Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday? I don't think so.

Black is a kind of funny word, having both negative and positive connotations. When the stock market crashed spectacularly, as it has done on more than one occasion, those days were designated "Black Monday." Black was a bad thing, an evil thing. Being in a "black" mood means your friends and family should take cover.

But there is also a positive connotation for black: when businesses are making a profit and have more income than outflow they are said to be "in the black."

Businesses across the country have dubbed today "Black Friday," and have touted it as a good thing. Well, yes, if it works to get consumers in and buying then it's good for the businesses. Just how good is it really for consumers?

I looked at the advertisements for those doorbuster specials that stores are pushing for Black Friday. I looked at both the items and the prices. Just what is all the hoopla about? If an X-Box costs $300 regular price and you can get it for "only" $265 on Black Friday, where is the bargain? You are still going to be paying $265 for a toy. And when Designer X's perfume is available at the "truly unbelievable" price of only $95 an ounce instead of $170? And when Designer Q's shoes are available at "the never before seen" price of $177 a pair instead of $340?

I like to think of today as Blackout Friday. Today I black out any knowledge that there are stores out there. Today I black out any shopping that I know I'm going to have to do for Chanukah or an upcoming wedding. Today I refuse to face the traffic nightmares at shopping malls. Today I'm not going to be pushed and prodded into making purchases of items that are still overpriced regardless of how much the stores may have reduced them. Today I'll stay warm and dry at home and celebrate some real savings--my money has remained in my pocket.

And at 4:00 am I was still warm and toasty under my covers instead of jumping out of bed to make the 4:30 am opening of the stores. I can think of only a very few things I'd like to do at 4:00 in the morning, and shopping isn't one of them.

So Black Friday will come and go, unmourned and unsung by me. I do have a suggestion, though, for those businesses who think people like me are what is hurting our economic recovery. Look at what you are selling, which are wants, not needs, for the most part. Now move those highly inflated prices way down, and not just for a sale. Offer me decent prices year round and you might get to call me a regular customer. Do it only for Black Friday and don't bother calling me at all.


Eva said...

My company gives us off today. Why would anyone think that I'm going to get up at some crazy hour of the night to go shopping on a day I can sleep in? I'm going nowhere today--what a treat!

rejewvenator said...

I'm so surprised by your negative attitude towards Black Friday. I don't do the whole 4AM at the store thing either, but there are many deals available online too.

I actually think Black Friday (and the inevitable January closeouts) are an important part of my frugality calendar. Just like the best time of year to buy a new car is the late summer, when dealers are trying to clear out last year's model, Black Friday is a great time to buy electronics and computers, DVDs, gifts for Hannukah.

ProfK said...

Yes and no as to its being a great time to buy. Our newspaper prints out shopping circulars a week ahead. Because of Thanksgiving, the Wednesday paper this week had not only the specials for Black Friday but also included the circulars for next week.

Last night at dinner my niece and her husband were discussing a washer they have to buy. There were two places offering Black Friday bargains on washers. The only problem is that the bargains for Black Friday are more expensive than what is being advertised for next week, and the models on sale next week are rated better as well. And without real knowledge of what the regular prices really are (many of the prices are hiked in the week before Black Friday making the sale prices look better in comparison)they don't know if they are really getting a bargain or not.

My objection to Black Friday is that consumers rush to buy without doing careful checking as to price and quality. The shopping frenzy catches them up. They worry that if they don't buy it today there won't be any left to buy later. And as long as they are grabbing things off the shelf, they tend to buy more than they would if they were just making a regular shopping trip.

Orthonomics said...

ING bank is offering some special rates on savings products. I'm sitting here trying to figure out if any of the products are of interest to me.

Anonymous said...

It's not all doom and gloom today. I did manage to snag the two items on my list and for a price I won't see anywhere the rest of this selling season. Cheaper then online too. But you should have seen some of the people grabbing things off of shelves like the stores were giving the stuff away.

Anonymous said...

I am one of those who makes sure to stay away from malls and big box stores from Thanksgiving until after New Years if I can at all help it. Nonetheless, I know people where I work who love getting up early for Black Friday and make it a family outing. For those who enjoy it, I say good for them. I am going to sit at my computer and do some on-line shopping with free shipping today to take care of my year end gift shopping.