It’s Black Friday this November 26 and you know the deal. It means massive discounts on pretty much everything from groceries and clothes to appliances. The Daily Vox breaks down some of the Black Friday pros and cons.
What and when is Black Friday?
Black Friday is an informal term for the Friday following Thanksgiving in the United States of America. Many stores offer highly promoted sales at discounted prices. The stories also often open very early, sometimes as early as midnight on Thanksgiving.
In more recent years, global retailers have adopted the term and date to market their own discounted prices. Black Friday always falls on the Friday after the annual U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. This holiday is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.
In 2021, Black Friday is November 26. However, some online retailers have already been pushing online deals in the lead up to the shopping event.
What is Cyber Monday?
Cyber Monday is the major online shopping event which follows Black Friday. Often, Cyber Monday deals are a continuation of the prior Black Friday sales.
Where did the term Black Friday come from?
The term Black Friday dates back to 1869 and has nothing to do with Christmas shopping. Two investors, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, drove up the price of gold and caused a market crash in America. The stock market dropped 20% and foreign trade stopped. Farmers suffered a 50% dip in wheat and corn harvest value.
The first mentions of Black Friday as we know it are said to have occurred In the 1950s or 60s. During this time, the Philadelphia police used the term to refer to the day between Thanksgiving and the Army-Navy game. Huge crowds of shoppers and tourists went to the city that Friday. As a result there were major traffic jams and intense crowding of the downtown retail stores.
Is Black Friday worth it? Pros and cons
Pro #1: Great Deals
Perhaps this is the most obvious benefit. There are great deals and opportunities to do Christmas shopping at cheap prices.
Pro #2: Growth in economy
Black Friday helps to stimulate the economy. Shoppers hold the key to ensuring that South Africa ends 2021 on a high note, with a GDP growth rate of more than 5% firmly on the cards. Buying locally will also help boost our economy.
Con #1: It Can Lead to Overspending
People end up buying things they don’t need and wouldn’t have bought otherwise. This can also cause people to be in massive debt which is bad for the individual or the country.
Con #2: Some Deals Aren’t Really Deals
Some retailers keep prices artificially high before Black Friday. This is so that they are able to announce a larger discount. Analysts have detected an even increase in price in the weeks before Black Friday.
South Africa’s biggest online retailer Takealot is pushing a Black Friday countdown sale. They said promoting double-digit percentage discounts on several products.
Takealot says, “in the lead-up to the biggest sale of the year, we’re bringing you four weeks of epic Blue Dot Countdown deals! Don’t miss a day, don’t miss a deal!” However, online stores in South Africa sometimes have been found to post inaccurate recommended retail prices. They also promote minimal discounts as far more significant than they are.
Serval is an online application which keeps a daily history of the Takealot prices. It gives users the option to make better decisions on when the best time is to buy a product. Just paste the product’s Takealot URL, app share link or title!
Thando Ncube, co-founder at Zonotho said: “The best way to not fall prey is to not be swayed by count-down clocks. These can cause you to make decisions without thinking them through. Plan ahead if you intend to buy something and avoid buying on credit, especially if these are wants and not needs. The interest you pay might end up costing more than the savings you get.”
Con #3: Harmful to small businesses
While major retailers can afford to join in on the fun, how realistic is it for small businesses to be participating? Black Friday is not so good for small businesses which cannot always compete with the large discounts offered by big retailers. Small businesses are more likely to face the brunt of offering heavy discounts.
Con #4: Lines and crowds
There are long queues to try on clothes, ask sellers questions and even pay. Traffic jams have also become a tradition on Black Friday. Besides the traffic jams, it’s not a good idea to be filling shopping malls especially with the fourth wave threatening.
Con #5: A Trend of Violence
Black Friday can be dangerous. People sometimes become very aggressive when trying to get the best deal. Every year there are accidents, injuries and fights in stores.
If you decide to participate in Black Friday, consider staying home and scoring deals from the comfort and safety of your computer. If you do have to go out, wear a mask and follow the COVID-19 precautions. Most importantly, give yourself a break if your budget is tight this year.
After all, Black Friday has more cons than pros.