Black Friday - Is it a bit of a scam?
There are many traditions we’ve taken from America. Halloween dressing up, trick or treating and Thanksgiving. I’ve seen all three of these in the UK recently, all with a distinctly American flavor (sorry: flavour).
The ever-growing popularity of dressing up as ghosts, ghouls and vampires for Halloween continues to amuse me on an annual basis. Especially those that dress as cats among the vampires and ghouls.
America is, after all, the prime embracer of dressing up and being daft. Even trick or treating which, in my day, was equally about tipping over the bins of those who wouldn’t offer treats as it was about asking for the treats in the first place. (Not that I ever tipped any bins over. I was far too polite.)
As for Thanksgiving, I don’t even know where to begin with this one. My English friends (and you know who you are) who enjoyed “Thanksgiving turkey” is a reflection of adopting foreign traditions that make little or no sense over here.
The tradition of Black Friday, which is massive in America, is a very welcome one. After all who wouldn’t want massive discounts on technology, gifts and other goods.
Is it as good as it seems, though? You have to ask how good a Black Friday deal is. Let’s be honest the name “Black Friday” doesn’t conjure up the best of mental images. Anything that is preceded by the word “black” is normally a bad thing (and please don’t read this as racist!
Black Thursday, for example, was the start of the Wall Street crash in, with the panic selling reaching a crescendo the following week on what became known as Black Tuesday.
Everyone knows that the great fire of London in 1666 wiped out the great plague that had killed off large swathes of the population in the city. The plague is better known, of course, as the Black Death.
So the decision to name anything as “Black” something seems an odd one.
Still don’t believe me? Black pudding. I know many will disagree, but it’s gross.
Still not convinced? Ok, last one. Black Lace. Yep, see. No-one can argue that.
Putting the odd name aside, a huge discount on gifts just before Christmas is always welcome.
Amazon lead the way online at the moment with their Black Friday promotion. With headlines promoting massive discounts, the online giant looks like they are slashing prices left, right and centre.
Look closely and it’s not all it seems. The main page as I write this says that the Kindle Fire HDX 7″ has been reduced by £100. This is obviously an excellent saving. However, dig a little deeper and it’s easy to see that the sums don’t add up as well as Amazon may wish you to believe.
There is a website that I stumbled across today called camelcamelcamel.com. It’s a marvelous tool for price tracking on Amazon. It also allows you to look at the historical price of item on the website..
Take again for example the aforementioned Kindle. Yes, it’s £100 off for the asking price as of last week but looking on the camelcamelcamel.com website it’s easy to see that it hasn’t always been £100 more expensive. In fact just four months ago it was only £20 more expensive than the £129 quoted today. In other words, it had an £80 discount long before being put into the Black Friday sale. Not such a bargain now is it?
Tesco and Asda have also proclaimed this Friday as Black Friday and are advertising massive saving throughout their various departments. I guess it’s only a matter of time until the term “Black Friday” is copyrighted in this country rather than having everyone lay claim to it. That could lead to some interesting court battles.
Speaking of which - and getting sidetracked - I can’t believe that one of the big name supermarkets haven’t tried to attach their name to the Black Friday sale. The best example of this in recent times that springs to mind is when EE were going by their former name of Orange and through their discounted cinema ticket promotion, they seemed to monopolise a midweek night out at the cinema on what was widely referred to as Orange Wednesday. They achieved instant and ongoing advertising every time someone tried to get a discounted cinema ticket. Surely Asda, Tesco, John Lewis, Amazon and everyone else have missed a trick here.
Going back to the point. Black Friday - Is it a bit of a scam? All you need to do is peruse the main sites that advertise these deals. There’s no doubt that some sites are offering some fantastic savings. By which I mean they are offering goods cheaper than you can currently (or have been able to previously) get the goods for.
The immediate one that springs to mind for me is the Xbox One console. Up until now the cheapest price I’ve seen it is £329 on amazon.
This year Tesco are offering the basic console bundle for less than £300. This is definitely a good deal and is cheaper than anywhere. It’s still only a 10 per cent saving, though, and not up to 90% that some stores in America offer on a very limited number of goods.
Plenty of the goods on offer don’t seem to be that great. I guess what I’m trying to say is that Black Friday is a great idea if you’re not easily led into spending money on something you don’t really want or need.
That’s me out then!
Don’t let me put you off shopping. There are bargains to be had and savings to be made. Just be careful when you’re viewing websites or shopping on Black Friday. You may find you end up with one bargain and 9 items that aren’t bargains at all.
Personally speaking, I just miss the Blue Cross Sale. Whatever happened to that?
Now there was a decent name for a sale.