SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Ready, set, shop! The Black Friday rush is in full swing.
A sea of shoppers flocked to the Eastfield Mall in Springfield early Friday morning; all of them hoping to grab some steals and deals.
Many people think of it like a sport: it's the one time during the year when you can beat the system and really score a bargain.
"I do it every year. The deals, they're pretty good, so you might as well save some money if you can. Waiting in the cold is worth it to me," said George Fiore of South Hadley.
But not everybody had a positive experience.
"People were cranky and not really interested in waiting in line, but I think you have to expect that. It is Black Friday. We kind of came more for the thrill and excitement of watching the crazy people," said Stephanie Raymond.
This year, the National Retail Federation estimates as many as 147 million people will head to the stores; that's actually down slightly from last year.
But at the Eastfield Mall the retail rush is on. People have been zig-zaging to avoid walking over each other in a mad scramble for some bargains.
If you wanted one of the "best" Black Friday bargains, called "doorbusters", hopefully you are already at the mall, because many of those items have sold out.
Here's some Black Friday shopping tips.
- First, and perhaps most important, do you research before you go. That means go online and scout ahead, flip through the flyers and write down what you're interested in and where to go to get it.
- Next, bring the ads with you. Most stores have a policy where they will offer to beat another stores price, but you need to show them the ad.
- Also, use store credit cards when you can. Usually, stores offer even bigger Black Friday discounts when you put the purchase on a store-specific credit card. A word of warning, though: Don't apply for one of those cards unless you shop there a lot. Having too many credit cards can hurt your credit score.
- Finally, make sure you know a store's return policy and get a gift receipt if you're buying for somebody else.
It's called Black Friday because it's typically the day when retailers see their yearly books turn a profit.
And if you just can't handle the crowds for Black Friday, you are not alone. The National Retail federation says millions more will be shopping via the internet in just a few days, for Cyber Monday.