I love getting an early glimpse of Black Friday ads. It makes it much, much easier to plan your Friday. It also gives you time to shake a bad case of the wants.
The problem with looking at Black Friday ads on Thanksgiving — besides ignoring friends and family members to pore over the deals — is that it awakens our old nemesis Immediacy.
Immediacy is a dangerous fella. He — or maybe she because, well, immediacy a bitch — makes everything seem more important and necessary than it probably is.
As most frugal people know that initial deep, burning desire for that item will probably cool off (sort of) quickly. With time, our critical thinking skills can out-shout the five year old in our heads who’s screaming, “Want dat!”
Of course, as any frugal/PF blogger will tell you, the best way to combat that annoying psychological tic is to put it down. Walk away. You can always come back for it later, right?
So merchants try to take that argument away. Sales end; coupons expire. Our memory of missing out on a great deal… well that can stay with us for ages.
That’s precisely why Black Friday sales are so dangerous. They’re arguably the best prices you’ll see, and they’re only briefly available.
If you wait for the ads to actually hit your doorstep, you’re looking at no more than 12 hours before the doorbusters start. That’s not much time to digest the prices, compare items and still make smart buying decisions.
Let’s not forget all the unknown factors swirling around in your lil brain too. How many of the items will the store have? How many people will get there before you? Will they all what the item(s) you’re gunning for?
Add to that the fact that you spend most of Thanksgiving hungry (anticipating the turkey) or in a trytophan haze and… even the best of us are going to struggle.
Well, I will anyway.
For example, yesterday I went through the spoiled Walmart ad with pen and paper in hand. Twenty things, easy, made it onto the list.
Half an hour later, I went back over it. Suddenly the list had 8 items. Later that night, I sounded Tim out about a couple of possibilities. He wasn’t all that interested, so now the list is down to 5. Most of those items are for things around the house, like wash cloths and the biannual buying of Rubbermaid containers.
So that process took a total of about 5 hours. That one could probably be accomplished on Thanksgiving itself. But that’s just one store. There’s still Best Buy, JCPenney, Kohl’s and Macy’s to consider. Oh, and maybe GameStop.
Since I have time to consider each, chances are we’ll hit one or maybe two of those. (Macy’s, really, just for the cheap deep fat fryer that Tim’s wanted for years now.)
The point is, I can take each store’s ad and really think about it for a couple of days. I can really evaluate what I want. And, most importantly, what I’ll actually buy.
What are your thoughts about leaked Black Friday ads? Or Black Friday in general?