The holiday season is my favorite time of the year. However, trying to organize can be an uphill battle. This year, I have decided to post a series called Simplifying the Holidays with this post being Part I. Today, shopping has been heavy on my mind — well, it’s always on my mind, but holiday shopping is different. As I was perusing one my very favorite websites www.mymerrychristmas.com, I came across a fabulous blog post by B. Francis Morlan on the subject of Black Friday where she gives 5 very good reasons why us saavy shoppers should avoid it. I was amazed! Yes, TMF Readers, in the past, I have been part of the thousands that hit the stores as early as 3:00 a.m. waiting in line for a good deal on the day after Thanksgiving. However, after reading these five tips, I may just decide to forego this year and get my highly underrated sleep in! I hope you enjoy the article as much as I did.
Black Friday has become as big a part of Thanksgiving weekend as turkey. In many home across America a tradition has been born of searching ads, surfing Black Friday websites and mapping out a shopping strategy for the wee hours of the Friday after Thanksgiving. While the pies bake and the turkey trimmings are prepared many make it a habit to look forward with a little jingle in their pocket to begin the holiday season.
To the savvy shopper we advise: stop. Sleep in. Forget about the so-called big deals.
Here are five reasons to avoid Black Friday:
1. The Big Deals Aren’t That Big a Deal – A 36-inch flat screen television for $300 might see like a mighty tempting deal. So too that $200 laptop. The deals even might seem crazy enough to cause you to camp out on concrete for 24-hours or more in sub-zero weather. Don’t buy into it. A cheap laptop is just that – cheap. Chances are it won’t last until next Thanksgiving. And if you’re going to make a purchase for a major appliance chances are you’ll find a better deal on what you really want in October, especially in electronics. That is when merchants want to really clear the shelves to make room for holiday merchandise.
2. Biggest Bait-n-Switch Day of the Year – Every ad is going to say “limited to quantities on hand”. Often, especially for the more attractively priced stuff, those quantities are very limited. 50 laptops for a line of 1000 people are not going to last long. Retailers love getting people in with a low price – and then showing them alternatives after selling out on the hot stuff within minutes. With crowds anxious for a deal the percentages are in their favor that a shopper looking for a bargain – any bargain – in the competitive rush of early morning shopping is going to drop money on something they didn’t intend to buy.
3. Great Price, No Rain Checks – For many retailers standing in that line in the near-winter weather means nothing. Yes, they’ve got great prices advertised. But once they are out they are out – and unlike ordinary everyday sales Black Friday sales offer no guarantee, no overstock and no rain checks.
4. Better Deals Online – Start shopping online the Monday before Thanksgiving. Online retailers want to cash in on Black Friday too and they work a lot harder during Thanksgiving week to get your attention and your money. Amazon in particular has refined the art of getting folks to stay in their jammies to shop – at all hours, too. And there’s no shoving online.
5. Holiday Return Policies Kick In – just as the deals on Black Friday are an exception so too are the holiday return policies. Some retailers will only let you return product at the sale price – regardless of whether or not you have a receipt. Others are charging now a “re-stocking fee”. Investigate the return policy before you spend – by law they have to post it.
The best way to avoid Black Friday is to do your shopping well in advance of the holiday shopping season. The deals are exceptional from just before Labor Day to Halloween. Retailers are clearing out early year models and marking down to drive sales traffic. They have to. Mid-September to mid-November is one of the weakest shopping periods of the year. And there are deals aplenty.
Black Friday is festive event, sure enough, and for many just spending time with family and friends amongst the chaos is fun in and of itself. And if that’s your thing, great – just leave the wallet and especially the credit cards at home.