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Is Black Friday Shopping Worth It?

Updated on August 23, 2013

While Black Friday is a day most shoppers look forward to, others stay away from it like the plague.

So the question is: "Is Black Friday shopping really worth it?" Some would agree it isn't worth the stress, the rush to find the item, waiting in long lines, or standing outside in the cold waiting for the stores to open.

In recent years, Black Friday has seen a decline in sales and shoppers. Why? The Internet offers a multitude of savings. While some enjoy shopping online from the comfort of one's home any day of the year; for others, it is the thrill of the hunt. Moreover, there are many people who neither own a computer nor want to, but simply enjoy going to stores seeking bargains.

Which is preferrable - online or in person Black Friday Shopping?

When asking a woman what she would prefer; shopping online or shopping at department stores, she commented, "I love going to stores. I love to see the various selections of clothes and accessories, houseware items and linens. I want to be able to touch everything and look at all the colors and styles."

Although most women may agree, Black Friday is not the day to browse and touch fabrics and visit every department to determine what's new!

Certainly, anyone who goes shopping during the year has a pretty good idea of what each department store has in stock. It's no different on Black Friday, except there are hoards of crowds and a frantic rush to obtain an item that might be on sale for two hours. The pressure is too great.

Tip: Don't Carry Cash

Use your debit card instead. If you don't have debit card go to the stores you plan to shop a week before Black Friday and purchase gift cards to use for your shopping instead. This will help keep you within your budget and is much safer than carrying cash.

Do YOU Shop on Black Friday

See results

Shop in a Group When You Can!

Not only is it more fun, but a group of shoppers can watch out for each other. Make sure your cell phones are charged and turned on. Shopping in a group means someone can hold your place in line, or go get something you forgot while you wait in line. This avoids tussles and arguments among waiting shoppers, keeping everyone safer.

Check ahead of time if you need a specific item that might be on sale at the store but not online.

For example, let’s assume you want to purchase an item from Macys. You check the online price and it is no where near the price advertised in your local newspaper. The reason for this is that this particular department store increases their online prices even though they are marked as sale items.

So too, very few of the items listed in the local newspaper are even advertised on the Macy's website.

How do you circumvent this anomaly? Arrive at the store about an hour prior to opening. When the doors open; head straight to the department where your item is located. Try not to stop and browse. Stay focused, find your item, check out, and leave.

Conversely, if you are shopping well before Black Friday you can ask the department manager if the item in question will be a sale item on Black Friday and ask if they can hold it for you.

Set a budget and stick to it. Once you know which sales you want to go to first and what you want to purchase, decide which things are within your budget. The sales during Black Friday may be great, but you don’t want to be paying for that new TV until next Christmas or longer.

Black Friday Shopping is the Best

What do YOU think?

Quite frankly, online shopping has become so much easier today and it is well worth leaving the stress of store shopping behind.

In fact, in the last few years more gift certificates were sold online than any other item. They are convenient and allow the recipient to buy what they really want for the holidays.

Gift certificates also save time returning items that are either too small or the recipient has already received.

Amazon.com $25 Gift Card in a Greeting Card (Amazon Surprise Box Design)
Amazon.com $25 Gift Card in a Greeting Card (Amazon Surprise Box Design)

You can't go wrong with a classic Amazon gift card, they're great for any occasion... choose from an actual card or the emailed version to save on paper and mailing

 
Amazon.com $50 Gift Card in a Snowflake Tin (Happy Holidays Card Design)
Amazon.com $50 Gift Card in a Snowflake Tin (Happy Holidays Card Design)

If you're giving an actual gift card to someone and you want them to "unwrap" the gift, there's also a nice selection of boxed cards.

 

Advantages to Online Shopping

If you are like most of us who really dislike shopping at the malls or anywhere else for that matter, online shopping can take away all of the stress. Whether shopping for Black Friday or other occasions, there are definite advantages to online shopping.

You can find any product from any store; you can compare prices; find fabulous deals; and have the items shipped to your home within days.

The advantages to online shopping are immeasurable; however, you still have to be careful in certain respects. Make sure the website you are buying from has the Veri Sign logo; is a well known company or if not, you can reach them by phone; ensure they use the lock at the lower right hand corner of their site when ordering; and that you receive an email detailing your purchase and delivery date.

Say goodbye to long lines. Worried about returns? You don’t have to be – the company will send the appropriate labels for returning items. As long as you are careful and know the company you are dealing with, online shopping can be such a wonderful and stress-free way to order just about anything.

While most people love going to stores to shop, there are just as many who find Black Friday too intimidating. Either way, you have options.

Even though Black Friday is the “sale day of the year,” it is not the only day. Sales will be on-going until Christmas Eve.

Black Friday Deal Shopping Tip List

If you insist on going out there into the crazy, please be prepared!

The week of Black Friday, check your local newspapers. They will undoubtedly have pages of ads from department stores delineating upcoming sales. If there are coupons available, clip them out. Read the fine print. Sometimes a sale may be for a few hours on a specific day or one day only.

After your Thanksgiving meal, get a head start by going online to see if websites have the same items available as in the stores. You may even be able to find some sales not available in physical stores. Purchasing sales items from a website will also enable you to get the items you want from the comfort of your own home, without having to drive through traffic or dealing with sales-crazed shoppers.

Ensure you have your complete Christmas list ready. Check online prices so that you can compare the items you have selected. Keep in mind that even though the store might have a variety of sales, it is most likely the case that some items may not be a bargain at all and you may find these items cheaper online.

A week before Black Friday, visit the stores where you will most likely shop. Locate the items you have on your list. In this way, you will not waste any time on Black Friday trying to find the specific department that has your item.

Some stores open at 6am, some at 7am. Plan which stores you will go to first depending upon their opening time. Arrive early and head straight to the department where your item is located. This will save valuable time. Conversely, if morning shopping is inconvenient, most stores stay open as late as midnight. You can easily shop in the late evening as well.

Stay focused on the items on your list. Try not to wander into different sections of a store to browse, because while you are looking at other items the check-out lines are getting longer and longer.

You may have seen the long lines outside a store when a popular item is up for sale. There are some department stores and large chains who will allow you to put an item away until Black Friday. It doesn't hurt to ask. In this way, you can pick up the item anytime on Friday.

If you are purchasing electronics, you may want to visit the store beforehand to ensure it is the item you truly want, sometimes the ads in the paper are on the deceptive side.

Compare prices for products on sale. You may be able to find some unadvertised sales not too far from the boxes of new stereos, televisions or game systems. In fact, after you've found the items you can from your list, you might want to look around to see what other sales are available.

Be sure to take along the sales papers from each store you plan to go to. Some stores will match their competitor's sales prices, but you won't get the price if the store isn't aware of the other store's price. Of course, not all stores will match prices, but it's worth a try.

Protect yourself while you're out and about. Remember to be careful both in the store and in traffic.

Stay Safe!!!! this is most important of all!

Rather than making yourself an easy target for pickpockets or purse snatchers, take only the debit or credit cards you need, some cash and your driver's license. Leave your purse at home and put your cards and cash in front pockets as they're not as easy to pick as back pockets. If you must bring a purse, be sure it's small and can easily be placed over the shoulder and across your body.

Again, take only your driver's license and the debit or credit cards you know you'll use. You may also want to carry cash if you don't use plastic and carry it in a pocket rather than a purse. Cover the panel when inputting your PIN and put the cards away as soon as you're done.

If you plan to use cash for your purchases, get the money from the bank or ATM a day or so before Black Friday. People getting money from an ATM are an easy target for thieves. Thieves know you have money and many have no qualms about hitting or otherwise injuring you to get the cash you've just withdrawn. Use only well-lit machines which can be found inside stores if you have to get cash during the day.

Try to shop at stores with security strong and present. Some stores will hire extra security guards during Black Friday sales to ensure their patrons are safe. If a store doesn't have a security force, they may not be a safe store to shop.

Be sure your cell phone is fully charged before you leave. Place your phone in a front pocket or inside your bra so it's always within reach. - Don't toss it into the bottom of your purse - Don't lose it and be prepared to use it if you need to.

Let your family know where you're going and keep in touch during the day. Write down the stores you'll go to, in which order, and approximate times you'll get to each one. Call them and let them know when you've left one store so they know where you are on your list.

Be Courteous and Mindful

While Black Friday is exciting and it's almost a rush to get a great deal, remember that no deal is worth someone's safety or life. Don't push or get impatient in line; it may start something much bigger than you can't control! If things seem to be heating up - say you are going for an item that another person is grabbing at the same time - then don't be afraid to let it go. It's only a few dollars, and it's not worth a fight or worse.

Pay attention to or ask about a store's return policy on Black Friday sale items. You’ll also want to be sure to get a receipt for every item you buy. You definitely won’t be able to return an item without a receipt.

Remember, Black Friday is supposed to be fun. Shopping for great deals and making a day of it are traditional in some families; it's meant to be enjoyed.

Leave a comment or share a Black Friday Story....

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    • profile image

      poutine 4 years ago

      I did shop ONCE in my lifetime on black friday and it was horrible.

      Never, never again. I prefer online shopping now.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This year, we needed to get a major appliance. After looking at the newspaper ads, I noticed the best deal for what we wanted was at Sears, and they opened at 8PM Thanksgiving Day. However, each store had only 2 of this item. I went online, and sure enough, I was able to get the same item for the same price. Total time: 10 minutes.

      We did go to Walmart, though, trying to get "Brave" on Blu-Ray for under $9... no such luck. As long as we were there, we did pick up some other movies, as well as some non-sale items. It took 1-1/2 hours to get through the check-out..

      Now I can say I've had the Black Friday experience. And I hope I never need to have that experience again! LOL

    • profile image

      yogibollc 5 years ago

      This black Friday weekend you make beautiful your home with bean bag furniture . offer and know more about bean bags visit :

      http://www.yogibo.com/

      http://www.facebook.com/yogibobags

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Black Thursday is a horrible idea. It ruins the purpose of Thanksgiving!

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 5 years ago from Templeton, CA

      Black Friday is a day I prefer to stay home and write or do some other project. I'm sad that shopping is what people seem most concerned with on Thanksgiving weekend, and that some stores are even trying to get people to shop on the very night of Thanksgiving. I'm so glad I got our of retail before they started making sales clerks come in while it's still dark out. What's the point?

    • profile image

      enlargedp 5 years ago

      @blujeanmomma: This is true

    • profile image

      CMSCoventry 5 years ago

      fantastic advice on budgeting and not carrying cash etc - great to read a lens that just doesn't discuss the bargains but also suggests ways to enjoy the day - but keeping in budget and not going crazy in the sales.

    • profile image

      SteveMasuka 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Cool name!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Excellent information here for anyone shopping this whole holiday season, not just on Black Friday. Nicely done!

    • profile image

      Marijoyce 6 years ago

      Black Friday shopping is a tradition for some families and that can be a lot o fun. I don't really go anymore because I'm just amazed, at least in my area, how angry people seem to get at each other now. Over shopping? Just not worth it to me, but it may not be that way in all areas. I thought you had some excellent advice here, though, for those who do like to take advantage of the good deals on Black Friday. Great lens.

    • profile image

      livingfrontiers 6 years ago

      Great ideas! I think it is good to have a plan for sure...

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great lens on this popular day ~ nowadays with so much available online as well as free shipping (in most cases), I think online shopping is the way to go. There are times when going to the store makes sense, but on a crowded shopping day, I'd rather opt for online shopping! Great to see that you managed to get some good deals online! :)

    • retta719 profile image
      Author

      Loretta 6 years ago from United States

      picked up shirts for the kids and jeans for me super cheap at Old Navy online and free shipping ~ yay for getting deals and not leaving the house :)

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 6 years ago from United States

      I just got a great deal on BluRay movies for the kids from Amazon.com and didn't leave the house :-) YAY!

    • profile image

      GabrielaFargasch 6 years ago

      No black Fridays for me!! One less person in front of the store!

    • retta719 profile image
      Author

      Loretta 7 years ago from United States

      @blujeanmomma: I agree completely. The extended black friday deals and early-early-birds have had some great deals both online and offline and you won't lose an arm trying to get one.

    • blujeanmomma profile image

      blujeanmomma 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      I'm glad that many online and offline stores are running sales for several days. There less chance of servers crashing and people getting hurt in the stores.

      Very nice informative lens.

    • retta719 profile image
      Author

      Loretta 7 years ago from United States

      @kimmanleyort: Buy Nothing Day ~ I like the sound of that!

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 7 years ago

      I think that basically you're either a Black Friday regular or you stay away from it like the plague. Black Friday is also Buy Nothing Day, a movement for those who feel that consumerism has gotten out of hand. I like the way you presented this lens, giving the pros and cons, and alternatives.

    • sheilamarie78 profile image

      sheilamarie78 7 years ago

      Good ideas!

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 7 years ago from Scotland

      Great tips, about checking prices online, and having your Christmas list with you!

    • jenms lm profile image

      jenms lm 7 years ago

      Good topic! I like to go around 11:00am or noon on Black Friday to get some of the deals on DVDs that are usually going on, but I usually just get in and out and that time of day it isn't too nuts.

    • ICanCook profile image

      ICanCook 7 years ago

      I'd never leave the house to go to a Black Friday Sale but if I wanted to shop I'd certainly come here.

    • Jhangora LM profile image

      Jhangora LM 7 years ago

      Well I got a domain for Cyber Monday deals but didn't get the time to develop it, focusing on my Christmas Gifts site. I agree that some events are overhyped but I prefer real world shopping to online shopping.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I have never been Black Friday shopping. Would love to go sometime just to take pictures and people watch. - I have a Black Friday Window Shopping lens that does ok all year long, but it does start picking up before BF. Its been been fun to find new items for it and update it. I don't do much shopping in-stores or on-line. Living on my Squidoo keeps me on a budget. :D

    • ImmatureEntrepr profile image

      ImmatureEntrepr 7 years ago

      Great idea for a lens! I'm glad to see I'm not the only one that thinks shopping on this day is nuts. Definitely not for me. Why deal with the stress when you can accomplish the same thing in your pj pants sitting in front of your computer?

    • retta719 profile image
      Author

      Loretta 7 years ago from United States

      @anonymous: Thank you for the kind compliments on the lens. I'm with you all the way and I'll definitely be staying home anxiously waiting to hear from friends and family members that ventured out for the day.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Black Friday isn't worth it, I have never gone shopping on a Black Friday and don't plan on it. I usually do all of my Holiday shopping from Aug. through Oct., this way I am not having to go out and about during the Craziness!! On top of that, I can keep my Sanity and Peace of Mind during the Most Stressful Time of Year! That's my suggestion to anyone who wants to avoid the Holiday Madness/Rush!

      By the way, this is a Great Lens, I enjoyed reading this and if you don't mind I would like to share it with quite a few others!

    • retta719 profile image
      Author

      Loretta 7 years ago from United States

      @anonymous: It totally brings out the crazy in people :-( so sad to fight over something so ridiculous

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Awesome lens! I went shopping once on Black Friday and saw two women actually hitting each other over a sweater! Never again!!

    • SueM11 profile image

      Sue Mah 7 years ago from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

      I had not thought about it until I read your lens. I suppose if someone pointed it out to me then I may just avoid shopping that day.

    • retta719 profile image
      Author

      Loretta 7 years ago from United States

      @tssfacts: Thanks :) I think if people held onto that common sense a little bit more (and remembered their sense of decency) that it wouldn't be a scary day at all.

    • profile image

      tssfacts 7 years ago

      Great article. I like that you included the safety aspect of this day too. Sometimes we get so carried away that we throw out common sense. Great job.

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 7 years ago from United States

      @anonymous: Thanks Mark :)

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 7 years ago from United States

      @dessertlover: Thank you :) I agree on the scary part!

    • profile image

      dessertlover 7 years ago

      Great tips for black Friday! It's a tricky (and sometimes scary) day to be out there with all those anxious crowds! Well done here.

    • retta719 profile image
      Author

      Loretta 7 years ago from United States

      @ShawnsBidness: Good idea!

    • ShawnsBidness profile image

      ShawnsBidness 7 years ago

      I get such great deals on Black Friday that I sometimes buy gifts for the rest of the year, like birthdays.

    • profile image

      blm03 7 years ago

      @Wendy L Henderson: The cops got called and they were arresting people last year while I stood in line at Toys R us. It was scary.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Lensrolled to my lens: Thanksgiving, Prelude to Black Friday. And yes, Black Friday is worth it. The savings on that one day alone doubles my purchasing power.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Lensrolled to my lens: Thanksgiving, Prelude to Black Friday. And yes, Black Friday is worth it. The savings on that one day alone doubles my purchasing power.

    • retta719 profile image
      Author

      Loretta 7 years ago from United States

      @Wendy L Henderson: Oh gosh, I can only imagine the chaos at a Toys R Us - eek! I don't even like to go to 7-11 or the grocery store on Black Friday, crazy people driving big SUVs full of crap they bought = scary LOL

    • Wendy L Henderson profile image

      Wendy Henderson 7 years ago from PA

      I was a Toys R Us manager for years! Let me tell you black Friday is very, very scary! LOL! Awesome Lens.