Everyone who is shopping this Black Friday is probably already back by now, but I belatedly decided I wanted to weigh in on the topic.
I have a love/hate relationship with Black Friday. On the one hand, I love saving money on something I was going to buy anyway. When the phone that my wife wanted was 50% off last year, we jumped at that.
On the other hand, I hate crowds. A do my grocery shopping at off hours because when the supermarket gets busy, I start to withdraw and get cranky. It’s not a pretty sight.
The result is I’ve gone Black Friday shopping a couple of times in my life, but only if there is a relatively big-ticket item that I already wanted to get and is on a good sale. I’m not going to go to buy some $5 DVDs. But if our old tv had lasted another 6 months, I would have gone out this year. With nothing to buy, I’ve stayed very far away from stores.
Last year, we went to Wal-Mart to get some housewares. I needed an electric griddle and a new casserole dish. Our Freecycled vacuum had also recently lost one of its wheels and was hard to push around. None of these were particularly big-ticket items, but the added up to some decent cost and savings. We actually went on Thanksgiving night after the in-laws went to bed. We got there before the sale started, had to park in the grass, and probably spent about 2 hours to buy 5 items.
From Wal-Mart, we went to Best Buy. Got there before their Thanksgiving night hours actually started and the line actually extended around the building, out to the road, and down to the next cross street. When all was said and done, It was probably a quarter-mile of people. Once inside, we had to buy a total of one thing. My wife’s cell phone contract was up and she was switching carriers to a no-contract plan. I think the price was something like 30% off. By the time we left the store, I was actually ready to cry from claustrophobic stress.
All told, it took us 6 hours to spend about $200.
Before that, the last time I went Black Friday Shopping was probably 2004. Circuit City was still open and we went there at 5am. Actually got there at 3 and got a ticket for whatever item that I had decided was worth the time. From there, I had actually planned on picking up something from the Best Buy across the street. I picked up the item and got into the line that stretched all the way around the store and then started snacking through isles. I gave up on purchasing whatever it was when I saw that I had half an hour to get to work at 7:30. I wasn’t even close to the registers.
This year we didn’t go. We broke down and bought a new tv in May and the rest of our stuff is in relatively good shape. We had talked about a xBox 360, but the best price we saw was $199 and that was a little too steep for us.
We still have Christmas shopping to do, but nothing that stands out as worthy of spending hours crowded by throngs of humanity. There will still be sales through the next month. Our first Christmas, we bought a digital camera. We got it about 2 weeks before the holiday and it was still a good sale.
So do I think Black Friday shopping is worth it? Yes,but only if it’s worth it. I know that logic is somewhat circular. But at the end of the day, nobody is ever going to change anyone’s mind one way or the other about shopping the day after Thanksgiving. It’s something that you have to decide for yourself. And the answer is allowed to change year-to-year.
Did you go Black Friday shopping this year? Have you in the past?