Black Friday Blues


Black Friday Shopping

Black Friday Shopping (Photo credit: Michael Muni)


Are you one of the millions of Americans who stood outside a favorite department or specialty store through the night so you could be there when they opened the doors at the crack of dawn on Black Friday? Were you chomping at the bit to fire up your laptop to take advantage of killer online deals on Cyber Monday?

If you enjoy the craziness of it all, that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re looking for good deals on quality merchandise, though, studies have shown that you may not be getting all that you bargain for when you bargain shop on these popular shopping days.

One study, conducted by Consumer Reports, found that:

  • Black Friday prices are often not the year’s lowest prices. While Black Friday prices are usually down from the price of a given item the week before, they are not always the year’s best prices. If you keep an eye on an item’s price throughout the year, chances are you can pick it up cheaper during the off-peak shopping times.
  • Many of the higher quality items actually had higher prices on Black Friday. Stores typically offer great prices on a few relatively low quality items to lure you in on Black Friday. Then, they pull the bait and switch and actually raise the prices on mid to high grade items of the same type.
  • Cyber Monday is generally better than Black Friday for quality products. The report considered products which Consumer Reports actually recommends. It found that prices on higher quality products are generally better on Cyber Monday and the weeks following than on Black Friday.

Another organization, ECRM Analytics, has studied pricing in considerably more detail and come up with similar findings. Most people who get up early to hit the big Black Friday sales either don’t actually save money, they end up spending more money than they intended to on other items, or they end up saving big on inferior merchandise.

Knowing this, will you still get up early next year for Black Friday? What are some other things you can do to find genuine bargains this year?

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