Black Friday Blues

Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year in the United States. Like Boxing Day in Canada, it is the one day of the year where every retailer drops their prices, has sales, and there are amazing deals to be had. Is it worth going shopping on Black Friday? Is it worth going to the states to make some purchases? Probably not, and here’s why.

Bad Deal

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Black Friday deals are more of a myth. Sure there will be a limited number of really good prices at select retailers. These will be the type of product that people will line up the night before for, ready to brave the cold without any sleep for a chance to get their hands of a new TV that is discounted 50%. Even if you are willing to spend that much time camping out in front of the store, chances are good someone else will have set up their tent first, and a very limited quantity of merchandise might mean you go home cold, hungry and without your precious cargo. Black Friday is no longer about the great deals – they’re about driving traffic into retail stores and upselling you once you’ve arrived. That’s a bad deal.

Time is Money

I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather sleep in, have a lazy morning, and order a TV online rather than wake up early, wait in the cold, wait in line, wait at the register, and save $10 by picking it up in person. It’s just not worth the effort. Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping days of the year, so even if the store you went to didn’t raise the store prices for Black Friday the cost benefit doesn’t outweigh the time investment. At least, for me it doesn’t. Did you know that most retailers will offer free shipping these days? If you’re going to take advantage of Black Friday sales, it might as well be a big ticket item. Big ticket items often include free shipping, so do your “Black Friday” shopping online, at home, in your PJs, and wait for the delivery to show up.

Duty Will Kill You

If I haven’t dissuaded you from going after Black Friday sales, then you might be thinking to yourself that you might as well go straight to the good deals down in the US, right? Well if you’re not already planning on being there for a few days, look at adding the price of a hotel to your stay. If you are in the states for less than 24 hours, you can’t bring back anything without paying duty. 24-48 hours? A couple hundred dollars. After 48 hours is decent, you can get up to $800 of merchandise duty free, but then you’re spending more than a little while in the US. If you’re already down there, sure, go crazy, but don’t make a trip just for the sale. The additional costs of staying down there will vastly outweigh any costs savings you’ll have shopping on a crazy day.

Of course if you STILL decide to go down to the states, wait in the huge line ups, please put your own personal safety above any shopping deal you may find – too many people are physically injured on this day and it is unfortunate to see. Your health is always your greatest financial asset – protect it over everything else first.

What deals are you searching for this holiday season?

Written by Alan Schram

Alan Schram writes about personal finance and his encounters with it in his everyday life. Alan is recently married and is looking to save money on expenses and reduce his debts.

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