Financial Advice

Be a Wise Consumer


Five Reasons for and against Shopping on Black Friday


It seems that when it comes to this consumer-focused “holiday,” people either love it or hate it. Each year in the United States, Black Friday falls the day after Thanksgiving, and as it continues to grow in popularity, it also grows in duration. Instead of stores simply opening their doors an hour or two earlier, many remain open all day Thanksgiving Day or into the evening to start rolling out deals before Friday has even arrived. Can’t decide whether to participate this year? To help out, we’ve compiled a list of pros and cons. Take a look, and then you decide if you’ll participate this year.

Pro #1: Great Deals
Perhaps this is the most obvious benefit. There are some great deals to be had on Black Friday. Prices can be among or even the lowest they’ve been all year on some great 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 season.

Pro #2: You Know What You’re Getting
Unlike shopping on Cyber Monday, Black Friday shopping means you get to see, touch, feel, and walk away with your purchases that day rather than waiting for them to show up in the mail later.

Pro #3: It Can Be a Friends and Family Affair
Some people look forward to Black Friday every year as a way to spend time with their close friends and family while shopping for holiday gifts. Some team up to make sure they get all the items on their lists.

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Pro #4: It’s Entertaining
For those who take it seriously, it can provide hours of diversion and entertainment. Some people consider it a hobby of sorts. They scout out ads online, plan shopping lists and routes, and prepare for Black Friday as if it were a marathon, complete with extra rest and fluids before the big event.

Pro #5: It Provides Jobs to Retail Employees
While some people are bothered about 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 are required to pay employees extra for working on the holiday and on Black Friday.

Con #1: It Detracts from Thanksgiving
One of the main arguments against Black Friday is that it flies in the face of the meaning behind Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for everything in our lives. Then, just a few short hours later begins the biggest consumerism-focused day of the year.

Con #2: Some Deals Aren’t Really Deals
While there are some great deals to be had 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 Can Lead to Overspending
The sense of urgency and immediacy created by the fact that these “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 plan. To cut down on overspending, go into Black Friday with a set budget and plan, and consider bringing cash for the items you want to buy. If you are not disciplined with your credit, think very carefully about whether shopping with a credit card on Black Friday is the best approach for you.

Con #4: Lines and Crowds
One of the things people dislike the most about Black Friday is the huge crowds of people all vying for the same items. Some people wait outside in the cold just to save a few dollars.

Con #5: A Trend of Violence
The biggest con of all may be the increasing trend of violence 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 or hurting others. This is a startling development. Be safe out there, and always prioritize your safety and the safety of others over the items in your shopping cart.

Whatever you decide to do on Black Friday, be sure to put your financial and overall well-being first, and best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving.