3 Lies Retailers Tell You About Black Friday Sales


The holidays themselves may not be here quite yet, but it’s fair to say that the holiday shopping season is in full swing. And this year, consumers seem to be going all in.

Data from RetailMeNot finds that shoppers are planning to spend considerably more this year on the holidays compared to last year — $932 versus $725. And chances are, a lot of people will do a fair share of their shopping on Black Friday.

That might seem like a good way to save money. But some of the so-called Black Friday sales you’re apt to come across may not be what you think they are. Here are some common lies you’ll hear in the context of Black Friday.

1. You’re getting the lowest prices of the year

Many retailers will lead you to believe that their Black Friday prices are the lowest of the year. But if you do your shopping before or after Black Friday, you may find a lower price.

Now, the good news is that a lot of retailers will offer a price match — so if you buy something on Black Friday and it becomes available for less in the weeks that follow, you’re not necessarily out of luck. But retailers won’t price match after the fact — meaning, if you miss a great sale the week before Black Friday and the Black Friday price is higher, you shouldn’t expect to get the difference back.

2. You’re getting a big break based on the original price

You might see a $100 item marked down to $60 on Black Friday. And that might read like a pretty good deal.

But are you sure the original price was $100? Chances are, it wasn’t. Retailers can slap any old price tag on a given item and then mark it down so that it looks like you’re getting a bargain. The best way to avoid that trap is to track prices during the entirety of the holiday shopping season, either manually or by using an app like ShopSavvy.

3. You’re getting the same items you’d normally find all year round

Have you ever found it odd that a TV that normally retails for $900 could suddenly become available for just $650 on Black Friday? Well, there’s a reason for that.

It’s common for retailers to partner with electronics companies to produce special-run products for Black Friday only. And the reason these items can be sold at a much lower price point is that they tend to come with inferior components. Or they might lack certain features their original counterparts had to offer.

Before you hand over your credit card to buy electronics on Black Friday, do a simple model number check. A general rule is that if there is no model number, or if you can’t find that same model number for sale elsewhere, then you’re getting a special-run version of the item you thought you were getting.

Many consumers are wired to believe that Black Friday is the best day of the year to shop. But actually, you may be better off doing your shopping another time for these key reasons.

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