How can retailers afford those Black Friday deals? They can’t

30 thoughts on “How can retailers afford those Black Friday deals? They can’t”

  1. Yes, must do research and follow the item for sometime so you know when it’s truly a sale. Should do this, especially for big ticket items.

    We just replaced our 5 year smart-turned-dumb-and-slow phones and we had been following the prices for a couple of years, and finally pulled the trigger when we saw a real sale.

  2. Ah great points here Steve. I actually happened to walk into the mall a couple weeks ago to buy some Christmas presents. While shopping I ran into an unusually honest store employee. Upon remarking that every price I saw was way lower at the register, he explained that this was actually the best day to shop. He told me that prices would be increased from here until Christmas! This included Thanksgiving and Black Friday. He also told me that the store tends to clear items every month or two on a particular Saturday.

    So randomly this employee has corroborated your entire post.

  3. Yep, very true. And of course there’s the other factor – just to get folks in the store. Once they have their little consumer robots inside, they know they won’t be able to resist impulse buys and picking up “a few extra things” that are NOT on sale.

    You’re getting a lot of mileage out of that headline picture. I love it, that one pic speaks volumes!

    1. Yup, those “loss leader” products are huge. You know those already-baked chickens you find in grocery stores that sell for like $5? Those are loss leaders too. They get you in the store with an actual sale, then depend on your temptation to pay full price for another item (or collection of items). Clockwork!

      1. Ohhh this one is my downfall! It’s definitely got me more times than I care to admit. I’m so good about knowing prices and scouring ads to find the “actual deals” but once I’m in the store… any clearance sticker will catch my eye, and oh, I think I’m almost out of peanut butter and hey, there’s a new flavor of fizzy water I want to try… oh dang it, I spent $110 on a 3-item list…

  4. Shocking. You mean retailers play games with pricing? Who knew? Gees, you could have told us BEFORE Black Friday. You’re slipping, Steve!

    (Good thing I didn’t fall for any of the games, proud to say I never clicked “Buy” through the whole crazy Black Friday/Cyber Monday thing, though I did happen to buy my retirement pickup truck…)…..

      1. I went big, my friend. 2017 Ford F250. Without too many details, I was personally involved in the conversion of the F-series from Steel to Aluminum. One of the biggest developments in my career, so I decided I’ve earned the right to “Live Like No One Else” and buy the truck that has so much symbolism in my career. The perfect retirement truck! (Next up, the 5th wheel. We know what we’re getting, just waiting to find the right price….targeting Jan/Feb for the purchase!).

        1. Nice, Fritz! Those 3/4 ton trucks are a great value and pull almost anything this side of a monster RV. For most of us, the only reason to go with a 1-ton truck is for the payload, not towing capacity.

          Exciting times!

  5. So very true. Percent off is especially misleading as they jack up the price it compares too. Most of the real deals appear to be limited quantity loss leaders as you denote. We do buy on cyber Monday but only items we watch for a while and understand their consistent market price.

  6. This post really resonates with me. I don’t really believe in Black Friday deals either. I realized that those deals are not really deals about 10 years ago when I bought an expensive sweater only to find out that the price was the same on other days of the year. I felt duped.

    I didn’t buy anything on Black Friday. My hubby and my MIL did though. I will let them decide for themselves.

  7. I refuse to shop Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals. Most are ripoffs, I have noticed the prices shooting up in the months leading to the Black Friday event. Retailers are very savvy and they know when and how to get the most money out of us.

  8. I’m as shocked as Fritz! I brought shoes and makeup during Black Friday 2 years ago and regretted it after the deal high came off. They weren’t great deals in the first place.

    This Black Friday, we only brought underpants. Because hubby really needed underpants.

  9. I worked in and lead retail organizations for years. There are games played by everyone — retailers and consumers.

    The ones that play the games the best “win”. 😉

  10. I started using a plugin called Keepa recently. Whenever you look at an item on Amazon it shows a chart right on the webpage (like magic!) that shows the historical price of the item. Many fluctuate a LOT, and it helps you understand if the item is really “on sale”…or jacked up.

    As for retail games, like ESI Money I worked/managed retail for years and can only say a Sale! tag is pretty much non-informative.

    Like a wise computer program once said: “The only winning move is not to play.”

  11. I’ve noticed this over the years too. Prices get pushed up and then get put ‘on sale’. It’s silly, but I guess this stuff works… otherwise why would the retailers do it?

    I think a lot of these sales are targeted at impulse buyers. In many cases the models on the products sold are cut-rate versions with inferior components. Some might even be models made only for black friday/holiday sales.

    Let the buyer beware!

    1. Definitely, it’s the impulse buys that make Black Friday what it is for retailers. Temptations. It says “Sale”, so you gotta have it, right? 😉

  12. I figured this out a few years that the prices on Black Friday are not really deeply discounted. But those are the tricks of the trade for these retailers and every year a whole bunch of consumers fall for it by waiting outside in the wee hours in the morning before the stores open, I believed that lots of them open on Thanksgiving evening now.

  13. Steve, very good information. Thanks for sharing, especially in this holiday shopping season. To me, grocery shopping is a necessity. Other than that, I don’t like to go to the malls or shop online. It makes me exhausted.
    I just try to stay away from the crowd.

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