Every year, I have to ask myself why people act the way they do for Black Friday sales, and if it was even worth it.
For the retailers, it seems like Black Friday was a huge success, at least according to the media. People were lined up at 4pm on Thanksgiving (or sometimes even earlier) to be first in line. What would possess anyone to wait in line for 12 hours, it 30 degree weather, for a TV? Granted, a cheap TV, but still…
Black Friday Deals Aren’t That Great…
The funny thing is, the specials aren’t that great…and most people don’t even need the specials. For example, the appliances that both Wal-Mart and Target offered up for $3, normally retail for $5.49. So, you saved $1.49, was that worth a 12 hour wait???
Also, many retailers were offering their same “door buster” deals online. Target, for example, was selling many of the same items offered in store for the same price online, and they were throwing in free shipping. Its much better shopping from the warmth of my own home, being able to get the same stuff at no additional cost, and having it delivered to my door.
Literally Fighting The Crowds
Then you hear about the real horror stories from Black Friday: people robbed, people trampled to get items, fights, etc. All for “Stuff”…stuff most people don’t need. You don’t see a mad dash to the grocery store when ground meat is on sale?
Now, what about this new “Cyber Monday”. Its the day that online retailers have their sales. But, how worth it is it? I shop on Amazon quite a bit, but I never actually buy much from Amazon. I buy from the private sellers, who usually sell slightly used for less than half! Take, for example, The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, the biography of Warren Buffett. You could buy it new from Amazon for $13.60, or you could buy a used copy in great condition for $4.25. That is a savings of 69% from the new price. That’s my kind of deal.
This year, I plan do to most of my shopping online, but there are the inevitable that I always end up buying in store, like the sweater for grandpa. Maybe it’s just me, but I would never wait in line for 12 hours for a TV, or any other junk. How about you? Have you ever waited for a Black Friday deal? Any tricks or tips for holiday shopping?
Readers, what are your thoughts on Black Friday?
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.