Black Friday 2021 just passed and on Saturday I began seeing news broadcasts and social media posts that questioned if the "deals" were actually "deals" at all. Here's what you need to know about Black Friday (Spoiler Alert: As of 2018, It's mostly a scam).
As you probably know, I am the owner of BigBrandWholesale.com but I have also owned several retail stores. Here's some photos of our retail stores. With that being said, I have a ton of experience owning and operating both sides of the industry.
Black Friday "deals" are planned in advance. The deals you see on Black Friday typically aren't anything special, meaning you could have bought the same item within the 60 days prior to Black Friday as well as the 60 days after Black Friday for the exact same price (or less!).
I know what you're thinking, "Tori, I saw a giant $800 television advertisement for only $99! That is NOT a common price", to which I reply, "It's also basically a scam". If you read the "fine print" that is usually located somewhere on the same page, in super, super tiny print, and often the print is just a few shades darker than the paper it was printed on (therefore making it very difficult to notice), you will see a disclaimer that will say something like "Total Available, 5". Actually, it looks more like this: *Total Available: 5
This means that the odds of you actually being able to buy it are slim. Even if you get to the store at 2am and stand in line for hours, then run to the television section, you will still have to battle the people who are all running to grab the same television. So, unless you are prepared for physical confrontation over a deal on an electronic you are probably SOL. Why do they only have 5 available? Because they just want to get you in the store. The store doesn't care that you and the other 300 people who stood in line overnight are not going to get what you came for because you'll buy something else while you're there, because there's nothing worse than coming home empty handed after investing so much time into this venture. It's simple human psychology; we are willing to accept a less satisfactory outcome than settle for failure.
Above and beyond the limited stock, the average discount on most retail items on Black Friday is 50% off, or less. You will also notice that a lot of the store isn't on sale at all. But the icing on the cake is that IF the store is offering a coupon, the coupon cannot be applied to sale items, therefore you will have to decide between using the coupon to purchase an item that isn't exactly what you want or getting the 10%-50% off via the "Black Friday Sale" on the item you do really want. Often the coupon creates a better deal than the Black Friday discount. You see, stores know that if a popular item is consistently purchased when coupon codes are offered, all the store has to do is run a slim promotion on the item so they can refuse to accept the coupon on it.
Now it's time for the good news:
There are several ways to get the lowest price on the items on your gift list.
- You can save money on literally EVERYTHING. We have an entire blog category called How to Save Money on Everything and best of all, you DO NOT have to sacrifice anything!
- If you have no time left to buy, use a free Price Comparison site (or app).
- If you have time to shop, if you really, really want super low prices you need to buy around the end of January or Feb. You will see almost every store doing a "Semi Annual Sale" or something of that nature. This is because they want to reduce their inventory so it is less work to count and report. Most stores do these sales twice a year. During these sales they have the goal of getting rid of stuff, so the deals are far superior to any deal in November. The second sale is usually around October. You can usually figure out when the second big inventory dump will be by finding out the date of the first liquidation then adding 6 months.
- Some stores might not call these big sales "Semi Annual Sales", but instead they will load up their clearance section and also offer an additional discount on top of the clearance price. These two savings combined will usually get you at least 75% off the retail price and often 80%-90% off retail. The key is watching carefully. After you learn the stores sales cycle, it never changes.
- Lets say it's Nov and you didn't buy in Feb, wait until closer to Christmas. We know that retail stores prime time to sell is Black Fri - Dec 25th. We know after Dec 25th things calm down. So if you wait until the week before, stores will start rapidly their extra stock to beef up their Q4 (4th quarter) earnings.
- Lastly, the fashion season changes in Jan. Yes, Jan is officially considered "spring" in the fashion world. So all winter will be clearanced, then final clearanced by feb. If you learn the 4 Fashion Seasons you will know why you start seeing spring clothing in stores when there's snow on the ground and why you see Christmas merch in stores before Halloween.
- Once you learn how store cycles work you will never have to spend another Black Friday driving around town to hunt for bargains!
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