly are deals to be had if you're OK with pushing a few people out of the way, or with getting to your local shopping center to camp out two weeks early. The good news is, I know you can do it. It might seem like a big ordeal to wait in the freezing cold for hours or days on end, but I promise it will be worth it.

So, in order to beat everyone else to the best deals, you just need to pretend that you've been dropped into an episode of Survivor. That's right: Black Friday is all about braving the elements, and staying in it to win it. Here's your extreme, seven-step survival guide to avoiding Black Friday's various pitfalls.

1. Don't take your friends, your cousins, or your mom.

Tell them no, they can't come with you. This isn't the time for family bonding. Trust me, if you take someone you're close to, it will only end in tears. Who knows? They might even try to steal your picks from you, especially if you're the same clothing size, and regardless of their intentions, they'll probably slow you down. No, this is one trip you have to do solo. Just tell them you're shopping for their holiday gifts.

2. Don't bring your phone.

Yes, I know that doesn't sound like a good idea, but you can't let your attention waver, even for a second. I know you really want to Instagram your new set of wine glasses, but believe me, if you stop to do that, you will also miss out on that awesome pair of coasters you didn't know you needed. Play it safe.

3. Make sure you're wearing your steel-toe Doc Martens.

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You'll need them to make sure nothing gets in your way as you kick through the ruckus to get to the best clothing spots.

4. Down four shots of espresso before you go.

Trust me. If you're going to be on your A-game, anything less than four isn't going to cut it.

5. Bring a map of the mall or store.

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People who are really serious about Black Friday shopping have spent weeks mapping out their routes. As they'll probably already know the layout of the store, you'll need to bring a map to try and outsmart them. I'm talking about paper maps here. Leave your cell phone at home (see: point 2).

6. Bring a week's worth of rations.

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If you get buried alive by coat racks and no one can find you for several days, you'll need some sustenance to keep you going until you see the light of day again.

7. If all else fails, you can pay someone else to stand in line for you.

By now, some of this preparation is probably starting to sound like too much effort. That's OK, there's no shame in wanting to sleep in the Friday after Thanksgiving. But get this: if you're one of the lucky few who lives in the Denver or Boulder area of Colorado, you can shell out for someone to stand in your stead. That might just be the best deal you'll score this holiday season.

Visit our Black Friday Explore page for more on shopping's biggest day of the year.

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