HAMILTON, Ohio - I'll admit it: Until Nov. 22, 2012, I'd never been shopping on Black Friday.
I've never waited hours upon hours for a good deal, or fought the crowds for the last "hot" item.
So Thursday night, I joined Rick Barnett and his family and friends in line at Best Buy in Hamilton. Barnett says he's been Black Friday shopping for several years and knows how to get the best deals.
They showed me what Black Friday is all about.
The Barnett clan had one item in mind when the Best Buy doors opened: a new flat screen TV.
But after waiting for almost five hours, they weren't able to get their hands on the TV. They did walk away with a new camera, a children's tablet, and some other small items. And, of course, the pleasure of showing me how Black Friday is done.
Have a Plan
Barnett says it's important to set a plan.
He says to strategize what you want, what stores to go to and when. But sometimes, that plan doesn't work out.
"We found a good deal on a camera, and we found a good deal on a children's tablet for my son. You try to strategize the way you do everything, and it doesn't always work out," said Barnett. "We didn't get the TV we wanted, so now we have to go to other stores to try and find it, which it will happen, so it's no big deal."
Hurry up, and wait
Black Friday means lines. Lots and lots of lines.
Lines to get in, lines to get the "hot" items and lines to checkout.
One woman I spoke with in Target said she had been waiting two hours to checkout. The line at Dick's was so long I couldn't see the end of it.
Barnett says be prepared to wait, but only if it's worth it.
"We waited five hours outside, and it took us one hour inside, but, it's fun. It's always good times," he said.
Just have fun
For many, Black Friday is just about the memories you'll make.
And trust me, memories were made during my first Black Friday shopping experience. There were lots of laughs, lots of lingering, and lots (and lots) of caffeine.
After consulting with several other friends participating in the Black Friday madness, they agree: just have fun.