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Grand Opening Grand Plan

January 19, 2016

The Grand Opening, Grand Master Plan. All the tips & tricks I've picked up over the years attending grand openings.

Grand openings are exciting. The promise of new items and winning giftcards draws me in every time. I’ve been to 5 major grand openings within the past 2 years (Forver21, H&M x 2, Topshop, Uniqlo) and developed the grand opening, grand master plan to help you successfully navigate.

Battle Plan
+ Do the math! Is it even worth going? Figure out your opportunity cost before committing, because trust me, it’s a commitment.
+ Scope out all information avenues about the event. Read where the line will start (especially if it is in an indoor mall with multiple entrances), time doors open, & giftcard restrictions.
+ Plan your outfit. 2 layers max. It might be freezing outside, but you don’t want to be struggling to carry your coat while juggling hangers & squeezing through shortcuts.
+ Come with 2 budgets. 1) The one you would have on a normal shopping day. Try to stick as closely as possible to this one but… 2) Have an absolute budget. Hard line drawn. It can be a bit crazy in there, but only walk away with things you can picture wearing for awhile.
+ Preshop! Look online and have a checklist of what you want. You can prioritize areas of the store to beat the rush. Having a plan gets more items you actually want in hand. You’ll feel less overwhelmed, and you’ll be ready for the first round of dressing rooms.

Game Time
+ Get there at 7:45. Really. Most grand openings start at 10 am, and the magic time of 7:45 has consistently gotten me into the top 10-20 in line. Usually 1-5 are the before 6 am-ers, and sometimes being the 1st in line is no better than being 20th. (check the event details!)
+ Bring a friend. Unless you downloaded a movie beforehand, you’ll need the entertainment. Once you’re on the inside you can split up. If you know each other well enough, you can keep an eye out for things each other might like.
+ Coffee. Know your limits on this one. It’ll help you keep your energy up, but if it has you running to the restroom, it’s not worth it.
+ Get to know the people around you! You’ll be standing shoulder to shoulder with each other for hours. Get friendly! This way, if you didn’t bring a friend and need a bathroom break, people will hold your spot.
+ Got a giftcard? Awesome! Put it towards a well made staple item that may have been on the stretch end of your budget.
+ The first sweep is a laser focused mission. You’ve done the pre-shopping and know exactly what you want. After your first try-on’s, take a more relaxed second loop. Now’s the time to look at smaller items and decided how much you really want that 3rd flannel.

Aftermath
+ Remember, you can return things! An impulse buy doesn’t always look as good the next day.
+ Get some real food. With 3 hrs of waiting in line & at least 2 hrs of shopping (browsing, trying on, & checkout will all be prolonged), you’re going to need it.

General Rules
+ Use quick judgement in the changing room. Toss no’s, & keep maybe’s to decide on when you do your second sweep. People are lining up, and no one appreciates waiting on back and forth debates for each item.
+ Nothing is worth fighting some one over. See it as more money you can put somewhere else.
+ Retail workers will be overwhelmed. Be nice to them. You’ll be on your own to find something.

Are grand openings worth it? I love going and seeing a brand new store. Presentation is king on grand opening day. It feels like a game- navigating the store, scoping out the best prices and winning giftcards. It was definitely worth it when I was a student and had the time but not the money to shop. Working now, I’d have to get the upper worth giftcards to make it worth the time. However, if any place offers an exclusive product or anyone wants to go, I’ll be your line buddy.

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