Friday, November 25, 2016

Our New American Holiday

When did "black Friday" become a national holiday?  When did it go from a semi-official start of the Serious Christmas Shopping Season and turn into a Competitive Shopping Event? 

Black Friday was supposed to be called that because it was the day where businesses turned their annual ledgers from red ink to black ink, but in the last few years, and especially this year, it seems to have morphed into something else.  I think I started getting email ads touting black Friday back in July.  Amazon did some sort of promotion like that, for sure.  (Prime Days?)  The term Black Friday started getting saturated toward the end of last month and since the start of November, just about every ad has been headlined that way.  It has been reported for years that the big deals aren't necessarily really deals at all, or that some companies raise their prices in the weeks (months?) before the day so that what would have been a normal, small discount from MSRP suddenly seems like a deal.  It's being reported that more and more people are carrying their smartphone into the stores to price check things, check for price and availability at other stores, or get coupons. 

But shoppers like to think they're getting big deals, and there are stores that put one or two items on a massive discount to get some people to line up the night before.  Maybe they can get some buzz on the news.  Of course, now that stores are opening on Thanksgiving itself, that loses some drawing power.  Still, every year there's some incident where people get violent over something stupid.

It always pays to know what going prices are.  I've heard that generally speaking, the best time for deals is closer to Christmas, especially right before Christmas.  You're betting that the stores will be stuck with some of an item you want and would rather discount it than not sell it.  If they sell out you lose.  If they don't sell out and don't cut the price you lose.  It has worked out for me in the past. 

Retail is rough.  Do you ever find yourself looking at the milk or eggs or something and reaching for the back to see if you can find one with an expiration date that's farther out?  What if stores could, in real time, lower the prices on the ones with the closer expiration date?  Would you buy it despite the closer expiration date if it was cheaper?  What if they could adjust prices on the fly based on demand?  Nobody's buying the chicken pieces with tomorrow as the expiration date, so drop the price in half?  Conversely, more people are buying the Kerry Gold butter than expected, so raise the price a little?   That's risky behavior for stores, and (AFAIK) they're simply not set up to do such things, but it seems like a possible future direction.

As for me, I've never gotten up early to go do a black Friday shopping expedition, and it's doubtful I ever will. 


  1. Wife and I went grocery and odds and ends shopping on Wednesday just to be able to escape the chaos on Friday. I don't even internet shop...good day to watch Netflix. indyjonesouthere

  2. Merchants use Black Friday to screw their customers.

    I went to Best Buy on October 25, and bought four Sonos Play:1 speakers at $199 each. Today, I noticed that Amazon had the same speakers for $149. No sweat, Best Buy has a price match guarantee, where if you find a better deal, they will refund the difference.

    When we got to the store, they told us that the guarantee does not apply from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to the Monday after, because they won't price match a Black Friday deal.

    1. That's a horrible story! Makes me want to stop shopping at BB, but they'd never know. I haven't bought anything there in about three years.

  3. I got a small taste of it. Horror Freight finally had a deal I couldn't pass up.
    I have been watching their small one ton fold up engine hoist go up and down all year.
    Best I had seen was $129, they "retail" it at $269 though you will never pay that much. It was on for $99.
    It's only ten minutes from here so I took a chance. It was fairly busy but not complete mayhem.
    I had to go hunt someone down to fetch it from the back room then the obviously new clerk lady tried to charge me full boat on it. Uh, no. How about $99 just like this here ad says?
    Damn phones come in handy once in a while after all.
    They are being quite optimistic if they think this thing will pick up one ton and roll around but it will work for what I need it for.
    Took all the wheels apart and Never Seized the snot out of them and put the thing together.
    You couldn't buy the materials to build one for what I paid for the thing.

    Now it's all Christmas All The Time and those annoying damned Christmas tunes everywhere you turn.
    I absolutely hate Christmas anymore, especially when the season starts in friggin' August.

  4. I planned a relaxing day doing chores around the home. The plan changed when my wife decided we needed more red oak to keep making progress on a home job, and we also needed a router bit, again to keep the project moving along.
    Surprisingly, it was not so bad, although my belief that we needed the Harbor Freight engine hoist, (on sale for $99.00) was exactly cancelled by my wife's belief that we did not need the engine hoist.
    And my standard and truthful ploy, "It is on sale," failed this time.

    We did put our artificial tree up, and unlike last year we installed the five sections in the correct order.

  5. Me Too. But... as luck would have it I needed an oil change and had my $10 off coupon and lo and behold Oil Change Henry's had a black Friday 50% off deal. Whoop! Whoop! Of course I had to wait in line but no worries, it was worth it.

    I will confess though that Bi-Mart had the zero gravity chairs we were wanting for $25 so we did brave the crowds to buy those. We camp/trailer a lot and the upright chairs just don't lend themselves to relaxing in the shade or around the fire.

    I'm actually OK with black Friday. Let the businesses do what they gotta do to make a profit, let those bargain hunters get their bargains and let the crazy suckers fight in the aisles and make funny youtube videos for us sane people to watch.

    1. There ya go - worked out well for you.

      I'm OK with Black Friday, too. "Caveat emptor": let the buyer beware. If folks are happy with their deal, then it's a deal, whether or not it really is "the best price of the year".

      You knew that the chairs were worth dealing with the crowds for, and took advantage of a half price deal for the oil change. Sounds like a good day.

  6. Bi Mart eh?
    Yer in my corner of the world somewhere.

    1. Right on I-5 in Oregon. Enjoying the rain, day after day of rain, flooding and did I mention the rain. Two days ago we were getting an inch an hour of rain. Oregon sunshine. Too bad it hasn't really gotten cold enough to make it feet of snow in the passes. A little snow up there and certainly snow in the mountains and higher elevations. I love the snow. When I lived in Central Oregon I had to shovel my roof every now and then. Six feet of snow is a lot of snow sitting over your head. It took me and my wife three days to shovel it off. Actually kind of fun I have always enjoyed shoveling snow.

    2. I no longer live in Oregon, but I've gotten some incredible deals at Bi-Mart on guns and ammo. Two Henry lever action .22 LR rifles for $150 each the last time I shopped there (a couple of years back while visiting friends), and I still have about 16,000 rounds of .22 LR I bought there years ago when you could get a brick for six or seven dollars on sale, along with two Ruger 10/22 rifles for $125 each. Several thousand rounds of 5.56x45 Winchester White Box when it was $3.50 a box, and many boxes of Winchester WB .45 ACP ball ammo at $9.50 per box of 50.

      I really miss Bi-Mart.