Black Friday! True Or A Hoax?

Time To Brand Nigeria
December 1, 2016
Brand Your People For Likeability
December 15, 2016

I love retail therapy! My husband says I am most energetic and animated when we go shopping. He is a typical man who hates shopping and especially hates the idea of following me shopping. I fit the bill of the stereotypical woman who likes to go from one shop to the other checking out bargains and going back to the first shop to eventually buy the item of interest. My reasoning, like all women is that I do not want to be cheated.

So, you can imagine my excitement when I saw the adverts, flyers and billboards screaming at me about the huge sales for Black Friday. Very loud and clear it was! Many retailers promised between 30 percent to 70 percent discounts on goods in their stores. The most striking were the hypermarkets taking vantage positions on the express ways, which must have cost them a bundle going by rates charged by outdoor advertising agencies.

I was hooked and looked forward to the shops opening. I wanted to start my Christmas shopping on time. Early on 25 November, I went into one of the hypermarkets that had promised seventy percent discount and was grossly disappointed. Everything I planned to stock up on was not on sale and this great discount that had been promised was not evident to me. To say I was disappointed was an understatement. I ended up buying a few necessities and leaving, but the shop was full, paying for my items was challenging because of the long queues.

I went home to nurse my disappoint, then heard about somebody who went into this same store 4 days before to buy electronics before the sale started. She was told by the sales men to come in on Friday, because the Black Friday sales would start then. She went into the store again on Thursday and saw the items still priced at Monday’s price and promised the sales men, she would be back the next day to buy the items. Promptly, the next day she go into the store and was shocked to find out the sales price was the previous normal price of the item. She thought, this could not be true, as this was the price she saw before. On enquiry, she was told that new stock came in on Wednesday and they had to reflect the current price in view of dollar rate realities. You cannot begin to imagine how disappointed she must have felt at this occurrence. She felt betrayed and deceived, more because she had seen the price the day before and felt they were lying.

In view of the above, is Black Friday, true or a Hoax? What is the true history of Black Friday and how did it get its name? “Black Friday is the phenomenon that takes place in the US on the day after Thanksgiving Thursday, when millions of consumers who get the day off from work or school crowd the stores for what is traditionally considered the beginning of Christmas shopping season.

It is also said to be the day retailers finally begin to show a profit for the year (in accounting terms, moving from being in the “red” to “in the black”) after operating at an overall loss all year round through to mid- November.” The day also became popular because retailers knew they could draw crowds by discounting prices. Black Friday became the day to shop, even better than last minute Christmas sales and prices are meant to be slashed.”

The operating word in the last sentence is slashed. For the lady with the hope of buying electronics, she did not enjoy a sale in fact the price was jacked up to her disappointment. According to Maurie Backman, Black Friday is one of the worst days to shop. He says, the goal of a typical Black Friday salesman is to attract customers to buy by offering a few product at so-called discounts. Then once those “deals” run out, the retailers still have you in their hooks, because you are already in their stores or their sites, at which point you are more likely to buy something else – even if it is not on sale, which is what happened to me.

He goes on to say, that one thing to keep in mind is that advertised “deals” tend to be very limited in quantity. Even if you are willing to camp out in the parking lot to be one of the first people in line when the door open, you might still lose out on the product you were hoping to buy.

Also, in speaking about deals that were too good to pass up, when I saw the proposed discounts, I developed my long list of choice items to buy only to find out that these items were not on sale. This is because many retailers cannot afford to give such items at great discounts even if they advertise so. I found out that only the second rate items and versions known as “derivatives” were on offer for such discounts.

Forbes magazine asked a pertinent question “is Black Friday the one day that retailers in an act of holiday goodwill, commit financial seppuku for your benefit? Or is it a duplicitous marketing gimmick where, at best, you’ll save a few dollars on a TV brand that did not exist 3 weeks before?” Of course not! Nobody loves you that much.

According to a study conducted by a consumer watch dog. The report found that 49% of 2015 Black Friday deals in the UK were actually cheaper at other points in the year? The report tracked prices for 178 items across multiple major retailers for 3 months before Black Friday 2015 and found that the retailers were purporting to offer huge discounts when in fact the items hadn’t been the higher “was” price before then – prices had been significantly jacked up for Black Friday.

My conclusion is that though some retailers may actually be true to the concept of declaring “real sales” on “Black Friday” not all are keeping faith with this declaration. Black Friday deals and sales in general should always be taken with a pinch of salt unless you trust the retailer and have been convinced over time that it is real to avoid being conned.