Shopping is something I generally do not enjoy. That’s why I aim to do as much of it online as possible.
But during the holiday season, shopping is something I inevitably have to focus on lest I disappoint my children and the other important people in my life. So even though I’d rather occupy my time with other things, I’ll commonly spend several weeks in November scoping out sales in an effort to fulfill my gift list while saving money.
But there’s one November shopping event I refuse to participate in — Black Friday. The average shopper spends an estimated $480 on Black Friday, according to data from Capital One. But if I have it my way, this Black Friday, I’ll spend $0. That’s because I’m convinced Black Friday is a trap for the following reasons.
Have you ever tried to actually take advantage of a Black Friday sale without getting up at 4 a.m.? Stores do a great job of luring customers in on Black Friday with the promise of popular items at almost unbelievably low prices.
But often, there will only be a handful of those highly desirable items available. So if you get to the store after they’ve run out, what’ll likely happen is that you’ll have to settle for something else.
That something else probably won’t be as good a deal, though. So you’ll likely end up spending money for the sake of justifying your trip to the store without getting to feel good about your purchase.
I used to find it highly suspect that a TV that normally retails for $899.99 could magically become available for $699.99 during Black Friday. So years ago, I decided to dig deeper. And what I found is that some — though to be fair, not all — retailers strike deals with manufacturers to produce special product runs for Black Friday alone.
What this means is that the TV or laptop you’re getting for $200 to $300 off of its normal price probably isn’t the same exact model you’d normally pay more for. Rather, it’s most likely a comparable item that’s made with less expensive parts that allow retailers to offer such low prices.
If you’re going to buy electronics on Black Friday, you must, I repeat, must look at the model number. And if you can’t find that model number for sale anywhere else, know that it’s a special run. Only in this context, “special” generally means “not as good.”
There’s something inherently stressful about Black Friday that puts consumers in a less favorable position to make smart decisions. Maybe it’s the throngs of people hitting the stores or the hour-by-hour deals online retailers might take it upon themselves to drop.
But either way, it’s hard to think clearly when you’re stressed. And that could lead to added spending, or misguided spending. No, thank you. I’d rather do my shopping another time when the pressure is off, so I don’t regret my credit card tab after the fact.
Some people really look forward to Black Friday and specifically aim to do the bulk of their shopping then. But if you ask me, Black Friday is nothing but a giant trap. You may be much better off doing your shopping in the weeks leading up to and following the day after Thanksgiving.
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