Black Friday, Broke Saturday

Is Black Friday a scam?



Customers gather early in the morning in front of the Apple store on Black Friday hoping to get some good deals.

Alice Ji, Staff Writer

Black Friday is one of the busiest days of the year as shopping malls overflow with people as early as 6:00 AM. Customers eagerly rush towards bargains and discounts. As long as there are large, neon “SALE” signs, there’s bound to be people digging through the rows of racks. At the end of the day, loads of shopping bags are brought home as the result of a shopping spree. However, the feeling of saving money isn’t really from saved money. It’s simply the false facade that money has been saved.

The sales on Black Friday are not as much of a bargain as you may think. Many department stores manipulate prices so customers believe they are saving money when in reality, they are buying the product at full price.

One trick stores use is to mark up the prices so that it is twice its actual value. Then on Black Friday, they slap the “50% OFF!” sign on every item so the cost is really the same as it was before. Customers are given fake incentives to buy these products through the illusion that they are saving 50%. With this, Black Friday is actually a bad time to shop because there are no real discounts as everything is full price. It would be more beneficial to visit the store when there are real sales during other times of the year.

Another trick used by marketers is to sell derivatives. Derivatives are inferior versions of popular products specifically manufactured for Black Friday. The cost of production is cheaper which is why retailers are able to sell them for much less. If you spot an amazing deal too good to be true, it’s probably not. Especially when it comes to electronics, pay careful attention to the product you’re buying. With derivatives, the retailer can assign it a random original price and exaggerate the discount. Since derivative models are new, there is no previous price history before Black Friday. There are also no customer reviews available. Therefore, extremely underpriced products with no price history or customer reviews sold on Black Friday are typically derivatives of much lower quality.

Black Friday is essentially a mental game designed by marketers who manipulate prices to influence reactions from customers by appealing to their desire to save money. Even so, not all sales are fake. There truly are some good deals on Black Friday, just be sure to exercise caution while shopping and beware of any extreme markdowns. Black Friday itself should not be a reason to spend more money.

In the end, whether or not you decide to go to the extremes while shopping on Black Friday is up to you, but it would be beneficial to take note of the prices of these items later in the year.