Black Friday is soon to be upon us ,dear friends; it's the time of year when we all give in to our consumerist tendencies the most. We buy things that we probably wouldn't any other time of the year, simply because they are on sale for decent prices. The whole thing frankly reminds me of a comedy sketch my dad used to tell me about when I was a kid. It's an old school Monty Python bit where two “elderly ladies” sit on a park bench. One joins her friend with a large item that is of course immediately questioned. She reveals that it's a piston engine, and her friend cannot fathom why she would have bought it. Her reasoning? “It was a bargain!” Black Friday often works the same way. Did I need a new TV? Probably not, but it was on sale!
In case my sarcasm and bitterness wasn't clear enough, I will outright say that I dislike Black Friday. It showcases some of the least admirable qualities of our modern world by putting it on display for the rest of the world to see. We've all seen the Black Friday horror videos of people playing tug of war with TVs. On any other day people would be horrified by this, but it's perfectly acceptable on Black Friday.
To elaborate my position a little bit further, my first job as a teenager was in retail. I worked that job for almost six years and went on to a few more retail positions after that. Throughout my time, I worked on many a Black Friday. Some were spent on the sales floor directing customers to the items they were wanting. Some Black Fridays I was running registers that had lines further than the eye could see behind them. Other holiday seasons I worked in the back room, moving merchandise to where it needed to be. To be fair, my co-workers were shining examples of the possibilities of human beings when they apply themselves. The hours were long, the shifts were often, and the customers were cranky. Yet they still managed to put on a smile and do their best.
With this background in mind, it makes perfect sense that I might be a little salty about Black Friday. It was a time of stress, little sleep, and long days for me most of my life. Couple that with the fact that Black Friday is no longer actually on Friday, but rather on Thanksgiving Thursday, and it makes sense that I would look at the sales day different than others. Don't let all the negativity fool you though; it all means that I see Black Friday for what it truly is. All of the horror stories can come true, but that doesn't mean that there isn't any positivity to it. Some of the sales seen on this day are truly better than what you'd see other times of the year. But most often they're really not.
There might be a TV that you've been eyeing all year or a video game console that has remained just outside of your financial grasp. Sometimes these are truly at their lowest price on Black Friday and well worth the purchase. There are plenty of other things that genuinely are not. This can even go so far as to include some of our favorite games that we think are at astronomically low prices during the event. Just keep in mind that it's not necessarily true. There have been plenty of Black Friday seasons where I've seen “Doorbuster” sale signs and stickers replaced with the exact same price the next week or week after that. Just because it's on sale during Black Friday doesn't mean it won't be that same price before or down the road. There are often times when you can beat the rush (and save your Thanksgiving Day for family) by waiting just a week or two more for the same sale prices.
Another really huge factor to take into account is the advent of Cyber Monday. This is a sale period that often is even better than its predecessor. Especially in the world of video games and online sales. If you're going to buy that brand new PlayStation or Xbox One from Amazon or another online retailer, you're possibly better off waiting until Cyber Monday anyway. Plus, you get to spend Thanksgiving Day with those you love and shop from the comfort of your own home. It'll even ship to you before the December holidays, generally speaking.
What all of this comes down to is this: Black Friday is not to be taken as sales gospel. Do your research on the things you'd like to buy. Keep an eye on the prices leading up to the sales day. And don't be afraid to skip the Black Friday mayhem for a possible better Cyber Monday or regular sale later. More often than not, it's possible to get a similar, or even better deal on days other than Black Friday.