Yes, Black Friday WEEK is finally here — after weeks of being bombarded by holiday shopping ads. This post has two goals: (1) To alert you to the possible deceptions this week and (2) to again present our THIRTY-FIVE holiday shopping tips.

Our first topic is this: Is Black Friday week really a good time to shop? Are there bargains that won’t be available after Friday? Let’s turn to Brian Chen, writing for the New York Times (1, 2), for an assessment of Black Friday deals:

“The overwhelming majority of Black Friday deals are duds. Retailers’ sales promotions begin weeks before Thanksgiving, with a smattering of modest deals that eventually build up to the shopping bonanza that is Black Friday. That is followed by Cyber Monday, a so-called online shopping extravaganza after Thanksgiving weekend.”

“It has become fashionable for online retailers to build up anticipation for Black Friday with so-called flash deals. These last only a few hours, putting pressure on consumers to buy with little or no research. Yet, however you shop, chances of snatching a great deal for a quality item are slim, because Black Friday is mainly for retailers to clear out unwanted goods and best-sellers rarely drop much in price.”

“Year round, The Wirecutter tracks prices across the Web to unearth true deals on high-quality items. Less than 1 percent of the tens of thousands of Black Friday deals online last year were good deals — that is, discounts on high-quality, well-reviewed, and durable products. This year, the situation is likely to be the same.

“A quick search on Camel Camel Camel, which looks up price histories on Amazon, [can be quite enlightening]. Some mediocre deals can be tricky to catch. Toward the end of October, Amazon listed a deal for its Kindle Paperwhite E-reader for $100. This may seem like a good deal because the retail price is $120. But at the beginning of October, the Paperwhite was discounted to $90 — a price drop that Camel Camel Camel could not detect because the discount was applied at the end of the checkout.”


Take a look at the following New York Times video for further insights.



Our second topic is this: How can you be a better shopper for the 2016 holiday season? Here are 35 tips (originally posted two weeks ago).


20 Replies to “PLEASE Be a Smart Customer This Holiday Shopping Season”

  1. I think the most interesting aspect of this post is that there are applications (as seen in the video) that can determine when Amazon lowers and raises its prices on certain products. I am well aware of the tactics used by online shopping websites, but did not know that there applications that consumers can download to actually see a day by day rise and decrease. It is something that I am very interested in and plan on looking into to download and explore. Another point that should be emphasized is that consumers should beware of Black Friday “deals.” Although the sales may be less than the retail price, there are plenty of other deals throughout the year where consumers can get it for much cheaper (exactly what you talked about with Amazon and its Kindle product).

  2. It has always been hard to resist purchasing products if there are big sales, even those we barely use ever. However, as a matter of fact, customers become numb with sales with time goes by. Since there are bunch innovative applications people can use with no charge, they can easily have cash back through these applications. What I prefer use for cash back application is Ebates. It covers a lot of stores and most of time, it has 20 percent of cash back, another words, one do not need to wait until so called big sales.

  3. I considered to buy a Sony digital camera yesterday because it is good designed and looks beautiful. But I finally did not buy it after my friends asked me that “do you always take photos?”. So my suggestion is DO NOT buy the thing that you DO NOT really need it.

  4. I think its interesting how gullible consumers are in terms of getting the best deals. Its so simple to trick people into thinking they’re getting the best price when in fact the product was once offered for lower. You would think that people who put enough effort into going Black Friday shopping would also put effort into doing research, but Black Friday seems to be the day when people make their most senseless purchases.

  5. This interesting blog makes me rethink my crazy purchase behavior in the past month. I really don’t wanna say that, but I did feel kind of stupid when I cannot resist the big sale while at the same time as a marketer, I used the same tactics to my own customers to consume the inventory and duds. I may return part of them, try to maintain my rational mindset.;)

  6. Last year, I bought too many skin care products as well as cosmetics so that I have not used up them till the same time this year! Actually, there are discounts every several months over the year, and they are pretty similar to the Black Friday sale. I actually am so regretful that I bought so many products last year because after buying them, I really want to try new products, however I cannot since I have so much left to use!

  7. This blog post makes me realize how sometimes people just get caught up with the advertisements and truly believe they are getting a good deal when in reality they are not. For example this year for Black Friday I went to Bath & Body Works. Their Black Friday deal was buy 3 items and get 3 free. Yes this sounds like an amazing deal at first but if you are a loyal customer to this store you would know they do multiple deals all year round that are very similar. It’s just that in the moment you get caught up in the madness that is Black Friday and you don’t realize that their deals for the day aren’t really special compared to their everyday pricing.

  8. This post is really useful for me. Well, I drove to Woodbury outlets on this Black Friday. There are so many people there waiting to purchase something. At the same time, there is also a heavy traffic on the road. So I think that I will stay at home and buy what I really need online next time. As this post says, “Black Friday is mainly for retailers to clear out unwanted goods and best-sellers rarely drop much in price”. So, it is really hard for us to buy the wanted cheap goods. Well, we need to be smarter when we are completing the purchase process.

  9. Black Friday just past, customers are looking for Cyber Monday and Christmas for shopping. Actually, I did not buy so much in Black Friday. I really value the advice “set a budget” and “try not to buy anything at a full price”. Before the Black Friday, I made i list of what I need to buy and just purchase items on the list. Besides, one of the product in my list did not have discount at all, and I did not buy it. Actually, I saw the official website today that the company offer the discount. What I want to say is that customers are becoming more and more wise when facing the discount, so the managers should really consider how to make discount and attract customers.

  10. Black Friday is a fraud. I went into 2 stores and the only items that were on sale were the ones that were the most expensive. For example, I went into Victorias Secret and bought a pair of leggings. They were originally $65 but i bought them for $40. In reality, $40 is still a lot to pay for just a pair of workout pants! Black friday has such a way with manipulating customers into believing that the sales are unbeatable, but in reality some stores tend to put only the most expensive items on sale so it seems like customers are saving so much. Stores also often offer better deals prior to or after black friday because its simple to trick people into thinking they’re getting the best price when in fact the product was once offered for lower. People need to be proactive with their research if they really want a good deal!

  11. It’s quite fascinating how simple buyers are as far as getting the best arrangements. Its so easy to trap individuals into supposing they’re getting the best cost when in reality the item was once offered for a lower price at a different retailer. You would believe that individuals who put enough exertion into going Black Friday shopping would likewise place exertion into doing research, yet Black Friday is by all accounts the day when individuals make their most silly buy and get caught into whats merely just clever marketing techniques by these big companies! Lets all be smart customers.

  12. I think the whole idea of Black Friday is something that has been designed to make people send their money and sometimes the money that they don’t have. People see the marketing of big sales signs and buy things that they really don’t even need. My mother bought a waffle maker this Black Friday because it was on sale for a good price but she has never made waffles in her life. There was really no point in her getting it. This idea is incorporated in millions of people and they spend money on unnecessary things that they do not need.

  13. Mentioned in the introduction of this article was the lack of research consumers have on online flash deals. This where I believe is superior to retail. During the Black Friday sale, there was a flash sale of hard drives and, after looking up prices on camel camel camel and other retailers, Amazon had the lowest price. But what really did it for me was how convenient and east it was to read the reviews of that product. If I was in person and encountered this hard drive for a good price, it would’ve been more challenging for me to buy it. However, with a good discount and good rating AND a large sample size of reviews, the product is usually a safe bet to buy.

  14. While many people go out shopping on Thanksgiving night and the next week days after that for the experience, others are serious when it comes to getting the best deals. For me, I like to go out with my friends and walk the malls and make a purchase or two because its the official start of the holiday season and because its just fun. However, many people run people over and need to get the best deals, when the deals aren’t even that great at all. It is fascinating how many people are so intrigued by 20% discounts.

  15. is a really good website that can track prices of products on Amazon. After knowing this website, I always take a look at it before I want to buy something on Amazon. E-commerce companies will raise the original prices of their products before and after giving the discount so that they seem like great deals. Consumes who don’t track the prices of the products would be deceived by those discounts and would be encouraged to buy a lot of products.

  16. I am definitely one of those people who are guilty of spending more money than necessary on Black Friday. While I realize that most of the sales are not actual discounts from the regular price, I still can’t resist going out shopping with my friends. One thing I did notice this year, however, was that the sales were much better online than they were in store. When I went into the stores, I did not see much that peaked my interest, and the sales seemed like they weren’t as good as the previous years. When I went online, I found the items I was looking for with ease and managed to score what I thought were pretty good deals.

  17. Many consumers believe that Black Friday is the time to shop and I am not one of those consumers. I believe Black Friday is a illusion created by store to get people to open their wallets. I think consumers need to educate themselves on what the are purchasing and if they are actually getting a “great deal”. Because many of times these “great deals” are NOT in fact great. Stores have a many tricks up their sleeves and more consumers should follow the tips listed above to save money and be a better shopper!

  18. I enjoyed this article believe it really sheds light on the fact that as shoppers we really just look for the deals and can sometimes get caught up. I think this can also trace back to the fact that warehouse retailers, such as Costco and BJ’s, have so much of an influx of customers because they all want the best bang for their buck. Buying larger quantities can be troubling though because we miss the fact that we buy more than what we need. Black Friday adds to this notion that buying unnecessary items because they cost less is normal.

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