Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Doing My Black Friday Post Early This Year

Part of the reason for doing it early is that I think I get around 25 emails proclaiming "Black Friday" sales prices every day, and I wouldn't be surprised if 25/day holds all the way back to November 1st.  I swear I've been seeing some kind of reference to Black Friday deals since mid-summer.  

About a week ago, I told Mrs. Graybeard that if I got one more Black Friday sales notice, I might break my computer.  

What they've done, instead of making shoppers (at least, this shopper) think that some special sales are going on, is to convince us that there's no such thing as Black Friday anymore.  As I've said before, when every day is Black Friday, no day can be Black Friday - in the usual sense of a special day that kicks off the Christmas shopping season.  It has just become another way of saying "SALE" in every retail place that pushes it. 

Black Friday was supposedly 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 it seems to have morphed into something else.  It has been reported for years that the big deals aren't necessarily really deals at all (2014 study), 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 (2016) that more and more people are carrying their smartphone into the stores to price check things, compare price and availability at other stores, or get coupons.  I confess: I've done it and not just this time of year. 

Once there started to be a perception that good deals came on Black Friday, it was only a matter of time until it became just another way of saying “BIG SALE!”  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, Friday seems like it loses some drawing power.  Regardless, every year there's some incident where people get violent (2016) 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'll get better prices than this week, but it's a gamble.  You're betting that the stores will be stuck with something you want and would rather discount it than not sell it.  If they sell out first you lose.  If they don't sell out but still won't or can't cut the price, again you lose.  That said, it has worked out for me in the past.  It's sort of like calling a bluff in poker. 

Retail is a rough way to make a living. I'm sure you've heard how airline reservation systems base the seat price on the apparent interest in a flight.  If you go back and check on the price of that seat every week, the system says there must be more demand for that flight and raises the price.  What if stores could measure real time demand and adjust the price.  Say you're looking for a new tool or other gadget; what if they see someone checking the web site regularly and interpret that as several people interested in that item and raised its price?  Would you be upset or offended?  What if they dropped the price to see at what level you can't resist pushing the Glistening, Candy-like, "BUY" button?  I don't have any hard evidence that anyone does that, but it seems trivial for an online store to track interest in something.  Their biggest risk is scaring away or alienating customers.

To me the Golden Rule is the willing seller/willing buyer.  If people are happy with what they paid, regardless of whether or not it really is "the best price of the year," and the seller is happy with the price they got for it, that's definition of a fair price.  I'm sure not gonna poop in someone's corn flakes by telling them they didn't get the best price ever. 



  1. Black Friday! I just watched a youtube video on this up coming Black Friday, the guy was saying that if you wanted that Best Buy Chrome book for the Black Friday price of $79, just hit the link down below, other deals he said were in store only... Things have changed :-)

    If something that cost $500 all year is being sold for $250 the day after Thanksgiving that's a deal. Of course If I did didn't know what it was normally I'd be gambling....

    I can see why things would be a way better price right before Christmas, they didn't sell. The good stuff ran out last week...

    One year we went out at midnight to see it for ourselves, wasn't planning on buying anything just wanted to be a tourist. It was something!
    About 0300 we went to find something to eat, ended up at Jack-In-The-Box, open 24 hours! Sat inside and watched the two guys bust their butts trying to keep the HUGE line of cars moving. They couldn't get anyone to come in and help, they did it all with good humor. It took awhile to get our burgers but it was a good show.

    A few years later I had a temp job at Walmart for the pre-Christmas season, it was fun but nothing I cared to do any more than that. Black Friday by that time was crowded but not crazy.

  2. I've noticed the signs are already up, but the shelves are still bare. And they're not holding out on putting it out until Thanksgiving; they simply don't have it to sell.

  3. There's been a number of stories, over the years, about Amazon's real-time price-setting algorithms. I'm not motivated enough to spend time re-checking the price on an item to investigate that, but I've noticed a few times that I've pulled up an item from my saved list and seen a notice that the price had gone up. The pricing algorithm story has been absent from the news, that I can tell, for a couple years or so. Other related stories used to show up from time to time, mostly about stores using active advertising based on Bluetooth or other phone capabilities; retailers could do the same with prices, but I don't recall reading anything about that.

    I've never done the Black Friday sales. I do watch for other promotional deals, though right now, I'm not spending any money I don't have to. FWIW, HRO's deals seem a bit limited - maybe they'll do more come Friday. If you want an FT-818 or 891, now's the time; an IC-705, not so much.

    1. Over the years I've noticed that the price Amazon gives me can depend on how I search for something or which of the pages in the pull-down search menu returns it. It helps to remember what I paid before, but that just ain't always happening.

      If you think that the price of something has gone up, it's worth looking around with different search options.

  4. I have noted price creep starting in mid summer. Particularly in clothing/shoes. Then in Nov that $70 shirt is on sale for$35... oh boy, such a deal. I'm not buying shit quality off the rack bulk retail plain shirts for $35 either. Flannel thinner than my t-shirt is a hard pass.

  5. I have shirts that have lasted me well over ten years. But the new ones suck. I can't seem to find anything of quality anymore.