As every consummate consumer knows, the Friday after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday. The term is a marketing and public-relations abbreviation of the full name — Black-Eye Friday — which comes from all the shiners given and received in the shameless, no-holds-barred savagery with which we pursue that Perfect Holiday Bargain.

Black Friday is followed by Suicide Saturday, so called because people typically shop till they drop … literally … dead. And Suicide Saturday is followed, of course, by Second Chance Sunday, in which we get to go online in search of all the items we missed on Black Friday and Suicide Saturday, put them in our shopping carts, wait until the sales are announced for Cyber Monday, and hit the refresh buttons on our browsers to get the newly discounted prices.

Then comes today, Layaway Tuesday, December 1st, the date on which the long slog toward December 24 begins. With the mad brutality of the long Thanksgiving Weekend behind us, we’re once again confronted with full retail pricing, relegated to putting things on layaway, and given the opportunity to work the system to a fare-thee-well. Here’s how to do it:

  • Go into a store and put the item(s) you want on layaway.
  • Watch the newspaper and online ads every day for discounts on the item(s) you want.
  • When you see the discounts advertised, immediately go back to the store to pick up the item(s), loudly and abusively demanding the new discounts be applied, even if you already know they will be.
  • Make sure you draw a large crowd. (The more witnesses, the better.)
  • Without initiating physical contact, be as provocative as possible to get someone from the store to take the first swing. (You get Bonus Bucks if you provoke a regular store employee to hit you. And you get extra compensatory damages if the striker is part of the store’s management team.)
  • Take a dive.
  • Get up, saying as loudly as necessary to be overheard by your witnesses, that you’ll be happy to settle out of court if the store gives you the item(s) you had on layaway at no charge — and writes you a check for double the full retail price of the item(s).
  • Go to the next store and repeat.
  • Continue until you have all the stuff you want and all the cash you need.

These tactics may not be for the faint of heart. But, as in life, everything has its price.

Shopping may be dangerous, but it also can be lucrative.

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