Every year we hear reports of people getting trampled barreling through the doors of yet another department store at 4 a.m. on Black Friday. Safety aside, why do people still wait in long lines in the middle of the night just to go shopping?
The answer is the illusive Black Friday deal. That flat screen TV you’ve always wanted, the hot new toy of the season or a giant winter coat for what seems like pennies on the dollar: they all seem worth the wait. But are Black Friday shoppers really just wasting their time?
Lowest Price of The Year?
All of the Black Friday commercials say the deals are the lowest prices of the year. The truth of the matter is that retailers plot the ways in which prices will change year-round to make sure they end up in the black.
Before you max out a credit card on Black Friday, consider that the price of many items bottom out months before or after the holidays. Check out these myth-busting prices from a 2-year survey conducted by Decide.com.
- Toys are typically cheapest around the beginning of school
- Watches and jewelry often peak during the holidays and bottom out in March
- Televisions tend to be cheapest at the end of the Summer
- Kitchen appliances actually bottom out in mid-December
What’s in the Ad isn’t in the Store
The big door buster deals featured on the cover of Black Friday advertisements seem too good to be true. If you check the fine print under that 47” TV, you’ll see that supplies are limited. While you may consider supplies limited to mean a few hundred, the Black Friday reality is that limited supplies often means there are only five in the store.
Saving money by doing all your shopping on Black Friday is a myth. Although it seems like you should do all of your shopping when there are so many deals, a lot of research shows that department stores will lower the price drastically on a few items but keep the majority the same or even raise them to make up the difference.
If you do all of your shopping on Black Friday you may get a great deal on two items but pay a premium on everything else meaning you won’t save a dime and may get stuck paying more.
The Best Deals aren’t in Stores
Looking at the covers of ads the day before Thanksgiving, you may think all of the best deals will be in-store. However, in recent years the explosion of online shopping has sparked what is called Cyber Monday.
Cyber Monday is the Black Friday equivalent for online shoppers but you won’t have to stay up all night or fight for your place in line. The best part is, free shipping deals or free in-store pick up are generally offered around the holiday season so you won’t get socked with an insane shipping fee.
Staying Up All Night Isn’t Fun
It seems that many shoppers have tricked themselves into thinking staying up all night and fighting for the last toy is the best way to spend their Thanksgiving weekend. In reality, Black Friday deals are designed to make you lose sleep, wait outside in the cold and fight your way through insane lines, all in the name of potentially saving a few bucks.
Consumers will do almost anything in the quest for a good deal, so don’t expect Black Friday to wane in popularity anytime soon. That said, armed with the knowledge that you probably won’t get one of the five cheap televisions and that the best prices of the year may actually be in March, you can decide if Black Friday shopping is for you.