Just like that Woodward "Bush at War" volume of the same name, today's Post article "Plan of Attack" promises an inside account of high-level military planning—"sure-fire tactics [to] make a successful Black Friday." It's practically a slam-dunk for a good Christmas season. The insider in this case is Marina Vataj, "a former staffer at a major New York department store," who's "been on the other side of those doors and...picked up all the tricks of the Black Friday trade." Shopper beware, though! Again like with that other thing, this credentialed expert's attack plan might just make EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD HATE YOU.

Ms. Vataj's first tip is straight from the WMD (and WWD, presumably) "absence of proof is not proof of absence" playbook: If you can't find what you're looking for on the racks, just continue insisting it's there to anybody who will listen until one of them gives in. It's a good curve-ball to throw out technical words like "stockroom" (instead of, you know, the more familiar "thingsplace.") So, in short, "if someone gets her hands on the last Cole Haan handbag before you can, don't pitch a fit. Ask a sales associate to check the stockroom for you (and if you use that term, they know you know the deal). Chances are they'll have one."

Tip #2: Take advantage of less experienced shoppers' naive adherence to basic rules governing civil order! "Let's face it, ladies, when it comes to trying on clothes, we're neither quick nor efficient. So to have sufficient time to swirl and twirl in every item of your stash, head straight to the men's department fitting rooms."

Similarly, why wait your turn in line when you can capitalize on the economic anxieties facing service-industry personnel:

Cut the line: The best way to avoid long lines at the cash register is by making a sales associate your new best friend. Typically, they need to ring up merchandise to make a commission, so just walk up to one, hand her your items and ask to be rung up. They'll likely sneak you away to a register where the wait is much shorter.

And once at said secure location, consider a little casual blackmail with that commission: After all, "extra coupons are a must... 'Private sale' certificates are given to select customers, but if you ask that new best friend, she'll likely give you one from the bunch she has stored beneath the register."

Needless to say, there's no crying in baseball and there's no categorical imperative in retail ethics. So if some apparent drag queen knocks you over this Friday on the way to bribing a Bloomingdale's cashier, don't judge her too harshly: she's just preempting everyone else.

Plan of Attack [NYP]