This is Part One of “5 Days of Holiday Bull$hit: A five-part series on Christmas consumer crap.” Here’s the introduction.
I’m all about saving money, but I think Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and a Canuck thing called Boxing Day are weird ways to go about it.
Let’s start with Black Friday: Pitch a tent. Line up for hours. Get jostled by creepy crowds. Crash doors. Mad dash. Maybe score one of five “door-crasher” deals. Get trampled. Get more trampled. Get pepper sprayed. Spend money. Save $50? Happy holidays?
Was asked to write a post called: Top Black Friday Shopping Tips. Filed 8 words: "Save your money. Don't shop on Black Friday." Stupid post.
— Kerry K. Taylor (@squawkfox) November 21, 2013
Hate the crowds? There’s always the wired world of online retail to snag a shopper.
Cyber Monday: Get online early (only EST will do). Click a deal. Add to shopping cart. Enter a Cyber-specific promo code. FAILED. Enter promo code again. Review cart. Enter credit card info. Update shipping address. Click checkout. Sales item SOLD OUT. Cry. Spill coffee on your PJs, it’s still EST after all. Try shopping again. Fail. Reboot computer. Maybe snag a different dealio? Score some FREE SHIPPING, yay!
I also haven’t forgotten about Boxing Day, celebrated by Canucks across Canada on December 26th every year.
Boxing Day: Buy everything at mostly full price before Christmas. Buy everything again at 70% off the day after Christmas.
As a Canadian, I admit that this American Black Friday followed by Cyber Monday thing is still a pretty new concept up here in Canuckland. As proper and polite *cough* customers, we Canucks have always waited until Boxing Day, our mega sale which runs the day AFTER Christmas, to save big money on holiday stuff. After all, there’s nothing more charmingly Canadian than paying near full price for something the day before the something you want goes on sale. Retailers need to eat too, you know. *cough*
AnyRetroactiveLogic, the American Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales seem like mega good deals in comparison. The Canadian retailers must agree ’cause these sales have arrived in Canada full throttle. I should know — Black Friday and Cybertastic Monday deals started littering my mailbox and landing in my inbox just hours after Halloween. Scary stuff.
Being a blogger mostly interested in saving money you’d think I would’ve practiced pitching my tent and filling my online shopping cart weeks ago, but I’ve resisted the call of the polyester wind-proof dome and the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome for a number of fiscal reasons. Here’s why:
Holiday sales events are brands.
Black Friday isn’t the single day it used to be. The sales extravaganza has morphed from a mere 24 hours of unbridled insanity to a week-long extreme shopping event. Some retailers even started tent lineups and “door-crashing” sales a month ago.
— Aéropostale (@Aeropostale) November 24, 2013
To add some spark to the insanity, several stores have augmented the black event into days with happier, brighter colours. Let’s go with red.
— Kerry K. Taylor (@squawkfox) November 26, 2013
What the heck is “Red Thursday?” Another day to spend, yo.
Want to shop Cyber Monday seven full days after the official date? Home Depot Canada has the extended cyberness covered.
— Home Depot Canada (@HomeDepotCanada) December 9, 2013
Oh, and some stores have started the Boxing Day extravaganza a few extra weeks early. I’m counting three extra weeks.
— rubinoshoes (@rubinoshoes) December 9, 2013
Seems like these these holiday sales day events have morphed into a three-month long event. Let’s create a shopping mashup and call the dang thing Cyber Black Boxing Day. Tents are optional.
Bottom Line: Since the Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Boxing Day brands now extend beyond the actual day, do yourself a shopping solid by checking the multi-day sales for the item(s) you really need and comparison shop the prices you’re willing to pay before spending your cash. There’s no sense in busting your butt on a single day event when there’s plenty of time to stop, budget, think, then maybe shop.
When a deal is an overrated dud.
Seeing tent cities sprout from concrete alongside the local Best Buy can make one think the holiday sales events are awesome. Forget it. I’m not trying to blow down your tent with hot air, but many of these so-called sales events are just hype.
Only a precious few snag the “door crasher” items boasted by retailers, while the rest of the peops lining up outside are just get getting crowd crushed.
— Casey Bond (@Go_Casey) November 24, 2013
Price aware shoppers (not the ones standing in long lines) have long noticed that many Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and even Boxing Day sale prices are the same “deal” advertised outside of the hyper holiday sales event.
I’ve snagged kids toys, clothing, and even furniture at better than holiday sales event pricing by simply subscribing to retailer newsletter sale blasts, using promotional codes, and price matching. Check out The Definitive Guide: 22 Ways to get a discount on anything for the details.
Canadians say Boxing Day deals are overrated: poll http://t.co/HSPYC62Z7a
— Globalnews.ca (@globaltvnews) December 9, 2013
Asking for a price adjustment when the price you recently paid is higher than a new sale deal works well for snagging savings too. Always keep your receipts!
Bottom Line: The smartest shoppers have a shopping list and research the various price points offered by retailers. Comparison shopping online is just a click away these days, so there’s no excuse for getting duped by a dubious sale or a holiday gimmick.
Duress is bad for shopping stress.
Don’t miss out! Available today only! The list of marketing words used to wiggle you outta your money right this instant are endless.
Heck, even media headlines boast the urgency of the sale.
The clock is ticking down to Black Friday, but some deals are already available. What to buy now: http://t.co/yRBLuIs4e9
— Kelli B. Grant (@kelligrant) November 24, 2013
STOP, BUDGET, THINK, then maybe shop. The world won’t end if you don’t buy “that thing” now. Promise.
Bottom Line: Holiday sales events are orchestrated by super smart marketing mavericks. Learn to decode the distress in the advertising and know what you must buy, stick to your budget, and check competitor prices. You’re not missing out on the hyper sale because the hyper sale never ends. Your money has an end though.
Stuff is not “importante.”
My favorite tweet maybe of all time is about buying “importante” stuff at Walmart.
— Kerry K. Taylor (@squawkfox) November 24, 2013
Of all the important stuff I would have “marked down” as important and lined up for overnight on a Friday I’m guessing a Furby stuffy wouldn’t rank anywhere on my list.
When I was a student I would have lined up overnight to pay less tuition. I’ve lined up to rent an affordable apartment in cities across Canada. Heck, I line up at Costco once a month to feed my family at a fair price. So yeah, I’ve “marked down” a few things in my life as important, but attention Walmart retailers Black Friday is not one of them.
Stuff is not important.
Accumulating stuff is not important.
I know what’s important to me. You know the answer for you too.
Bottom Line: That Furby thing looks like what would happen if you crossed Gizmo (the main mogwai pre-Gremlin in the 1984 movie Gremlins) with a My Little Pony. Basically, don’t feed the Furby a rainbow after midnight. And know what’s really important.
So where am I going with this?
Sales happen daily, monthly, seasonally, and annually. There’s always a deal somewhere and a delusional shopper elsewhere. Don’t be the delusional shopper.
STOP, BUDGET, THINK, then maybe shop.
Also, what’s a Furby?