Thursday, November 24, 2016

How to Win at Black Friday

I'm still not entirely sure how we can have "the day after Thanksgiving" without actually having Thanksgiving in the first place, but never mind. Once again, our stores have engaged in their pre-Christmas "let's have a sale" sale, with all sorts of wonderful bargains on things people mostly don't want. And, once again, we have a flurry of articles from newspapers decrying this, declaring that they're not really bargains at all, or whatever else. Which is their way of cashing in on all this consumerist nonsense without looking like they're cashing in. It's all quite clever.

But the truth lies somewhere in between: buying into this consumerist nonsense is a bad idea, but so too is adamantly refusing to get involved no matter what. There are, in fact, some good bargains to be had; you just have to be a bit savvy.

And the key question is this: would you have bought the item anyway, even at full price?

See, that's the thing: if there was something that you were going to get anyway (let's say a printer, just for a random example), then it may well be that you can find a good one at a much reduced price in the sale. In which case, it makes sense to go and get that item at this time of year, rather than, say, two weeks ago when prices were higher or two weeks from now when they're probably higher again.

(And so, really, the way to win at Black Friday is to ignore the advertising and the offers completely. Instead, if there's something you'd been considering buying, then maybe go look if there's an offer on that, and make a purchase. But look only at things you've been considering anyway, and don't get drawn in to other purchases.)

Speaking of which... it's probably time for a new phone. Though the big downside there is that the one I almost bought last time I thought about it was a Samsung, which I'm obviously now avoiding...

#64: "The Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul", by Douglas Adams

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