Black Friday and Librarians

Hey Friends!

I know, it’s been a week or three since last you heard from me. Thanksgiving/Christmas stuff has invaded the library – lots of displays to build and things to make! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving filled with good times and even better food. My coworker brought peanut brittle to the break room last Monday, and I nearly went crazy. That stuff is like crack in a Ziploc bag, I couldn’t stop myself.


This is how peanut brittle makes me feel.

So after you guys had food, I imagine some of you went out shopping for Black Friday, Cyber Monday or something in between. Anyone can tell you that when it comes to navigating the high seas of crazy shoppers, research is key. If you have a laid out plan of where to find the best deals and how to approach them, then you’ve won half the battle. Who’s the best at finding things and compiling data?

Yup, it’s us.

I was inspired to write this post when my brother asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I told him anything he gets is fine by me.

“I’m going to be honest, dude – I really have no idea what you have and don’t have, want or need. Can you just make me a bullet point list? Arranged by price, if you can.”

Well, doesn’t that bring out the Christmas cheer!


While a little crass, I have to admit that I enjoyed making the list, but for the reasons you wouldn’t expect. It’s nice to know that I was getting something I wanted, but it was also an opportunity to do my librarian research thing to find all the different prices for products. Bottom line? I learned I could manipulate the list in any way I wanted.

Oh, Item A costs $49 but is on sale exclusively at Target for $25? Item B is $40 regularly, but I found a coupon that brings it to $15…to give the coupon or not…How high or low do I want Item B on the list? I AM A MADMAN!

Ultimately, my conscience got the better of me and listed out all lowest prices and coupons available. Sure, shaping the list as I see fit is great and all, but I don’t want my brother to shell out an extra $30 he could have put elsewhere just because I felt like it.

(You’re welcome, Alex.)

However, I came up with an alternative. I picked about ten items ranging from about $10 to $60 to give him some options, then I coded in all my research to provide him the most accurate list possible! The list coding was pretty basic:

  • Items in italics were the things I was hoping for most. I picked three items.
  • Items in bold were the items that were specifically Black Friday specials (accompanied by where to get it at the lowest price)
  • Items in bold italics were the best of both!

I also learned while researching my list that one of the items I wanted got some horrible 1 star ratings on Amazon. When an item gets called, “not as advertised, what a complete ripoff” by about 1300 people, it’s time to re-evaluate. Upon closer inspection, they were right – it was everything I didn’t want in a product. Because of my research, I saved him money and myself future hassle/disappointment. Talk about a bullet dodged, right?

A visual representation of me avoiding that gift.

A visual representation of my research.

“Wow, I didn’t know librarians looked up prices and deals…I thought they just did stuff like research and reference.”

Yes, we do research and references…ON PRICES. Librarians ain’t made of money, we are thrifty and frugal! I personally like to call myself a coupon commando, mostly because alliteration is addictive. My brash sidekick Katy waaay better than me, that girl knows how to make a deal. $3.99, you say? She’s probably got a gift code for 30% off, a $5.00 discount coupon, and a BOGO voucher she found online.

The moral of this story…make friends with a librarian before Thanksgiving next year. Actually, the sooner the better if possible; we can find deals on stuff all year.


You all need to read next week’s post. Next week, I will have a special guest who will help you do some shopping, up your interview game, and kick off a new you that is ready for the library world. In the meantime, follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for exclusives found nowhere else!


Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

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