Black Friday and Holiday Shopping Bargains

Black Friday and Holiday Shopping Bargains
  • Opening Intro -

    Black Friday is one of the most hyped marketing events of the year.

    The day used to represent when retailers began to make a profit for the year, with General Ledgers (G/L) going from red (representing a loss) to black (a profit) on that day.


In reality, the day after Thanksgiving no longer has such a meaning, but the “Black Friday” connotation remains.

Black Friday Shopping

Because Black Friday is so hyped consumers can lose focus on what is really being offered and the deals out there. Know that most retailers open early on Black Friday with quite a few getting starting on Thanksgiving evening and staying open through the night. Still, there are a few things to keep in mind when you shop for Christmas season specials this year.

1. Not all specials are great deals. Retailers play a game with consumers and consumers willingly go along. That game involves marking up prices and then slashing them to create what appears to be a big sale. But you should know that the mark up on most goods is a huge one, often 100 percent to as much as 400 percent or more than what the retailer paid for that item. For instance, that $59 pair of jeans marked down to $35 may seem like a big deal, but the retailer only paid $15 for them. Yes, you are saving money, but the retailer is making money and has room to drop prices further. And sometimes they will too, especially as Christmas draws closer.

2. Inventories on special items are often limited. Retailers will sometimes sell an item for a loss, simply to attract you to the store. So-called “loss leaders” aren’t always that, however, as manufacturers will sometimes provide behind the scenes incentives for retailers to sell their goods at below cost. Often, the loss leaders are in limited supply and may range from 20 to 100 items per store. When they’re gone, they’re gone and your chances of obtaining a bargain are gone with it.

3. Rain checks are elusive. Rain checks represent a store’s promise to honor the price of an item when that item sells out. Retailers do not have to offer them, but when they do rain checks can ensure that you’ll get the lower price when inventories are replenished. Unfortunately, when it comes to Black Friday sales, stores will often note that rain checks are not offered. Or, if they are offered, chances are inventories will take weeks to be replenished, which means that this year’s top selling toy may not be restocked until January.

4. Wait until Monday. Who wants to deal with crowds at the store? Perhaps you do. Then again, if you prefer to stay in your jammies in the comfort of your own home, then shopping online may be the way to go. Following Black Friday we have Cyber Monday, the online version of Black Friday deals. Tens of thousands of merchants participate with many offering their best deals of the season. Moreover, you can usually get free shipping and in some cases avoid paying sales tax. Some retailers begin their special savings on Thanksgiving and keep them in place through Monday.

Black Friday Deals

So, should you avoid the stores on Black Friday? Only if you want to. You should also know that some stores offer specials for only part of the day, for as little as three or four hours before prices go up. They will then offer new specials for a few more hours, pull those specials, and then start over again. Be careful here — you may find yourself spending more time in the mall then you had initially planned and spending more money than your budget allows. If so, then your Black Friday can turn especially bleak as the bills begin to mount in Jan.

See AlsoForget Black Friday. Sleep In.


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Categories: Consumer Tips

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".