It seems that when it comes to this consumer-focused “holiday,” people either love it or hate it. Each year in the United States, Black Friday falls the day after Thanksgiving, and as it continues to grow in popularity, it also grows in duration. Instead of stores simply opening their doors an hour or two earlier, many remain open all day Thanksgiving Day or into the evening to start rolling out deals before Friday has even arrived. Can’t decide whether to participate this year? To help out, we’ve compiled a list of pros and cons. Take a look, and then you decide if you’ll participate this year.
Virtually all retailers will be offering discounts on consumer goods on Black Friday and consumer electronics on Cyber Monday. The best deals won’t stick around for too long, so it’s a good idea to pay attention to your favourite store’s website.
Pro #2: Great Deals
Perhaps this is the most obvious benefit. There are some great deals to be had on Black Friday. Prices can be among or even the lowest they’ve been all year on some great gift items. Many people do their research well ahead of time to find out which store they’ll be visiting to get their top Black Friday pick of the season.
Online Black Friday deals mean you can compare prices in real-time against other offers. Create a list of desired items ahead of time to help you navigate the sea of sales and start planning ahead by browsing the best deals broken down by category here.
Pro #4: You Know What You’re Getting
Unlike shopping on Cyber Monday, Black Friday shopping means you get to see, touch, feel, and walk away with your purchases that day rather than waiting for them to show up in the mail later.
Pro #5: It Can Be a Friends and Family Affair
Some people look forward to Black Friday every year as a way to spend time with their close friends and family while shopping for holiday gifts. Some team up to make sure they get all the items on their lists.
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Pro #6: It’s Entertaining
For those who take it seriously, it can provide hours of diversion and entertainment. Some people consider it a hobby of sorts. They scout out ads online, plan shopping lists and routes, and prepare for Black Friday as if it were a marathon, complete with extra rest and fluids before the big event.
Pro #7: It Provides Jobs to Retail Employees
While some people are bothered about the fact that retail employees often end up working on Thanksgiving to prepare for Black Friday, it does provide a job and an income to many retail employees who need to provide for themselves and their families. Most employers are required to pay employees extra for working on the holiday and on Black Friday.
Previous Black Fridays meant you could touch and feel the merchandise before purchase. However, this year, the surge in online deals suggests buyers will not be able to physically check the product’s quality as much as before and returning defective or unwanted purchases could be an arduous task. Therefore, it will be even more important to plan ahead and make the right purchase on the first round.
Con #2: It Detracts from Thanksgiving
One of the main arguments against Black Friday is that it flies in the face of the meaning behind Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for everything in our lives. Then, just a few short hours later begins the biggest consumerism-focused day of the year.
As with any super sale, it is easy to deviate from the shopping list and overspend on non-essential purchases. This year’s increased focus on online deals means the risk is even higher. Before clicking on “buy”, review your online shopping cart against your original shopping list, and for each additional item ask yourself: “do I really need this?” Remember, just because it is on sale, it doesn’t mean you need it.
Con #4: Some Deals Aren’t Really Deals
While there are some great deals to be had on Black Friday, not all items are at their lowest price. For example, some items might reduce their price even more as Christmas approaches. Then there’s also the issue of quality. Some items are cheaper than what you’ll see the rest of the year, but they could also be lower quality versions of the products that the companies usually produce. They may be cutting production costs in order to offer these products at such low prices on Black Friday.
Con #5: It Can Lead to Overspending
The sense of urgency and immediacy created by the fact that these “deals” will only be available on Black Friday can lead to overspending. This can encourage people to spend money now rather than sticking to their plan. To cut down on overspending, go into Black Friday with a set budget and plan, and consider bringing cash for the items you want to buy. If you are not disciplined with your credit, think very carefully about whether shopping with a credit card on Black Friday is the best approach for you.
Con #6: Lines and Crowds
One of the things people dislike the most about Black Friday is the huge crowds of people all vying for the same items. Some people wait outside in the cold just to save a few dollars.
Con #7: A Trend of Violence
The biggest con of all may be the increasing trend of violence during Black Friday events in recent years. Nearly every year, there is a news report regarding a controlled environment turned chaotic by overzealous shoppers. Regardless of the savings, there is never a “deal” worth disrespecting or hurting others. This is a startling development. Be safe out there, and always prioritize your safety and the safety of others over the items in your shopping cart.
Whatever you decide to do on Black Friday, be sure to put your financial and overall well-being first, and best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving.
Black Friday Pros:
- Great deals, many of them almost irresistible. Some companies launch massive clearance offers.
- Opportunity to do Christmas shopping. You can buy gifts for all your family at cheap prices.
- Many shops during Black Friday are opened during extended hours.
- It helps to stimulate the economy. Moreover shops can get rid of excess stock.
- Fun. Finding and fighting for super discounted items is thrilling. Many have an adrenaline rush while running to get their favorite products at the cheapest possible prices.
- Black Friday shopping is becoming a family tradition and a way to spend some time with your love ones…while you try to find hot deals.
Black Friday Cons:
- People end up buying things they don’t need and wouldn’t have bought otherwise.
- Some shops keep prices artificially high before Black Friday to be able to announce a larger discount. Analysts have detected even increase in price in the weeks before Black Friday.
- It is not so good for small shops which cannot always compete with the large discounts offered by big retailers.
- Black Friday can be very annoying and a waste of time. There are long queues to try on clothes, ask sellers questions and even pay. Traffic jams are also becoming a tradition.
- Black Friday can be dangerous. People sometimes become very aggressive when trying to get the best deal. Every year there are accidents, injuries and fights in stores.
- Black Friday can be perceived as a representation of our economic and cultural regression. Many argue that this is a nonesense expression of consumerism and that it is overshadowing more emblematic traditions such as Thanksgiving.