How stores can be sneaky on Black Friday


As the chaos of Thanksgiving evening comes to an end, you rush to put your leftovers in the fridge just before heading off to bed. You need to get just enough sleep for your busy day ahead!

Your alarm goes off at 4 a.m. and the smell of fresh coffee encourages you to rush downstairs and out the door. You pull up to your first store and there’s the line, extending out to the parking lot.

But it doesn’t matter! Because you’ve researched all the items you want in advance and you know exactly what you’re after. The doors open and you rush through the mob to grab the first item on your list. A feeling of accomplishment overwhelms you.

If this sounds like a Black Friday you’ve been a part of in the past, this year may be a little different. Online retailers like Amazon are changing the way Black Friday is done, and many of you are now passing on this highly-advertised day of shopping. The excitement of this “holiday” is slowly losing its spark as some of you are no longer interested in the deals and discounts.

But if you’re still one of the Black Friday faithful, here are a few things you need to know prior to spending your money next week.

Be careful of price matching

During most times of the year, many retailers will match a competitor’s price. But if you’re planning on using this tactic for shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you may not get what you were expecting. Many retailers exclude price matching between Black Friday and Cyber Monday since both are special shopping days.

When a store doesn’t price match, it becomes your responsibility to compare prices. So, if you’re looking for a specific item, make sure to do the appropriate research. Consider apps like “Red Laser” or “Shop Savvy” – they turn your smartphone into a barcode scanner, allowing you to compare prices at different websites and stores.

Be sure to read the fine print

There’s nothing worse than getting your heart set on a purchase to later find out it isn’t available at the advertised price. Some Black Friday sale items are only on sale for a limited amount of time. If you don’t act fast you could miss the item you want.

Read the fine print to make sure you don’t miss out on the sale you’re hoping for. There could be other regulations and restrictions, so educate yourself in advance.

Be aware of inflated discounts

Retailers will fluctuate both sale prices and comparable (“comp”) prices to make a sale look more appealing, and they may change the sale price during multiple seasons or years.

For example, maybe a retailer sold an espresso machine on Black Friday last year for $199, when the comp price was $250. In this case, you think you’re “saving” $51. But this year, the retailer could sell the same machine for $99 with a comp price of $300, a “savings” of $201. This fluctuation confuses you by making the deal seem better than it really is.

The best way to avoid price inflation is to look at the final price of the item. Don’t be blinded by percentage discounts.

The Simply Money Point

Before heading out on Black Friday research any sale items you’re on the lookout for. Also, establish a budget so you don’t overspend your holiday fund. Try apps like “Santa’s Bag” or “GiftPlanner” to help stick to your spending goals. And always keep in mind, there may be better deals on other shopping days.

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