So now you just have one last thing to do: forget Black Friday. Because, let’s face it, Black Friday sales suck.
Of course, there will always be a few doorbusters that shock the frugal senses into action. But these days, by and large, the “biggest sales of the year” fall flat.
A brief history lesson
During the recession people stopped buying. Well, stopped buying as much — but it was enough to hurt stores’ bottom lines in a big way.
And so came the unholy advent of the pre-Black Friday sales.
That helped perk up sales a little bit. But once Black Friday had come and gone, people weren’t spending the way they used to. You know, when they had money.
So stores had to start offering Black Friday-esque deals throughout the holiday season. November and December began to feel like one long set of crazy deals.
But once we get through that Groundhog Day-version of sales, we’re still not safe. Because then comes January, retailers’ eternal financial problem child.
Even before all the recession, January was always a terrible month for stores. People have opened their credit card bills, been revived and vowed to go back to spending wisely.
Stores’ annual post-Christmas sales had worked in the past. But during the recession, retailers didn’t trust that their normal markdowns would work. They had to make the sales really impressive. So impressive, in fact, that the discounts ended up looking a lot like the pre-holiday ones.
And with people actually buckling down and spending less, stores got desperate.
Low prices stretched later and later into the year. The final nail in the coffin was when some idiot thought up “Black Friday in July.” That little retail faux-liday cemented this idea that we’re entitled to insane savings all year ’round.
As Americans, we’re quite good at being entitled, so we’ve just started withholding spending until we see the sales prices we expect and, in our minds, deserve.
Back to the present(s)
And so we’ve come to an impasse. Stores can’t afford not to offer huge deals throughout the year. But that also means they literally can’t afford to make holiday prices appreciably lower.
On the one hand, it’s disappointing. There used to be a certain, admittedly unhealthy, anticipation during the buildup to Black Friday insanity.
On the other hand, it’s a boon to frugal-minded folks.
No longer do we have to anticipate epic price drops all year. No longer must we wait on purchases. Instead, we can jump on deals throughout the year, secure in the knowledge that, at best, we’d get 25% off instead of 20%.
And hey, that’s not to pooh-pooh extra savings. I love bigger discounts as much as anyone.
But for most items, the price drops aren’t compelling enough to make me wait weeks to buy. Especially if after the waiting comes the wading — through throngs of people or slow-loading/crashing websites. It’s just not worth it.
Of course, some people’s budgets mean they need to wait to be sure they get the absolute best price. I get it, and I wish them the best of luck.
To those people: I’ll light candles for you. Not at church, since I’m not religious. And actually, I don’t think we have any candles here. But metaphorical candles will be lit. I promise.
As for the rest of us… Well, we need to wise up and get shopping!
Do you think there’s much difference between sale prices and Black Friday prices? Are you waiting for the big holiday sales this year?
*Flickr image by John Henderson