Black Friday is coming. To some it’s a new form of madness. Others find it a total blast. Many can’t wait to be in line at the door of this store or that and for the bargains that await. Others would rather have a root canal.
So is all this — on the weekend this country traditionally offers thanks for blessings — worth it? NerdWallet says yes — and no. But before we get into the pros and cons of Black Friday, click here for a link as to when, or if, a major chain store is playing the Black Friday game.
Some stores — as you know — are actually doing Black Friday deals on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. The link will show you which stores are open and those that are closed on Thanksgiving.
NerdWallet advises knowing as much as possible about where you’re going and why before venturing out on either Thursday or Friday. Do your homework and know what retailers you want to visit, why you want to visit them and when.
These are NerdWallet’s pros:
Giveaways: Sometimes the rewards go to the first 100 people in line, or a store will offer some sort of sweepstakes. It notes some examples like Cabela’s $15,000 in prizes for the first 500 people in line. Victoria’s Secret hands out nice tote bags.
Electronic Deals: Discounts abound for TV, computers, smartphones, etc. Older models are often on sale. NerdWallet says if that’s the case, you may want to compare prices and do price matching.
A Feeling of Satisfaction: A few discounts are nice. Stuff off the shopping list is a good thing for a lot of us. Some people stock up on holiday decorations and things needed around the house that aren’t related to Christmas. And then there are those who just want to get it all over with and use the long weekend to get the holiday shopping job done.
These are NerdWallet’s cons:
Are There Really Bargains: It seems like there are low prices. A NerdWallet and Harris Poll says about 93% of the ads this year are exactly the same as last year. Better deals — also — are found at other times of the year. You might want to rethink and try to find these at other times and maybe even other places.
Sales Limited in Quantity, Time or Both: There are often fine print restrictions like “while supplies last,” or “limited quantity” and the merchant won’t tell you how much of an item is in stock. Sometimes items are only on sale at — let’s say — 50% off from 6am to 7am. But all that’s in the fine print and doesn’t often get read. The NerdWallet suggestion is to read all ads very, very carefully and to contact the merchant to see exactly how many of an item are available.
Crowds: Be careful. Here’s why. Long lines. Mob-sized and aggressive crowds. Some people sacrifice sleep to stand in line and therefore are a bit — to put it nicely — crabby.
Business Insurance’s website has a lot to say about crowds. The throngs of people clogging malls, individual stores, streets and highways is just one of the reasons the publication says we need to do away with the practice.
Business Insurance’s article starts with Black Friday being dangerous and notes dozens of people are injured in crazed crowds. Bruises, sprained ankles, broken bones and concussions follow. Plus, we do remember that people have been killed in stampedes in recent years.
Governments have passed regulations on lines and line control but crowds continue to push and shove. Rage can overtake the calmest of people who will fight tooth-and-nail to get to the nearest bargain first.
And then it notes that rude people aren’t confined to shopping. Streets, roads, highways and parking lots are also packed with impatient people ready to risk your life and theirs to get to that all important bargain.
It also says staying open on Thanksgiving isn’t exactly a happy, thankful thing for employees who have to endure the carnage as well. Retailers understand but don’t really care. The consumer rules.
And then there is impulse buying. Retailers count on that you not only want the bargains they are offering but you’ll pick up things that aren’t on sale, too. The publication also worries about this practice putting people deeper into debt.
The bottom-line with the Business Insurance article? Why are we focused on shopping on Thanksgiving Day and the day after when it’s a day of thanks that leads into a weekend that we should use to look at what we are most thankful for in life?
One of the retailers that will be most visited on Black Friday and that is closed on Thanksgiving Day is Sears. Recently it’s long-time appliance partner Whirlpool said it is splitting the sheets and will no longer be offering its appliances at Sears stores.
The two firms have been doing business for over 100-years so the divorce is disconcerting for some.
Deals might be found on Whirlpool appliances at Sears stores but since the split was announced in late October, those deals may now be gone. Tom Young of the market research company Gap Intelligence said, “Sears is most negatively effected in this. Consumers will have fewer selections at Sears, making it less valuable as an appliance store.”
However, he notes consumers will still have plenty of choices at the retailer and now Amazon is selling Sears own appliance brand — Kenmore — online. Plus, Young said Sears has plenty of other brands for sale. Here’s a breakdown of the percentage of brands sold by Sears:
• Whirlpool — 15%
• Kenmore — 46%
• GE — 11%
• Samsung — 11%
• LG — 8%
• Frigidare — 6%
• Other — 3%
Worried about Whirlpool? Don’t. These are the types of models Whirlpool has for sale at other retailers:
• Home Depot — 158 models
• Best Buy — 133 models
• Lowe’s — 120 models
• Costco — 8 models
The Gap’s Christine Edwards said look for those number to rise since Sears is now out of the picture. “Across all brands, the assortment of appliances consumers see in Sears stores is down by 17 percent over the past 12 months. That’s the exact opposite of what we’re seeing at Best Buy, Home Depot, and Lowe’s, who are expanding the number of different brands and models offered,” she said.
Source links: NerdWallet, RealTime News, Consumer Reports, Business Insurance