Retailers manipulate us and that’s just something that we’ve grown accustomed to. From the primary staples being located in strategic isles in the grocery store to force you to walk past tempting deals all the way to manufactured sales pricing where items perpetually stay at some percent off to give the expectation of a “deal.” Black Friday is no different and it’s a song and dance that retailers use to get us to buy things that we shouldn’t.
Here’s an example. I use a projector in my bedroom to watch television because I love the aesthetic. I use a rather low quality projector to add in some “fuzziness” to movies and video and makes it more “old school.” I have a 4K OLED TV in my living room and switching between it and the projector makes me appreciate the TV more and watching kung-fu movies at 720p is just really fantastic for me. In a flyer for a big box retailer I noticed something very cool, a $99 Roku projector.
I went to the website and found out that the projector was $109 normally, so we’re talking $10 off here. Not only that, but it has about the same specs as the one I’m using now, so really I’m not going to get much of anything and I don’t need it. Initially I was like oh wow that seems like such a good deal, in reality it isn’t.
The best Black Friday deals are the ones on things that you would buy anyway. For instance, if you’re going to buy XYZ game and it’s on sale, congratulations, you have saved money. If you weren’t going to buy it, but now are going to buy it due to some kind of advertising / sale, then you’ve basically spent money you could have saved.
When you’re considering what to buy this year for Black Friday, think more along the lines of what would you purchase anyway. What gifts were you wanting to give, what products do you need that you were going to buy even if the sale wasn’t going to occur. If you need a new monitor it’s a great time to buy a monitor, but all 365 days of the year is also a great time to buy monitors because sales are perpetual. Don’t forget the cycle, where Black Friday is used to clear old stock before new items are released. That old stock will still see deep discounts long after Black Friday.
Remember buying new isn’t always an option. The holiday return season fills a lot of “open box” retailers full of open box deals, like Best Buy and Amazon. If you’re looking for a deeply discounted item that isn’t on sale for Black Friday, you can just wait and see if someone returns one that’s very gently used. My current monitor is an open box that I got for less than what its’ going to retail for during Black Friday, for instance.
In summary, shop smart and with intention. Don’t just buy because it feels like a good idea to. Buy because you want to.