Every year, around this time, we give thanks for the things that we often take for granted. Things like family and friendship and commu — OMG, a 16-gig flash drive for $4.99! Where was I? Oh yes, community. Once a year, we reflect on how fortunate we are to have food and shel — WTF, first 10 quad core laptops only $250?!!!!

All right, fine, even as I prepare my annual list of things for which I am thankful, I am plotting out the most effective strategy for Black Friday shopping. As many of you know, this is the day after Thanksgiving, the busiest shopping day of the year, when stores push all-out sales. Across the country, thousands of people camp out all night at the mall entrance or wake up at 3 a.m. in order to get the best bargains. In case you didn’t know, Black Friday comes from the ancient Gaelic words “bhleg”, which means “50 percent off” and “frigedaeg,” which means “before 6 a.m.”

As a veteran of many a bhleg frigedaeg, I have learned a thing or two, and I want to share these tips if you plan to shop on that day:

• Start by doing some research, mainly by scanning your apartment or house to determine what you already have, so that when you see better versions of those things at 60 percent off, you can feel like crap.

• Wear comfortable clothing and shoes, and by that, I mean a sports bra and/or cup, shin guards, and soccer cleats. Hundreds of people are injured annually by being shoved into metal shelving or lacerated by shopping carts.

• Before you rush out, sit down and make two lists. Call one list “Items That Will Probably Be on Sale Again Later but I Don’t Want to Wait” and the other “Items that Might Make Good Gifts for Someone for Christmas but I Don’t Know Who and So I’ll Probably Keep in My Closet Until I Move and then I’ll Donate to Goodwill.”

• Stay up before Black Friday. If you fall asleep, you might not be able to wake up at 3 a.m. Then, you’ll hate yourself the rest of the year, especially after your friends tell you how they got a 60-inch flat-panel TV for only $400.

• Carry the right tools. This includes snacks, a first-aid kit, a cattle prod, and an empty Snapple bottle. After four hours of waiting in line in front of Best Buy for it to open, you will know what the empty Snapple bottle is for.

• Do not accept anyone’s offer for free “lemon tea” Snapple.

• Shopping with your romantic partner is slightly less painful than eating your own arms. You will inevitably hear stuff like “Are we done yet? It’s been an hour and I’m tired and I want to go home,” or “Why didn’t you take that parking spot? Great, now it’s gone and we’ll have to walk a mile, just great,” or “I can’t believe you dragged me out of bed for this. I hope you’re happy. While we’re waiting here at this God-forsaken hour, I have something I want to discuss with you. Do you think we’re communicating effectively? Lately, I feel like you’re not listening to me. I read this book, and it says …” Remember, these lines move about one foot per hour, and your arm will start looking more and more delicious as your partner continues to talk.

• Buy two of everything. That way, later on you can host a Black Friday party and trade stuff with your friends.

• Try to avoid rebate deals, because you’re going to forget to turn in the billion forms in time.

• Above all, Black Friday is not a time to be nice. It is a battle field, with you against everyone else. I’ve seen a guy shove an old lady for the last digital photo frame at Office Max. Shoving is frowned upon, along with scratching and tickling, but people will look away on Black Friday. If you must shove the elderly, however, do it gently and make sure there are some mattresses on sale or an obese person behind them, just in case they fall.

I hope those tips are helpful. Now, I have to go write an apology letter to Edna, who I met at Office Max last year.

Still hungry for Noodles? Visit Huy’s blog at: www.Jaggednoodles.wordpress.com.

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