Growing Tech Careers at Asurion

Let’s talk tech.

As a global employer, Asurion has employees and teams across multiple continents and time zones. In the US, we have three technology home bases: San Mateo, CA; Sterling, VA; and Nashville, TN. San Mateo is in the heart of Silicon Valley and our office there is focused on mobile development, Android/iOS, and end-user facing applications. Sterling is a perfect base, in close proximity to Washington DC and a brief train ride to New York, with a primary focus on developing our integrated future state application platforms. Nashville was recently highlighted by ZipRecruiter as an up-and-coming city for tech jobs and by Forbes as one of the Cities Creating The Most Tech Jobs. Our teams in Nashville provide capabilities and services across all aspects of our global operating model, including architecture; data science and analytics; desktop support; and all types of front-end and back-end development.

So, how can you get noticed at Asurion? Our technology recruiters agreed on several areas: present a succinct and perfectly edited resume; show a strong educational and work background. Also, taking the time to complete certifications in your area of expertise and showing initiative through various projects can help you reach the next step. At the interview stage, you can expect interviews that may include phone and onsite, where you should come prepared to talk about the “core principles and basics of coding languages, and be prepared to ‘whiteboard’,” says Recruiter, Marcia Wimmer, who’s based in Sterling.

A stand-out cultural fit in Asurion’s robust technology field can be defined as someone who embodies a “sense of eagerness, drive, and passion to learn new technologies, is always up for unique challenges, has an entrepreneurial spirit, and a positive, can-do attitude,” says Wimmer. Recruiter Sara Swaner, based in San Mateo added, saying, “they want the best of the best. What you put in is what you will get out.” She describes the setting as hard-working, collaborative, supportive, and driven. She goes on to explain the environment is “fast-paced and flexible, things are constantly changing.”

Ragland BikesSpeaking of constant change, Barry Vandevier, our Chief Information Officer, is ready to take on the challenges of the rapidly changing technology environment and knows first-hand how quickly he and his team must adapt to change. For leaders outside the technology space, multiyear planning is a luxury and the norm. “Three to five years is a pretty broad window, in terms of making technology predictions…three to five years can represent two, or possibly more generations of technical change.” While there are many moving pieces, Vandevier says there are also some constants. “You can count on increases in computing power, interconnectivity and consumer demands to fuel innovation, and the only way to truly harness the rapid evolution is through great talent.”

Unsurprisingly, Vandevier’s world of constant change involves various projects, such as a recent initiative he describes that “used mobile, cloud, and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to create a cool new capability called ‘text to register.” This capability “enables our customers to register products” by sending a copy of their receipt using one of today’s simplest methods – text.

Further, says Vandevier, “solving complex business problems across our global footprint is a lot of fun. Over the course of this year alone, we have launched new markets on new platforms and integrated capabilities across our business process management tools, mobile applications, big data analytics, and supply chain capabilities…that must operate at a scale necessary to support tens of millions of customers. Most fun of all, I get to work with a great team of really smart people. At Asurion, there will always be plenty of fun projects to get excited about.”

Are you one of those really smart people? Some of Asurion’s greatest tech needs going into 2016 are for Pega and Tibco Developers, Technical Analysts, Project Managers (ScrumMasters), Big Data Engineers, iOS and Android Developers, and Java and QE Managers.

Click here to take a look at the opportunities we have available right now.

Asurion Employees Making a Difference in the Community

One of Asurion’s Core Values is “We are One Team”. We apply this principle to our work, but it bleeds into everything we do. When it comes to volunteering, we’ve learned that we can achieve more together and that when we combine our efforts for the greater good everyone benefits.

Our employees are extremely generous and give their own time to a number of causes and charities they are passionate about. One organization Asurion supports corporately is Teach for America (TFA). Through the Compassion Forward in the Classroom program, we connect Asurion employees to TFA classrooms in Middle Tennessee. Employee volunteers spend about 1 hour per month in the classroom tutoring students one-on-one in reading and math. Last year, Asurion was honored with the Mary Catherine Strobel Corporate Volunteer of the Year from Hands on Nashville for our employees’ outstanding commitment to the community.

This year we were proud to return as an Anniversary Sponsor for the awards program. We are also featured in two videos sharing our experience volunteering and explaining why volunteerism is important at Asurion. Check out the videos below to hear from two Asurion employees on why corporate volunteerism is important to them.

 

 

 

Best Picture Taking Apps

There are loads of photo apps on the market, but which ones are best? We’ve tested most of them and collected our favorites below. Capturing memories this holiday season has never been easier.

PicLab
This app allows you to add fantastic typographic artwork to your images alongside cool filters, borders and special effects. A free version is available for both iOS and Android. A more robust version (PicLab HD) is available for iOS only at a cost of $1.99.

PicLabphoto

Handy Photo
The incredibly easy interface of this app makes photo editing a breeze. The menus are tucked into the corners of the screen, keeping your image clutter free. The app boasts many advanced settings like lighting control, retouching, cropping and special effects that give you many of the capabilities of Photoshop with a user interface like iPhoto. Our favorite feature is the ability to clip out objects in order to resize, move or flip them. Cost: $1.99

HapndyPhotoApp

Frametastic
This app is a great to create a collage of images to share with family and friends. The app syncs with your photo library so you can easily group images together, select a filter and frame. Think Instagram meets Diptic. Sharing in social is easy right from the app. Cost: Free

Frametastic

 

Camera+
Our friends with iPhones have been raving about this app for some time. Camera+ is not only a photo editor, but also a camera. Crisp images are a given and the amazing suite of editing tools with touch exposure and focus, setting for different shooting modes, digital zoom and a photo flashlight make this a must have. Cost: $1.99 iPhone, $4.99 iPad

Better Camera App for Android

 

FxCamera
This app has great photo editing tools to brighten and crop, alongside six unique filters to add just the right effect to your images. Perhaps its brightest feature is Voice which allows you to take an audio recording at the same time you’re taking a picture. The app also lets you share your memories on Facebook and Twitter. Cost: Free

FxCamera

Paper Camera
Paper Camera is a great app with the most unique filters we’ve seen. Take pictures and in real time, see how the image would look as a cartoon, sketch, in half tone or neon or even as a comic book. Because the filters are applied when you take the picture, there’s no need for editing afterwards. Cost: $1.99

Paper Camera

The Humanitarian Side of Drones

When you read about the rising popularity of drones for fun and profit, it’s natural to feel a little uneasy. Who wants to look up at the sky and see dozens of metallic, vaguely insectile robots buzzing around? Will they cause problems for planes? Will they tread on our privacy?

While there are unanswered questions, some folks are working on boosting the drone’s image, showing us the helpful and delightful sides of unmanned aerial vehicles. For instance, the Ada, Michigan-based nonprofit I Like Giving employed their drone to commit random acts of kindness last summer.

I Like Giving released a two-minute video that tracked their drone’s flight as it dropped off a free skateboard at a crowded playground, a dozen doughnuts onto a police cruiser, and a few handfuls of dollar bills onto people in Grand Rapids’ Rosa Parks Circle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0GHgWi-2ms

Even though this event might be for publicity, it does make you think: What positive uses can we find for drones? Given their small size and increasingly impressive agility, they have potential to aid people stranded in remote or dangerous places, like deserts or flooded areas, by bringing them food and water or medicine.

SWARM (Search With Aerial RC Multi-Rotor) is a volunteer search and rescue network consisting of more than 1,100 Search and Rescue drone pilots dedicated to searching for missing people—and increasing awareness of drone technology as a boon to society.

Another possible benefit of drones: the work they can do with cameras. Chances are pretty good that if you’ve watched a Hollywood blockbuster in the past couple of years, you’ve seen some nifty camerawork via drone.

Just like GPS technology before it, drones are likely to find more and more ways to become useful to us. Keep your eyes on the skies!

Impossible?! Cook Thanksgiving Dinner in a Microwave

Thanksgiving dinner is the big test of a home chef. Moms and grandmas through the ages have owned this meal, and it’s often a big deal when the cooking duties are passed down to the next generation.

But here’s a little secret: You don’t actually have to be an expert chef or spend your whole day in the kitchen to make a nice Thanksgiving dinner. You don’t even need lots of fancy kitchen equipment. In fact, you can prepare a complete Thanksgiving dinner in your microwave.

Check out the below recipes to see how, and soon you’ll be giving thanks for that trusty little appliance in the corner of your kitchen.

Cooking the Turkey (Approximate prep and cooking time: 150 minutes)

The turkey is the star of the Thanksgiving show, but most microwaves can handle it. The trick here is finding a turkey small enough to fit in the microwave.

Ingredients:
  • Turkey, small enough to fit in your microwave, with about 3” clearance at the top and at least 1” on both sides.
  • Butter or olive oil
  • Various spices and seasonings
  • 1 microwave-safe turkey roasting bag
  • Flour
Instructions:
  1. Make sure the turkey is fully defrosted. Ideally, you buy a fresh turkey or defrost in the refrigerator ahead of time, and not in the microwave.
  2. Remove the giblets (these can be set aside for gravy). Rinse the turkey, both inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Coat the turkey with butter or olive oil inside and out for flavor. Then dust with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs and spices. Sage, thyme, and rosemary are standards here, but garlic and onion powder work well, too.If you like stuffing or dressing, plan to cook that separately, because stuffing the turkey changes the cooking times and can make things unpredictable.
  4. Dust the inside of your microwave bag with a little flour, and then place the turkey inside. Seal the bag but also leave a small opening for venting.
  5. Set the bagged bird into a large dish in the microwave and cook for approximately 10 minutes per pound at 50 percent power. (This may vary depending on the size of your bird and the power of your microwave, but these are good starting points, since it’s best to undercook and then add time as needed.) If your microwave oven doesn’t rotate, plan to turn the dish every 15 minutes.
  6. You’ll know the turkey is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast or thigh reads 165 degrees. (Actually, using a meat thermometer on a turkey is a little tricky.Insert the thermometer parallel to the bird, not up-and-down, to make it easier to connect with the meat. Make sure you’re not touching the thermometer to bone, and that you haven’t jammed it all the way through to air inside the hollow turkey.)
  7. Remove the turkey from the roasting bag and let stand 20 minutes before carving.

Stuffing (Approximate cooking time: 6 minutes)

Microwave stuffing is easy, delicious, and way better for you than store-bought!

Ingredients:
  • 8 cups breadcrumbs or cubes
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1 cup minced celery
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 dash pepper
Instructions:

Mix all ingredients, pour into microwave-safe casserole dish, and microwave 4 to-6 minutes on high. Serve immediately.

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy (Approximate cooking time: 10 minutes)

This recipe for easy, creamy microwaved mashed potatoes and gravy will have your family asking for seconds.

Ingredients:
  • 2.5 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
  • 1 cup milk or half and half
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions:

Wash potatoes, peel (if desired), and cut into chunks. Place in a microwave-safe dish and cover. Microwave on high for 8 minutes or until the potatoes are done. Using oven mitts, carefully remove dish from microwave. Take off the cover using oven mitts or tongs, since steam build-up can burn.

Place the cooked potatoes in a large bowl. Use a masher or potato ricer to mash potatoes. Add the milk (or half and half), butter, salt, and pepper. Continue mashing until the desired consistency has been reached. Serve immediately.

For the gravy:
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons turkey drippings
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions:

Whisk flour into turkey drippings. Add cream and chicken broth, and whisk until smooth. Cook in the microwave on high for 3 minutes, then remove and add salt and pepper to taste.

Cranberry Sauce (Approximate prep and cooking time: 20 minutes)

Sure, you could serve cranberry sauce out of the can, but it’s pretty easy to make fresh cranberry sauce in your microwave.

Ingredients:
  • 2 ounces cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice or water
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind

Put all the ingredients into a 3-quart microwave-safe bowl, mixing well, and cover with wax paper. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Stir and cover with wax paper again. Microwave 5 to 7 more minutes or until the cranberries pop and the sauce has thickened. Let stand, covered, until cool. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

Pumpkin Pie (Approximate cooking time: 35 minutes)

Last but certainly not least, we come to the microwave pumpkin pie. Since your microwave does not have a bake option, this one might feel like a cheat despite the filling being from scratch. Hey, there’s always the store-bought option, and most store-bought pumpkin pies elicit very few complaints.

Ingredients:
  • 1 pie crust (from the refrigerator case at the store)
For the filling:
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 12 oz. evaporated milk
  • 1 pkg. (4 1/2 oz.) egg custard mix
  • 16 oz. canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
For the meringue:
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
Instructions:
  1. Place the crust into a microwave-safe pie plate. Prick the bottom and sides with a fork. Microwave uncovered for 2 minutes. Give the dish a 1/2 turn, and microwave for 2 to 3 more minutes, or once the crust has a flaky look to it.
  2. Separate 2 eggs. (You’ll use the whites later for the meringue.) Beat the egg yolks, then add other filling ingredients. Microwave uncovered to boiling (approximately 7 to 8 minutes), stirring every 2 minutes. Pour the filling into the pie shell.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Continue beating, adding a spoonful of sugar at a time, until stiff peaks form. This goes faster if you have a mixer, but you can do it by hand with a whisk! Spread the meringue on the pie, making sure you seal it to the crust at the edges.
  4. Microwave uncovered until meringue has set, about 1 1/2 minutes. Chill for at least 4 hours.

Apps & Devices to Keep Teen Drivers Safe

Even if it’s been a while, you remember your first car – the freedom to go wherever you wanted, whenever you wanted! No more waiting for your parents or bumming rides from friends! It’s a teen’s first taste of freedom. Unfortunately, the safety stats on teen driving is not great. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for 16 to 19-year-olds. Teenagers are more likely than any other age group to get a ticket or be in an accident. While that’s always been true, the risks today are compounded by distracted driving—often in the form of texting. Fortunately, technology can actually help solve this problem. Parents and teens can take advantage of multiple apps related to safe driving—whether you’re interested in monitoring your teen’s driving habits, or just ensuring that their phone doesn’t become a deadly distraction when they’re on the road.

Phone Tools

Most states now outlaw texting while driving, but many permit hands-free usage. If you’re OK with your teen using voice commands, check out the hands-free tools on your phone. For instance, the iPhone has “Hey, Siri” functionality, which allows a user to do anything the iPhone can do with voice commands—no need to even push the Home button. Learn more about Hey, Siri. Android phones also offer hands-free voice commands. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for details on using voice commands. Newer cars may also offer the ability to sync with a phone, offering hands-free phone calls and music control while you drive. Check instructions from your car and phone manufacturers to connect your phone and car.

Prevent the Distractions

It’s really hard to compete with the distracting power of a smartphone. You could make your teen promise to turn off the phone while they’re driving, but everyone forgets sometimes. Several iOS and Android apps take care of remembering the details for you, though. They use the smartphone’s sensors to understand when the phone is traveling fast enough to be in a moving car, and when it is, the apps disable texting, or switch to verbal commands.
DriveSafe

DriveSafe Mode

(Free,
Android and iOS) DriveSafe Mode is an app that can block phone and text access while the car is driving above a speed the parent determines. You can configure special numbers that can be dialed in an emergency, and you’ll get an alert if your teen is driving but turns off the DriveSafe app.

Driving Monitors

You might have bigger concerns, though. If you’d like to assess whether your teen is driving too fast, or going places they shouldn’t, check out these apps that let you monitor driving habits and track locations.
Canary

Canary

(Free,
Android and iOS) Canary doesn’t limit phone functionality, but it sends parents a notification when the teen driver texts or phones while on the road. It can also monitor speed and alert you if your teen is outside an approved perimeter.

Text Limit

TextLimit

($24.99/year/phone:
Android and iOS) TextLimit allows the administrator to block access to distracting apps above a certain speed. You can also locate the phone on a map and get speed alerts.

In-Car Devices

Even more sophisticated: Technology that installs in a car itself to give you a full report of how the car is being used, as well as focusing on safety. Both devices below are compatible with iOS and Android.

rotowire-app

Automatic

The
Automatic adapter plugs into your car’s diagnostic port (available on most cars starting from the 1996 model year) and decodes your car’s stats on related apps on your smartphone. You can monitor gas mileage, find your parked car, track maintenance needs, and more. For a teen driver, the License+ app pairs with Automatic to offer your teen coaching on safe driving. (Cost: $99)

nfl-showdown

Cellcontrol

Cellcontrol focuses solely on safe driving, but offers the benefit of a family system that can detect who’s driving—allowing other family members in the vehicle to use their phones unimpeded. The family administrator prevents distracted driving by setting a pre-defined policy of what phone features are permitted while driving. It logs trip maps and other driver history. (Cost: $129)

However you use technology to help, safe driving to you and your teen!

Hack Your Holiday Travel with These Tech Tricks

It’s easy to feel good about travel in May, when flights are likelier to depart on time and the highways are uncongested. It’s holiday travel—especially Thanksgiving weekend—that separates the truly travel savvy from the amateurs.

With these tips, you’ll be the savviest traveler in the train, plane, or automobile.

We’ve divided our advice into two categories: High-Tech Tips, where you’ll find the best travel-related apps (all free for iOS and Android) and quick fixes to keep yourself sane and organized during the busiest travel holiday of the year; and Low-Tech Tips, where you’ll get a rundown of awesome travel hacks that do not require a Wi-Fi connection.

High-Tech Tips

  1. When you’re planning a flight, check out Seat Guru (Android and iOS) before you choose your seat. The app knows all the details about individual airplanes—like which seats can’t recline or are annoyingly close to the galley.
  2. GateGuru (Android and iOS) tracks flight times and gate locations, but it also throws in airport weather patterns and airport amenities near your gate.
  3. iFly Airport Guide (Android and iOS) is another app that gives users a hearty rundown of individual airport information.
  4. But remember, if you just want to know whether your flight is running on time, there’s always Google,  just type your airline name and flight number into the search box to see if you’re on time or delayed.
  5. If your flight is cancelled or delayed, or the airline misplaced your luggage, it’s not a bad idea to know exactly what you’re entitled to or assistance the airline must provide. Check out the Department of Travel Fly Rights page. You may even want to save the info on your phone in case you need it when you don’t have an Internet connection.
  6. Of course, nothing provides a quick shot of travel-related stress like being told by a TSA that your nail clippers or bottled water will be confiscated. The app My TSA (Android and iOS) tells you what you can take through security, as well as security wait times.
  7. Flight cancelled? Or maybe you’re driving and decide to stop for the night instead of pushing on through? Try HotelTonight (Android and iOS), which specializes in last-minute hotel bookings and (possible) deals.
  8. When you’re on the road and away from your regular Wifi networks, you can still find free networks on the road. Check out FourSquare (Android and iOS) to find passwords to nearby free Wifi networks—other app users often share them in the comments on the coffee shop or restaurant. Or try WiFi Finder (Android and iOS) to locate Wi-Fi hotspots in your immediate area, including ones that are in a network you’re subscribed to.

Low-Tech Lessons

  1. If you want to avoid the worst of the crush, and your family can stand to wait, fly on the actual holiday. There’s a huge difference in passenger volume between Wednesday and Thursday on Thanksgiving week.
  2. Have you ever had a phone charger cord fray and come apart? Packing and unpacking your cords and chargers makes this much more likely. Protect your charger chords by taking the spring from a pen and wrapping it around the ends, which most likely to fray.
  3. Protect yourself by dressing in layers. No matter what temperature the plane is, or how hot Grandma likes to keep her house, you’ll be prepared. And remember that planes, trains, and your relatives are sharing extra germs this holiday season—so be sure to get a flu shot before you travel for the holidays.
  4. If you’re bringing gifts, do yourself a favor and wait to wrap your gifts when you arrive at your destination, whether you’re flying and going through TSA, or just bumping them around in the car.

We hope these tips reduce your stress and make your holiday travel season the smoothest ever!

 

Inside Look: Ragland

Picture this: you start your day in Nashville, “Music City”, a city formerly known solely for its Country music scene, but now has the spotlight shining brighter than ever, thanks to the city’s rapid growth. Still, it holds on to its deep southern hospitality roots, which are never buried too deeply. You make your way to one of many unique coffee shops and see several faces you know, having a friendly chat. Those that you aren’t familiar with still smile and wish you a great day. You arrive at work in the heart of downtown, where your desk is in a bright, collaborative, open environment. After work, you can head to dinner, have a drink, hear live music, play in your kickball league, peruse several farmers markets or an art gallery, see a Broadway musical, or catch a concert at the outdoor amphitheater.

As a Nashville resident, working in our downtown office, which we call “Ragland”, you will be close to these opportunities daily. Nashville has been a repeat headline in national publications recently, as it welcomes over 80 new residents daily. In fact, this Middle Tennessee city has showed the healthiest employment growth since the crash of 2008, when compared to all other large metropolises (12th & Broad). This can be partially attributed to the Middle Tennessee city’s 23% growth rate in high-tech jobs from 2012 to 2014 (CBRE).

Asurion’s five-story Ragland office opened as our downtown base in 2012, after being restored from a nightclub to its original 1930s brick façade. To date, over 500 employees call it home, and we expect they will for many years to come, thanks to the growth of Asurion’s careers in the tech space.

Come on a tour with us through Ragland and learn what it’s like to be an employee here.

 

 

Welcome to Ragland
Cafe
Cafe
Meeting Rooms
Meeting Room
Meeting Rooms
Stairs
Break Area
Break Area
Workspaces
Hallways
Hallways
Lobby

Apps and Tips to Make This Black Friday Epic

Every year, millions of Americans wake up early the day after Thanksgiving, brave traffic, and fight crowds to shell out hard-earned cash for the cheapest electronics, clothes, and household items of the year. If you’re a Black Friday shopper, start your prep with our top 10 Black Friday tips, divided into three categories: Do Your Research, The Big Day, and For Your Sanity.

We want your Black Friday to be low-stress and epically productive. After all, if you’re not having any fun, you may as well as stay home and enjoy those Thanksgiving leftovers.

Do Your Research

Turn to tech. Check your favorite retailers’ web sites to check on the best deals. If you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for, or suspect you might be able to find an even better deal elsewhere, scan a Black Friday sales aggregating website like BFAds, TheBlackFriday or SlickDeals.

You’ll also want to consider the available apps, as these are maybe the best way of staying abreast of those sales that go on throughout the day. Look for Black Friday 2015 (Android & iOS), Black Friday (Android & iOS), TGI Black Friday 2015 (Android or iOS), and Black Friday by BradsDeals (Android or iOS). All are free.

Plan a budget. Drawing up a Black Friday budget is a must to help rein in those impulse buys. Stores make a killing on people getting caught up in the overall frenzy of the day, snatching up items they didn’t originally intend to buy.

Make a list of what you need. Write down exactly what you need—both holiday gifts and other items that might happen to be on sale. While Black Friday is a great day for electronics, clothes, toys, and other goods, keep in mind that many items—household items especially—see their prices slashed after the holidays, when stores need to make room for new stock and bargain shopping is the last thing on people’s minds.

The Big Day

Think about transportation. Braving the crowds is really only half the battle when it comes to Black Friday—fighting traffic and finding a decent parking space can be serious tests of your patience. Minimize these trials by having a friend or family member drop you off in front of the stores, or consider Uber, Lyft or even public transit.

Make geography work for you (divide and conquer). Like all successful battle plans, yours should take geography into consideration. Draw a map of all the stores you want to visit and figure out which ones you’ll want to hit first, as well as which ones you’ll want to visit at certain times, when those mid-day sales come up. If you’re shopping with a friend or family member, split up with specific goals and missions in mind, and you might increase your chances of getting popular sale items. Just be sure your phones are charged up so that you can keep up with one another.

Bring your own bags. While all stores provide bags for your purchases, it’s not a bad idea to bring your own, since they’re likely to be stronger and easier to haul around. It also minimizes the chances of another shopper mistaking his or her purchases for yours.

For your sanity

Have a plan B. Doorbusters can go fast, so research viable alternatives for your must-have items. If the model in the flyer is already sold out, you’ll know 2-3 other options that also look like good deals.

Bring snacks. It may sound funny to say you need sustenance for your journey, but standing in long lines with low blood sugar is no laughing matter. Ensure that your body is ready for the big day by planning meals and snacks into your shopping expedition. Take a water bottle with you and fill it up at water fountains. Stick with healthy stuff like salads and steamed vegetables. This is the day after Thanksgiving, after all, and your body might need a break!

Take breaks. Rushing around fighting crowds for hours on end will add up to one thing: Exhaustion. Even though Black Friday can feel hectic, it’s all what you make it. Take a moment between stores to sit down and do a little people-watching. Enjoy a coffee and visit with your shopping buddy, or jot down a few notes about family plans for the holiday season.

However you do it, happy shopping!