Why I Don’t Go Black Friday Shopping

I’ve never really understood the appeal of Black Friday shopping. I can’t even stand going grocery shopping at 6 p.m. on a weekday, how could I ever deal with shopping on Black Friday? In my opinion, the deals are not worth waiting in long lines and dealing with the crowds. These days you can get the same prices – without even leaving your house! – on Cyber Monday, or pretty much any other day of the year using coupon codes retailers always have to offer.

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Photo by Chris Franz/Getty Images

With online shopping becoming more convenient and popular each day, brick and mortar stores can no longer afford to rely on the day after Thanksgiving to bring in huge amounts of sales. Retailers are now making an effort to compete by starting their big holiday sales as early as November 1st, giving us less of a reason to venture out into the Black Friday crowds, and more of a reason to start holiday shopping earlier each year.

Other than maybe a few doorbuster specials, Black Friday deals aren’t really that great. Even the few really great deals have drawbacks: they’re usually for items that are very limited in quantity. Meaning that if you aren’t one the first 20 people waiting in line since 4 a.m., you’re going to be out of luck.

You have to be on the lookout, too, if you do decide to go shopping on Black Friday. Some retailers will attempt to trick you into thinking that you’re getting a better deal than you really are. Retailers often do this by inflating the original price of their products to make the sale price look more appealing. Retailers will also often show the manufacturer’s suggested retail price next to the Black Friday discount price to make the savings look huge. In reality, the MSRP is often much higher than the usual price the retailer sells the product for on a normal day anyways.

One example of this is was shown in this year’s JCPenney Black Friday ad, which showed a doorbuster deal for the Cuisinart 10-Cup Thermal Coffee Maker for $69.99, with the “original” price of $180 shown next to it. But the same coffee maker was being sold for $99.99 at the beginning of the month and still is. So instead of saving more than $100 like they want you to think, you are actually only saving $30. Yeah, there are still some savings, but is it a deal so good that it’s worth standing for hours in line out in the cold? Probably not.

If you decide to go Black Friday shopping next year, take my advice and at least do your research first. Make sure the items you are purchasing aren’t last year’s outdated models, or that you aren’t paying the same amount for a product that everyone bought on Black Friday last year. Personally, I’d rather avoid the madness altogether. Online shopping, coupon codes, amazon.com, free shipping and free returns – those are the good things in life. And I’m definitely not the only one who thinks so.