Op-Ed: Black Friday & Holiday Shopping Events are Overrated
Black Friday is the quintessential shopping event of the holiday season. Long lines, ridiculous opening hours and mobs of aggressive shoppers who haven’t had their morning cups of coffee are all common to this major shopping event.
The holidays have become the season for retailers to advertise their “biggest sale ever” and boast about having “the best deals this season.” However, the deals and savings that are promised have not stood up to these claims in the past few years, proving that Black Friday and other holiday shopping events are full of more gimmicks than savings.
Although retailers have long advertised “door buster deals”, and customers are expected to literally almost bust down store doors during the early hours of the morning, these discounts are often offered on the retailer’s websites. This means that online shoppers can accomplish just as much as a person who has lined up in front of a store for a few hours in the cold, only to have to fight off dozens of other potential buyers for a chance to nab one of those highly discounted items. You could be in the comfort of your home and still get the items that people are fighting for in stores by clicking through a couple of pages on your computer. The online alternative to hectic shopping days holds even more benefits than comfort and convenience.
Some online retailers offer additional coupon codes that can be applied for discounts. During the holiday season, retailers send out emails to subscribers notifying them of coupon codes for free shipping or a percentage discounts that shoppers simply type in as they checkout. This completely invalidates any claims that shopping online during the holiday season would be less effective than going to a shopping center during a busy sale day.
Another trend that many retailers are following is extending the “Black Friday” discounts extend past this specified day. The deals that were previously exclusive to the Friday following Thanksgiving day, often last until the Saturday afterwards. In some cases, retailers offer these deals even earlier on the afternoon of Thanksgiving Day to take advantage of potential customers. Since these deals are no longer limited to one day, there is no reason to glorify this shopping event or any other shopping events of the holiday season. These deals are nothing special and there are stores that offer even better deals on other occasions.
So why do people choose to participate in this designated day for consumer pandemonium year after year? Besides the fact that being a part of the chaos could be entertaining within itself, there is no reason to abandon family plans or waste time that could be spent with friends to hunt down deals that you could get online or in stores at a later, less chaotic date. Holiday shopping events may have lived up to their reputation for having the best discounts of the entire year in the past, but the lackluster sales of the past few years and the alternatives to purchasing items in stores prove that Black Friday is not worth the headaches and traffic jams that it causes.