Surviving Black Friday with hearing loss
Black Friday is the scariest day of the year.
As shopping season officially starts and the mob mentality descends upon hoards of mall-goers this Thanksgiving, having hearing loss while navigating the narrow aisles can be a recipe for retail hell. Still, if you’re a die-hard Black Friday adrenaline junkie, hearing loss shouldn’t stop you from diving into the surging masses of shopping carts this year.
If stepping outside after you load up on Tryptophan this year to get your retail fix is how you spend Thanksgiving night, here's a checklist to help you safely beat the others to the checkout line.
Planning ahead is essential for every Black Friday shopper, but especially critical if you have hearing loss. Enlist a shopping buddy to come along for the adventure and write out your shopping list ahead of time. Group your items according to category and, if you’re familiar enough with the store, map out your route to maximize your time so you can get out as quickly as possible with your list checked off!
Braving the cold
We don’t recommend anyone camping out on a sidewalk overnight for a discount TV -- even in the summer -- but we really discourage it in the November cold. When you do go out, bundle up; those with certain types of hearing loss are more prone to ear infections if you catch a cold, and if you wear hearing aids, protect your ears with an ear band or ear muffs. Cold weather can cut the life of a hearing aid battery short, so stick an extra pack in your purse or pocket as a back-up in case of a malfunction.
Practice your nonverbal cues
Dealing with noisy crowds in large open spaces can be difficult if you have hearing loss. Sign language and other nonverbal cues can save you valuable time when the KitchenAid mixers are flying off the shelves. If you’re not a speaker of American Sign Language, develop some signals or keep your cell phones handy with your shopping partner so you can communicate with each other when you’re out of earshot.
Tell the store clerk
As always, be your own advocate. The store clerks on Black Friday are likely going to be more stressed than any of the shoppers, so letting them know upfront about your hearing loss can save everyone time. Remember that many people may have never interacted with someone who has hearing loss, so your hearing loss may not be apparent to them. Explaining your situation and telling them how they can best help you makes their job easier and your shopping experience more pleasant.
More and more retailers are offering deals online as Internet sales grow from year to year. Ever heard of Cyber Monday? It’s Black Friday without the general madness, where stores offer online-only deals the Monday following Thanksgiving.
But if your Black Friday fear of missing out is too strong for you to save the shopping until Monday, worry not; some stores include Black Friday deals on their website. Wal-Mart even introduced a week-long sale this year leading up to its one-day deals for those who would rather shop from the comfort of their own couch (or office chair).
Remember! Safety is important, and if you have hearing loss, planning out your shopping trip ahead of time and can help prevent a lot of headaches. While you face the cold and the crowds this season, we’ll be in front of the fireplace with an iPad and a glass of wine. Have fun! More importantly, good luck!