As a consumer reporter, I’ve written and edited more stories about Black Friday in the past few weeks than I’d like to think about. The shopping holiday is huge for retailers, and there are deals to be had for consumers who put in some advance planning and are ready to do battle for the best price. I won’t be one of them, and here are 6 reasons why.
1. I’m (mostly) done with my holiday shopping already. Granted I have an unfair advantage on this one: I’m Jewish and given that Hanukkah starts tonight, I don’t have the option of waiting until this weekend to pick up gifts for my son and husband. Even so, I’ll only see a few members of my family this weekend, and I have a number of Christian friends with whom I exchange gifts later in the month. I had planned on making some last-minute purchases in the next few weeks, but then I saw how many retailers were offering “Black Friday” discounts as early as last weekend. I took the bait, and gladly crossed all but a few remaining items off my list.
2. Thanksgiving weekend is family time. I’m a working mom, so the amount of quality time—as in hours not spent frantically cooking, cleaning or running errands—I get to spend with my son is severely limited. Plus, my immediate family and I will be at my parents’ house this weekend, where we never spend more than two days at a time. The idea of four, uninterrupted days of eating, laughing and lounging with my family sounds like heaven to me. And my idea of heaven doesn’t include waiting in line.
3. Crowds and traffic are two of my least favorite things. While I make it a point not to visit malls on Black Friday, I’ve made the mistake of driving past them. That experience alone has spiked my blood pressure enough that actually turning into the parking lot and trying to find a spot might have dire consequences for my health.
I work in New York City, so I’m no stranger to crowds. But I also do everything I can to steer clear of the masses—I avoid Times Square at all costs and will walk a mile before squeezing onto a crowded subway car. Plus, Black Friday crowds are dangerous--we’ve all become too familiar with the stories of people being trampled to death at a store and fist fights breaking out over video games. Thanks, but I’ll pass.
4. Shoppers like me don’t get the best deals. I’ve already outlined my aversion to crowds and lines, so you can bet you won’t find me camped out in front of Best Buy ready to score the door buster deals reserved for the first few people into the store. And, I’m not buying any computers or kitchenware, which are among the best items to buy on Black Friday.
In fact, the things on the top of my list—toys, hats and gloves, and jewelry (Who says you can’t buy yourself a holiday present?) all made our list of the worst things to buy on Black Friday.
5. I want to send retailers a message. One of the things I’m really thankful for is that I don’t have to work on Thanksgiving Day. I realize that there are some essential careers that require people to be available to work all 365 days per year—police, ER doctors, air traffic controllers. I don’t think retail sales associate should fall into that category, but more and more big box stores are opening their doors before the turkey is even on the table.
As easy as it is to blame the retailers for this trend, I don’t think it’s their fault. I blame the shoppers lining up like lemmings for the deals. Retailers are facing a an uphill battle for holiday sales this year, and they’ve got to do everything they can to squeeze more dollars out of the season. If no one showed up at stores tomorrow, there wouldn’t be any sales on Thanksgiving next year.
6. Two words: Internet. Shopping. As any of my friends (or the UPS delivery man with whom I’m on a first-name basis) will tell you, I do the bulk of my everyday shopping online. With price matching, free and fast shipping, and convenient returns on most items, holiday purchases aren’t any different. So when I do finally find those last few items on my list, it’ll be from the crowd-free comfort of my home.
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