I horribly underestimated the need to prepare for the spectacle of Black Friday my first time out. My mother and I woke up at 5 a.m., still bleary eyed and bloated from the Thanksgiving feast the night before. We stopped by Burger King and had barely bitten into our Croissan’wiches when we arrived at the Target parking lot on Dixie Highway. A wall of people hugged the exterior of the store, more determined and better equipped to score major discounts on bikes, furniture, toys, whatever had caught their eye in the jumble of Thanksgiving Day advertising.
They had been there for hours, dressed for the cold and hungry for the savings.
My mother and I did it wrong.
A few years later, Black Friday has crept into Thursday. Stores are opening doors earlier than ever to maximum this holiday shopping season. These changes make it even more important for those who will venture into the belly of the economic beast to avoid the example my mother than I set and truly prepare for the shopping experience. And it all starts with food.
You don’t want to run out of energy in the chaos of bargain-infused holiday commerce. Here are some tips for staying alert.
Take it easy on Thanksgiving dinner. A turkey hangover from that extra helping you had to have is going to weigh you down when it’s time to stand in line. Fatigue does not a ruthless shopper make, so ease up on the tryptophan.
Bring snacks. Almonds are my new favorite super food. Keep the nuts with you all day, or, in the case of waiting for retailers’ doors to open, into the night and early morning. Pack snacks that don’t leave crumbs or much garbage, such as pretzels, cheese sticks or grapes.
Share your bounty. Be nice to the people surrounding you in line. We’re all cold, tired and maybe even hungry. Pass around a few pieces of chocolate to make some holiday goodwill.
Hydrate with caution. Yes, drinking water is important. But when you’re stuck in a line without a bathroom in sight, you have to put more thought into your beverages. You know your own tolerance. If not, go before you get to the store. And…
Skip the booze. Save the after-dinner alcohol for a congratulatory mimosa after you’ve completed your shopping. If you’re an early riser, you should be finished by brunch. And speaking of brunch…
Treat yourself. You woke up early (or stayed up all night). You navigated the crowds to get all those presents (or most of them). Make your way to Wild Eggs (multiple locations), Highland Morning (1416 Bardstown Road), or Cake Flour (909 E. Market Street) for some brunch.
This story is part of WFPL’s Food & Drink Week. We’ll be exploring dining and libations in the Louisville area ahead of Thanksgiving. You’ll find new stories here everyday through the holiday.
(Image via Shutterstock)