This year, Black Friday is shaping up to be an even bigger shopping extravaganza than ever before. Macy’s, Target, Best Buy and Kohl’s will be opening at midnight instead of the crack of dawn. Toys “R” Us and Wal-Mart are ignoring the whole “Friday” part altogether and opening their doors at 9pm and 10pm (respectively) on Thanksgiving Day. According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, stores and malls can expect up to 10% more shoppers than last year–that’s up to 152 million shoppers over the course of the weekend. But while retailers and shoppers are upping the ante this year, some people are beginning to wonder whether, in these tough economic times, shopping on Black Friday is such a smart idea in the first place.
WHAT THE EXPERTS ARE SAYING
For financial guru and star of ABC’s Secret Millionaire Dani Johnson, the answer is obvious: Skip it. “If you want to get out of debt, you want make more money, you want live the life you want, then don’t go to Black Friday, it’s real simple,” Johnson said on Capital Insider. “The reason is you’re going to buy far more than you ever need.”
Steve Siebold, author of How Rich People Think, agrees. “Middle Class America is notorious for living beyond [its] means, especially on Black Friday,” Siebold said in a press release, quoted on CBS’ Money Watch. “[People] end up buying more than they would on any other day during the year.”
Both Siebold and Johnson are talking about something we intuitively already know: Waiting in the cold for hours on end, fighting crowds, and worrying that you won’t get the deal of your dreams before the day runs out is probably not a great primer for sound decision-making. And it’s the reason why so many financial advisers say it’s best to skip the big day to avoid making silly, impulse purchases.
THE DEALS AREN’T ACTUALLY THAT GREAT
Another reason to stay home? Apparently, all those too-good-to-be-true, doorbuster deals aren’t really, well, deals at all. In a recent study, Consumer Reports, said that not all Black Friday promotions offered the lowest price, and that many of the products are second-tier to begin with. Apparently stores are banking on the fact that shoppers will get so caught up in the hectic shopping day, that they won’t necessarily do their research and will instead assume that what ever is offered is the best price possible.
But even if you’ve done your research, set the date and started lining up the night before, you still might not get the product you want. Mike Riddle of Black-Friday.net “laughs when asked if he’s standing in lines come November 26,” Yahoo! Shopping reports. Apparently, Riddle (who might need a new job) stood in line all day at Best Buy only to find out, once inside, that the product he was looking for had already sold out. Since then he’s sworn of Black Friday. MSNBC’s Bottom Line reminds us that if you read the fine print, stores only carry a small amount–at the most 15–of the doorbuster deals being advertised and that to nab one you have to be willing to “spend hours in line and [be] very lucky.” Jon Vincent, of the website BlackFriday.Info, added, “If you want to get one of the big doorbuster deals, you need to be there at least seven to 10 hours [before doors open].” For deals at stores like Target, Best Buy and Macy’s, who will open their doors at midnight, that means lining up around 2pm on Thanksgiving Day.
BLACK FRIDAY CAN TURN VIOLENT
Black Friday’s Wikipedia page, just so you know, also has a whole section dedicated to “violence,” because along with impulse-fueled purchases, turns out Black Friday is also a bad time for people to keep their tempers in check. A number of assaults, stabbings, gun threats and stampede-related injuries have occurred on Black Friday, once resulting in the death of a store employee and the miscarriage of a pregnant shopper. Come on guys, no deal is that good.
All that being said, if you take the right precautions, do your research and stick to your budget, Black Friday can be a great time to kick-off your holiday shopping and snag some great deals. And if you come from a family of shopaholics (like I do) it can also be quite the bonding experience. Nothing brings you and your mom together like strategizing how best to nab that must-have item at Target.
So what do you think? Will you shop on Black Friday?