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The Black Friday Myth

black friday myth

Is it really worth all this?

As someone who loves to sleep and hates crowds, Black Friday sales have never interested me.  But a few years ago, after much arm-twisting by my eldest daughter, I was convinced to give it a try.  She and I got up before the sun on the day after Thanksgiving and hit the mall at 5 o’clock in the morning.   After scoring a sweet parking spot, I thought we were in for a great shopping experience.

I was wrong.  The stores were uncomfortably crowded, the salespeople were rude and the shoppers more so.  The entire experience was stressful and I vowed never to do it again.  I like a good deal as much as the next girl, but I would rather pay a little more and avoid being shoved around by the bargain-hunting masses first thing in the morning.

But according to experts, the assumption that I will pay more for my Christmas gifts if I sleep in on Friday is not necessarily true.  In fact, they call that the Black Friday Myth.

It’s not the that the brick and mortar retail stores aren’t planning some nice discounts for shoppers who make the effort on Black Friday.  A quick look through the Best Buy and WalMart ads indicates that they are.

But these days, retailers are expanding the reach of their holiday sales to entice not just in-person shoppers on Black Friday, but online shoppers as well. Brad Wilson, founder of Bradsdeals and BlackFriday2010, says that about 95% of all the in-store deals are also being offered online.

What’s more, he says the “limited time only” deals that stores use to lure in customers aren’t always all they are cracked up to be.  That great deal that got you out of bed at 4am might actually be sold out by the time you get there.  And even if it isn’t, you probably aren’t saving as much money as you think you are.

And if you are like me and disinclined to even start thinking about holiday shopping on Thanksgiving weekend, all is not lost.  Chances are good that those deals will come around again a few days later on Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year.  And for procrastinators like myself, the deals to be had on the Saturday before Christmas can be hard to beat.

According to the National Retail Federation, about 138 million people will brave the crowds and hit the stores during the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  I will not be one of them but I know plenty of people who will.  For them, Black Friday is about more than great deals.  It’s an annual tradition that they actually enjoy and wouldn’t miss for the world.

What about you?  Does it matter to you that Black Friday is no longer the be-all, end-all when it comes to holiday shopping?  Will you be out there anyway?

Image: larsplougmann/Flickr

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