Wading into the melee that is Black Friday can be daunting. Doubly so if you have hearing issues and face the prospect of trying to communicate in a mass of frenzied shoppers.
Here are some options for surviving this uniquely American ritual.
Option one is, of course, to stay home in your pajamas and cruise the Internet instead of the mall. Less social, but also less challenging — especially with some retailers now offering online Black Friday specials to compete with the “camping out in front of the store” promotions.
But if you’re determined to brave the weather and human elements, then here are some ideas:
- Don’t Enter the Fray Without a Plan: The old military adage — “No plan survives first contact with the enemy” — will probably hold true, but it’s still better to have a plan. Mapping out your day and routes will make it less likely that you’ll have to try to converse with an overwhelmed member of the sales staff who is questioning their career in retail.
- Have Some Nonverbal Talking Points: More people than you may realize know at least a little sign language. There are even sign language apps for smartphones. Flashing signs — or even a device screen — might be easier than cutting through the noise.
- Buddy Up: If you can find someone who wants to be part of your “band of brothers [or sisters]” then all the better.
- Don’t Fake It: It will be easier on everyone involved if you make it clear you have hearing issues. No reason to be shy about it in such an extreme environment. Given how some other people will be behaving on Black Friday, no one is going to remember a hearing-challenged shopper at the end of the day.