Sample Sales: 200 women enter, 1 woman leaves. Oh. Wait. That’s not shopping. That’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. I think I meant: sample sales, they can be really crazy, as evidenced by the mayhem at the Christian Louboutin sale today. Because the opportunity to buy designer wares for K-mart prices makes everyone go a little nuts – whether that designer is Christian Louboutin, Chanel, Manolo Blahnik, or, in my hometown, The Victoria’s Secret Semi-Annual Sale. We’ve put together some tips to make sure that you are the Master Blaster of sample sales.

Do figure out how much you can spend first. Sure, it seems like a bargain to on;y pay $100 per paid of Christian Louboutins, but you’re still paying $100 per pair of shoes. Set a spending limit for yourself before you get to the sale and are confronted with 100 different pairs of shoes that you want to buy.

Don’t arrive at 4:00 in the morning. It will signal that you’re an obsessive, and it will mean that you’re weak, sleep deprived and not able to make good choices when you get to the sale. It will also possibly get you mugged as you wait out on a street corner at 4:00 in the morning. Unless, I guess, you really like to get up at 4:00. Maybe that’s just your thing. But it won’t give you a huge edge over people who show up, say, an hour before the sale starts.

Do show up a little bit early. Getting there in the middle of the night is insane, but do get there as soon as you can. Lines build over the course of the day, and getting there promptly when it opens means that you’ll get to the front of the line. Treat it the way you would a big movie on opening weekend.

Don’t expect to pay with your credit card. A lot of samples sales are cash only. Paying in cash will also remind you how much you’re actually paying.

Do know your size in the brand. You really don’t want to be at the sale and suddenly realize “hey, Christian Louboutin’s run small, maybe I should try an 8.5 instead of an 8. Or a 9!” You’ll lose valuable time as everyone else picks through stuff.

Don’t get into a fight with anyone. The bitch who pushed you out of her way while trying to tear stuff out of your hands? Yes, that bitch is crazy. No, you shouldn’ tell her that. Not because it’s not true, but because it will take up valuable time when you could be tearing through more piles of shoes looking for Marie Antoinette heels. If she wants to engage in a tug-of-war over black pumps, just let her have them. There will be another pair in the pile.

Do know what you want before you go in. They might not have the specific shoes that Carrie met Big in, but think about what styles you need. Pumps? Sandals? Boots? The selection can be a little overwhelming, so it helps to go in with a gameplan.

Don’t let any items out of your sight once you’ve decided on them. No, you can’t put the marked-down-from-$900 boots down on the floor next to your purse once you’ve decided on them. They will get taken. Bring a big purse or canvas bag to toss your selections into, because it’s really awkward to walk around trying to juggle three or four pairs of shoes.