Black Friday 2016 is almost upon us and I could not give a shit.
Given that I’m constantly banging on about saving money and getting the best deals you probably expected me to give you top tips for where to shop or a list of the greatest Amazon deals.
Well SORRYNOTSORRY, if that’s what you’re looking for, you’re in the wrong place.
There’s loads of articles out there on just this so a quick Google should be all you need.
In my opinion (which I fully appreciate might not be widely shared) Black Friday is the epitome of all that is wrong with consumerism for these reasons:
- It isn’t the best time to get great deals
- It isn’t just one day
- It promotes impulse buying
- The fights
Before I dig in to those a little more here’s some context:
The way I feel about Black Friday is very similar to the way I feel about seeing Christmas Decorations in the supermarket BEFORE Halloween has even happened or about the fact that for some people the Starbucks red cups and Coca Cola ad are what Christmas is all about.
If by some miracle you don’t already know what Black Friday is, here’s a potted history of Black Friday from BBC News:
According to these Black Friday 2015 stats from the Guardian, Black Friday 2015 saw £1.1Bn of online spending as retailers slashed their prices by as much as 70% in a bid to cash in on the last pay day before Christmas.
So, with price cuts left right and centre, why am I so against Black Friday?
Black Friday isn’t the best time to get great deals
While Black Friday is a good time to get good deals, there are plenty of other times during the year that you will see very similar offers. The only real difference is the number of stores that get on board all at once as opposed to the deals being industry-specific.
Clothing retailers will always offer hefty price cuts near the end of season to make way for a new range and you’ll generally see some tempting deals on gym gear around new year.
Because of the ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ nature of retail I suspect some stores will offer discounts just because they have to and therefore might not be offering the best deals during this time.
Black Friday isn’t just on one day
Remember when Birthdays were one-day events or a stag do lasted a night? I do, and it was lame.
I LOVE stretching out celebrations for as long as possible but I also think there has to be a limit.
Many retailers have extended their Black Friday offers over the preceding week to get as many customers as possible and to make sure their websites don’t crash. This pretty much negates the whole concept of a one day mega sale and highlights how thinly veiled most of these ‘shopper-friendly’ things really are.
Black Friday promotes impulse buying
My advice a few years back to avoid Black Friday impulse spending would have been to avoid social media and stay away from shopping sites for the day.
Now, Black Friday deals are advertised EVERYWHERE by EVERYONE two to three weeks before the actual day (week) of the sales.
It is near on impossible to avoid it and for those easily swayed by ‘last chance’ offers this is a nightmare.
My general approach to big purchases is to know exactly what I need, shop around and then do another quick sense-check to make sure it really is worth the investment.
For me, this means that I only ever buy big-ticket items that I will get lots of use out of. Wasting money feels a lot worse than missing out on a 40% off deal, especially when it’s 40% off something you don’t really need in the first place.
Black Friday fights
I decided to leave this one until last because the fact is there aren’t anywhere near as many fights, deaths etc. on Black Friday as the media might have you believe.
When something makes the headlines it always feels like it’s widespread when in reality the facts say otherwise.
BlackFridayDeathCount.com was created to keep track of all deaths and injuries reported from Black Friday. It looks like the data only goes from 2006 to 2014 but the total death count (worldwide) currently sits at 7 and injuries at 98.
It also includes things like “Teen returning home from Black Friday shopping fell asleep at wheel, killed in wreck” which I don’t think even the most avid of haters could really blame on Black Friday.
So why have I mentioned it at all?
The reason is that despite the numbers being really low it does happen.
Unbelievable people are willing to clamber over each other and start fights just to get a cheap TV and that, even if it happens only once in a year, SUCKS!
Bonus: How to win at Black Friday
This wouldn’t be a Wiser Wealthier blog without a few quick tips so here’s how you can win at Black Friday 2016:
- Use it for Christmas shopping: I’ll be making a list of any Black Friday friendly items that I want to buy people and having a quick check online to see if there’s any deals worth taking advantage of
- Ignore it completely: If you’ve already done your Xmas shopping or you know you’re likely to be suckered in just pay no attention to Black Friday whatsoever. Do something more importantly like food prepping for the following week or checking some of your direct debits to see if you can get any reductions
- Take advantage of increased eBay activity: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! Make the most of the fact that eBay will be crawling with deal hunters during Black Friday week and get listing your old stuff – you could even add a ‘Black Friday discount’ yourself!