A Reflection on Black Friday
There’s an insanely satisfying feeling that comes with snagging a good sale. I feel like I’m pulling one over on the big bad companies and their pricey products (never mind that I’m still giving them my money by purchasing the product…). Black Friday is perfectly tailored to fulfill that feeling, as retailers flash big signs displaying all their “deep discounts” that are too often faker than Kardashian family beefs. Stores are notorious for hiking up prices before the consumer holiday in order to deeply discount the inflated prices, bringing them back down to their normal value and labeling that a steal.
The Bargain Betties pack into department stores worldwide to grab those ‘special, one time only, can’t miss’ deals after every Thanksgiving. They’re often walking straight into an apocalyptic jungle, where survival of the fittest and most forceful rules. Under-stocking, overcrowding, and blocked aisles are all tricks of the Black Friday retail trade to increase consumer tension and drive up discount desperation. It can often get dangerous, as riots and shootings over products are common, and “consumers behaving badly” graces headlines every year. Yet every year people still wake up with the sun to get their place in line outside big ticket item stores and feel the accomplishment of scoring a deal.
“Black Friday creates a herd mentality that encourages people to buy things that they don’t want or don’t even love that much because of the perceived scarcity of the deals.” - via Phuong Vuong of Empower Finance
There are undoubtedly some amazing sales at select stores on Black Friday and the physically safer Cyber Monday–but are they worth the hype? Consumer group Which? found that 87% of Black Friday deals were the same or cheaper during other sales during the year! Our collective love for feeling like corporate #scammers clouds this reality, so retailers experience a whopping majority of traffic during holiday sales in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
This all amounts to the only advice I can give: shop smart! When making big purchases track and compare prices (using tools like Pricerunner) and if you’re looking for a real deal, look for and consider purchasing during more offbeat sale times. Don’t buy the sale, buy the item you want.
And while you’re out there, try treating the stressed, overworked, and often underpaid retail workers with respect and kindness!
Feature image via.