It is almost that time of the year again! Yes, we are about 4 days away from one of the most popular shopping days in America. You probably guessed by now that I am referring to Black Friday. Black Friday is a colloquial term for the Friday following Thanksgiving Day which, since the 1980s, refers to a day that many shoppers spend a lot of money and retail stores go from red to black (profitable) that day.
Interestingly, stores open their doors two or three hours earlier the morning after Thanksgiving to start rolling out discounts and deals to eager Christmas shoppers. Millions of Americans indulge in the hectic and cumbersome shopping day. In fact, many Americans awaken as early as 4 am in the morning so that they can be one of the first people to be let in stores to take advantage of the discounts. Have you ever asked yourself the following questions: “Is the hype real?” “Is it really worth getting up early and standing in line to get in a store that offers extravagant discounts on electronics and household items?” I would like to take sometime in this article to evaluate the pros and cons of Black Friday. Lets start with the Pros.
Pro #1: Good Deals
Perhaps this is the most obvious benefit. There are some great deals to take advantage of on Black Friday. Prices can be among or even the lowest they’ve been all year on some gift items. Many people do their research well ahead of time to find out which store they’ll be visiting to get their top Black Friday pick of the holiday season.
Pro #2: Focused Shopping
Unlike shopping on Cyber Monday, Black Friday shopping means you get to see, touch, feel, and walk away with your purchases that same day rather than waiting for them to show up in the mail several days or a week later.
Pro #3: It Can Be an Adventure with Friends & Family
Some people look forward to Black Friday each year as a way to spend time with their close friends and family while shopping for holiday gifts. Many people think of this time as an adventurous bonding session with their loved ones. There are strengthen in numbers and some economical shoppers believe that teaming up can make sure they get all the items on their Christmas lists.
Pro #4: The Entertainment Factor
For those who take shopping seriously, it can provide hours of diversion and sheer entertainment. Some people consider it more-less a hobby. They scout out ads online, prepare shopping lists and routes, and prepare for Black Friday as if it were a marathon race, complete with extra rest, nutrition, and fluids before the big event.
Pro #5: It Provides Jobs to boost the Economy
While some people are bothered by the fact that retail employees often end up working on Thanksgiving to prepare for Black Friday, it does provide a job and an income to many retail employees who need to provide for themselves and their families. Most employers will have to hire additional retail workers this year as many people will take full advantage this year since last year there were so many Covid restrictions in most U.S. cities.
So I have assessed the Pros associated with Black Friday, I will assess the Cons next.
Con #1: It Detracts from Thanksgiving
One of the most prevalent arguments against Black Friday is that it takes away the true meaning and theme of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Then, just a few short hours later begins the biggest, most colossal consumerism-focused day of the year.
Con #2: Some Deals Aren’t That Good
While there are some good deals being offered on Black Friday, not all items are at their lowest price. For example, some items might reduce their price even more as Christmas approaches. Then there’s also the issue of quality. Some items are cheaper than what you’ll see the rest of the year, but they could also be lower quality versions of the products that the companies usually produce. They may be cutting production costs in order to offer these products at such low prices on Black Friday.
Con #3: It Usually Leads Overspending
The sense of urgency created by the fact that these so-called deals will only be available on Black Friday can lead to overspending. This can encourage people to spend money now rather than sticking to their budget and/or financial diet. To cut down on overspending, go into Black Friday with an E.I. mentality, and consider bringing cash for the items you want to buy. If you are not disciplined with your credit, I strongly advise you NOT to shop with a credit card on Black Friday. In this case, cash will be your best friend. Think about the long-term affects on your finances if you over spend. Be smart; be E.I.
Con #4: Long Lines & Crowds
One of the things people dislike the most about Black Friday is the huge crowds of people all vying for the same things. Some people wait outside in the bitter cold just to save a few dollars.
With the Covid-19 pandemic still very much alive, it is prudent to avoid large crowds associated with Black Friday Shopping.
Con #5: A Trend of Violence
The biggest con of all may be the increasing trend of violent activity during Black Friday events in recent years. Nearly every year, there is a news report regarding a controlled environment turned chaotic by overzealous shoppers. Regardless of the savings, there is never a “deal” worth disrespecting, hurting, or maiming others. Be safe out there, and always prioritize your safety and the safety of others over the items in your shopping cart.
My advice to Black Friday Shoppers is like anything else in left, do in moderation. Take advantage of great deals and have a reasonable spend amount that won’t hurt your finances. Don’t be lured into overspending and putting yourself at risk of a being in a bad financial situation in 2022.
For those not participating in Black Friday shopping, good for you – stay at home and enjoy leftovers or watch some good college football.
Whatever you decide to do on Black Friday, be sure to put your financial and overall well-being first, and best wishes and Happy Thanksgiving!
Jeremy G. Preston, CEO
E.I. Enterprise LLC