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Absurdity of Black Friday: the reasons

Posted by on November 23, 2011

I always get a kick out of Black Friday every year. It’s always that Friday after Thanksgiving where retail stores across the nation give out big deals, rebates, discounts, and/or free stuff in order to start off the official Christmas shopping season. That’s why every Friday after Thanksgiving, you can expect to drive up to any big-chain retailer in the wee hours of the morning and observe 5000+ people waiting outside of a Best Buy’s, Target, Walmart, or whatever big-name chain brand store it happens to be at 2 or 3 am just so they can be the first ones in line to buy that $1500 TV at $700.

If you don’t know what Black Friday is then it’s probably strictly just an American phenomenon. It’s a sale that occurs the day after Thanksgiving, an American holiday in November. It’s definitely not something to be proud to be a part of.

walmart black friday riot over stupid sales of a toaster

Good grief... people fighting over a toaster marked 5% off on a Black Friday at 5 am!

Why do I find this absurd? Here are the reasons:

1) These stores only have about 2 or 3 of these so-called $1500 TVs being sold at $700. Read the fine print of the ads where it might state that quantities may be limited. A lot of times the stores will only have just one in stock at that price. The ad was purposely made to draw in customers who might buy something else that would create profits which is a great marketing strategy. And no, it is not false advertising.

2) Not worth my time on a per-cost basis to be waiting in the cold, dark, and maybe even get some snow and rain. What would be worse is that I may or may not get that certain “item” at a discount. No, instead I value my time utilized elsewhere especially if I don’t get that particular item. Then I would be subjected to possibly buying something else at no discount just to make my time worthwhile since I woke up so early; yet again, another great move by the companies’s marketing heads.

Black Friday crowd/people waiting in line to get into the store

Look at this! Even at 7 am, people are still trying to get into the store on a Black Friday!

3) Stores are on the lookout for making profits; if they know that having some great deals will pour people to come into their shops at light-speed rates, company HQs will market that there will be a big sale and thus people go crazy buying everything on-site. It’s similar to what fish do during a feeding frenzy but in this case it’s a buying frenzy. Even if the products were not on sale, people will still purchase something because of that group-herd mentality for the feeling of “getting something at least” and not go empty-handed.

shoppers people crazy over stuff materialism Black Friday crap

Another group of people jamming the aisles all in the attempt to get "stuff" at 5% off or not on sale at all.

4) Stores are not looking at the customers’s best intentions but rather the profit line since their obligation is to the stockholders – make as much as money as possible. By having customers come in, companies are looking to sell inventories of stuff that they cannot sell which is a drag on their numbers. If customers blindly buy the unpopular, unmovable stocks, the big stores are able to stock new items that will be in big demand and in time for the more important and profitable Christmas sales. By sacrificing a little in the beginning can result in big payoffs later.

5) Lastly, and this one always gets me laughing. Most people that buy stuff on Black Friday, tend to buy these items for themselves and not for their loved ones like family or friends. It truly shows the greediness of the customers who are looking out for themselves, no thanks to the retailers although I must admit that it is an ingenious idea to utilize a herd buyer’s mentality of scarcity. I admit: I would do the same and prey on pitiful desperate shoppers.All the more to be a share owner of these companies for coming up with such great ideas of marketing, clearing inventories, buying more items on a warehouse scale to get a discount, and in the end receiving a profit out of all of it. Such a great system.

target store customers fell during black friday

Do you really want to be a part of this when you fall and get stomped on by other people just to save $5-20 on something?

However, for those who seem disturbed at this, here’s a better alternative:

Utilize online companies by doing your research ahead of time in the comforts of your own home. Often times you can actually get that discounted item because the company will have it in stock somewhere, mainly through their distribution hubs that provide these stores with stuff. Also, it’s much different from when you’re actually in-store when emotion takes over a person with mania so it would be more prudent to get away from such rash-making actions by staying home and scouring the internet for deals on the same day.

Also, don’t get too wrapped up about purchasing something and being first – that’s how ebay auction winners get in trouble when they get all riled up and over-pay for something that they did not really need in the first place (or at that price!). It happens so much that the over-pricing starts adding up to become big dollars and cents.

christmas tree, snowy, navidad arbol con nieve

I know someone who celebrates his Christmas 1 week after the real Christmas in order to save money and pain.

Probably the best thing to do is not get involved at all. I’m met a family that celebrated gift-giving a week after Christmas in order to avoid these crazy Christmas buying sprees and long lines as well as to take advantage of the post-Christmas hangover of both traveling and cheaper sales prices. Shoppers should know that retailers post sales after each event/season in order to clear out inventories of old stuff in preparation for the future such as Valentine’s Day items and Spring Break sales. But if you must get involved, buy something that you really need such as if your laptop broke down, and then get out and buy one to replace it. However, if there’s an online Black Friday sale on a website, that might be the best time to buy without getting something else.

Still, my recommendation is to buy stocks so that way you have a vote and a voice in telling these stores to do a better job in selling more to the customers. That way you’ll at least get a small piece of the profit share just as I stated in my other post.