Black Friday is highly overrated
Myths about the day after Thanksgiving have been exposed. And, no, it's not the biggest shopping day of the year.
When you're born without the shopping gene, Black Friday is nothing to get excited about. But, according to a new post at dealnews.com, even if you love to shop, it's not all it's been cracked up to be -- certainly not a reason to fight crowds at 4 in the morning.
In fact, the benefit of camping out is No. 3 on dealnews' list of 15 Black Friday myths that don't match the facts:
These days, more and more Black Friday deals are available online as well as in-store. Couple that with the fact that many Black Friday doorbusters are either matched or beaten later in the season, and you can only conclude that it's not worth camping out for Black Friday specials. At most stores, being first in line to go in at 5 a.m. only guarantees that you'll get shoved around as the 500 people behind you are also let in.
Among other Black Friday myths that are busted:
- Black Friday starts on Black Friday. Actually, you can find many Black Friday deals online on Turkey Day, and some are quickly sold out. You'll also find BF deals online that don't appear in the sales circulars.
- BF is the busiest shopping day of the year. No. That would be the Saturday before Christmas.
- BF prices are always sale prices. Dealnews says: "In the past several years, retailers have been caught red-handed jacking up prices before Black Friday, then lowering them with supposed discounts that leave the price higher than it was before." Shocking, we know. You can avoid this trap by knowing what stuff really costs. Start tracking prices now. They may very well go down after Black Friday has come and gone.
- BF is the best day to buy a new TV. It may be the best day to buy a TV made by some company you've never heard of, but the top brands likely won't be at their lowest price that day, dealnews says.
- If you want to return BF purchases, the store is OK with that. Numerous sources report that stores are tightening their return policies and demanding personal information like an e-mail address, phone number or credit card information so they can track "serial returners" -- SmartMoney says fraudulent returns cost stores $9.6 billion last year -- and also send you ads and sell your info to marketers.
Also, SmartMoney tried to return items to numerous stores and rarely got cash. Store credit is more common.
The strangest myth on dealnews' list: BF doorbusters are free. Not so. "If you find a free TV on Black Friday, please send us a photo of it alongside your pet unicorn," dealnews said.
What are your Black Friday plans? Will you be home in bed or standing in line, waiting to get through the doors?
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Editor Bev O'Shea lives and works in the foothills of the Appalachians. A former copy editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Orlando Sentinel, she joined MSN Money in 2007. She's a fan of sunsets, college football and free shipping, among other things.
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A writer for MSN Money since January 2007, Donna Freedman won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. She also writes about smart money tactics for magazines and on her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
Mitch Lipka has been warning people about scams and shining light on questionable business practices for more than 20 years. Mitch, the consumer columnist for The Boston Globe, has also been a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Consumer Reports, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and AOL. He won the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer reporting online and was honored in 2011 for his reporting on child product safety.
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