Anxiously, you stand in front of Makro. You are pressed against the glass doors with fellow shoppers trying to push in front of you. Through the sliding doors you can already see the Samsung TV that brought you to this mega store on Black Friday. The doors fling open. You stumble and almost fall to the ground – where surely you will be trampled to death. You gain your balance just in time to see the last TV grabbed by a man in khaki shorts.
This weekend was Black Friday and today is Cyber Monday. The malls were brimming with South Africans eager to get a discount on a fridge, a PlayStation or just on their monthly shop. While, to my knowledge, South Africans haven’t yet pulled at each other’s hair or trampled a fellow shopper to get to the specials, Black Friday still seems like a horror movie to me.
I deliberately avoid shops at the end of the month. Long queues and empty racks where my favourite goodies are supposed to be just aggravate me. While I enjoy a discount as much as the next shopper, Black Friday remains a mystery. Is it really worth it?
Some would say yes. You get amazing products at impossible prices! However, I can’t stop but wonder whether paying a little less is really worth the stress, anxiety and possible disappointment Black Friday brings. I don’t really think it is worth it and here’s why…
You buy things you really don’t want/need
I mostly buy my clothes from the discounted racks. I love buying clothes and would be broke if I had to buy everything at the retail price. However, I often end up with stacks of clothes that remain in my closet, unworn, for years. When I shop at retail price, I often debate with myself: Do I really need a new dress? How often will I really wear this? Is there something I want more?
In the end, I buy only two or three items, but I wear them frequently. How does this really differ from Black Friday? Just because that blender is on special, does not mean we need it. Yet, at R200 (marked down from R400), we buy it. Yes, you are saving money, but you can save even more if you don’t buy the blender at all. Some might argue you can resell the blender to make more, but really, who has the time to do that?
It only really makes sense when buying big items
Using Black Friday to stock the fridge? I can (almost) promise you are not saving as much as you might think. Sure, Makro had some impressive specials on Black Friday, but then again, it always does. Buying food in bulk on Black Friday is not much different than buying food in bulk any other weekend. The only difference is what specials are running.
The discount on food is also not that much. You could just as well buy food at Pick n Pay and earn back money from Smart Shopper points. Black Friday shopping really doesn’t make sense unless you are saving a couple thousand on a big-ticket item like a fridge, TV or sowing machine. Even then, the first rule still applies. Only buy if you really need it. Don’t just buy the new TV because the old one is not as good.
Black Friday gifts are not the answer to Christmas
You might be lucky and find the perfect gift for your significant other, family or friend during the shoving and grabbing of Black Friday. However, most of us will most likely settle for a mediocre gift just because it is on sale. A gift should be thoughtful and, from my experience, the best gifts are the ones that you take the time to look for. At the end of the day, I would rather pay a little extra for my Christmas presents and shop in leisure than scramble and shove my way to a great Christmas.
If that is not enough reason to miss Black Friday next year, maybe this mad rush of South Africans might help…