4 Reasons to Avoid the Holiday Shopping Mania

by Kevin on November 27, 2012

Another year gone, another holiday shopping season arrived.

And once again I am befuddled.

Scores of people — supposedly reasonable individuals — elected to sacrifice their Thanksgiving evenings, nights, and early mornings of Black Friday in order to secure their coveted place in line to buy things at big box stores.

They then had to practice self-defense as the horde crashed through the gates of the store, past the caffeinated and exhausted store employees, to rush to the three in-stock televisions that are $300 off normal price.

It just seems a little… fantastic to me. (As in the definition of fantastic:¬†Imaginative or fanciful; remote from reality.)

I mean, I’m okay with you taking your extra day off on Black Friday and getting some good deals. I’ve gotten the occasional deal in the past (although mostly online).

But standing in line, in the cold, starting as early as 8pm on Thanksgiving evening?

Isn’t that a little far… a little too much? Has American society completely gone off the deep end?

We were still cleaning up the dishes at 8pm on Thanksgiving night. No deal is worth sacrificing quality time with my family. (Well, until they start offering 50% off on luxury homes or something like that. Then we can talk.)

4 Reasons to Avoid the Holiday Shopping Crowds

Here are four reasons I think the holiday shopping sprees are a waste of time.

Valuing Your Time

It baffles me that people find true value in sitting outside of a store for hours on end, and then when the deals kick off they spend another couple of hours doing the actual shopping. All along the way they are using they credit cards and, for a majority of people, increasing their debt for the holiday season.

The hours upon hours you spend researching the deals, sitting in line, and actually doing the shopping effectively wipes out a majority of the discounts you are receiving.

The Deals Could Get Better

I was thoroughly unimpressed with a majority of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals I saw this year. Nothing was really jaw-dropping. Maybe I’m the wrong type of customer, but most items had okay discounts.

Here’s the kicker: the discounts will get better. If you read some site’s analysis of Black Friday (such as Dealnews.com), the deals will get better on certain types of items like TVs. And this is before you even factor in the value of your time sitting outside the store in the cold.

Your Odds of Buying a Doorbuster

Stores advertise crazy doorbuster deals to entice people to come to the sale. The only problem is those doorbusters are of severely limited quantity. Not only are the television deals not the best of the season (and also not normally on name brand items; usually off brands) but there might only be 1 to 5 of those in the store. That means if you are 20th in line you probably aren’t getting the great deal. The store, however, has succeeded in drawing you in to buy other items at prices they still make a profit at.

Your Personal Safety

Lastly, I always wonder what the people who end up with broken limbs from being trampled (not to mention that in some cases, unfortunately, people die) say to the question “Was it worth it?”

Was having to go to the hospital and putting your life at risk really worth the $50 discount you got on the entertainment unit?

I think we all know the answer to that one. So I’ll continue to sit out these crazy sales. What about you?


Michelle November 27, 2012 at 7:23 am

The sales aren’t worth it to me either. I hate crowds!

Kip November 27, 2012 at 8:20 am

Saving 20% on something is akin to earning 25% interest on that money. If it is something I will buy anyways, it is worth it to me – especially when the savings are big.

I am suprised you are willing to live one month a year without air conditioning to save money where you could just weather the crowds one day and save that same money.

Kevin November 27, 2012 at 8:30 am

While true, I think those are different scenarios. One is passively saving (and honestly more of a personal challenge) and one is active saving. It doesn’t cost me any extra time to get used to slightly higher temperatures in my house. I’m not having to invest time away from family or away from a side job that actually earns me more income like you do with Black Friday shopping.

You’d have to save 20% on something huge for it to be truly worthwhile (like a brand name television… at least $1,000 in spending) in terms of the amount of time spent in line. Most of the deals I saw were decent discounts on good TVs, and doorbuster deals on non-name brand TVs. I would personally rather get quality on that deal.

I was reading up on CNN Money about a deal at the Disney Store that marked a toy to $16 from $24 or something like that. That’s a nice 33.3% discount… or $8. You would need to buy a ton of stuff at a $8 discount to justify standing in line/shopping for 3, 4, or 6 hours.

And again, you are right, if you are planning on spending the money on that item them it might make sense. I guess I just don’t spend a ton of money on stuff these days so getting 10%, 20%, or 30% off on the types of items on sale just doesn’t appeal to me right now. And that’s before considering leaving Thanksgiving dinner early to go stand in line.

Jamie November 28, 2012 at 10:39 am

Not for me – No Thank You! I just don’t need anything that badly. Besides, as you stated, the time with my family is the most valuable of all, isn’t that the whole premise behind no debt, so as not to be a slave to money and have a quality of life.

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