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Old 10-08-2012, 06:49 AM   #1
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The Black Friday Myth

Get up at 3 am to play World of Warcraft expansion? Check!

Get up at 3 am to go shopping? No way!!

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Old 10-08-2012, 07:08 AM   #2
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It looks like you can view the article for free here:
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:53 AM   #3
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Nope, both links require a subscription.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:58 AM   #4
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Even without seeing the link this is my comment:

My DH works retail and has to go in on black Friday. Because he is good at dealing with idiots and knows electronics he always ends up opening that section (And in my opinion if you come in on black friday and don't know what your looking for your in the idiot category. If you need help figuring out what you want to buy go in on a less busy day)

Me I wake up when I feel like it and go online. I generally have a good idea what I will buy everyone by then and check for deals. Most of the time I get about half my shopping done that day. And it all comes in the mail a few days later.

The most crowds I have to deal with our the three kitties that sometimes jump in bed with me while DH isn't there!
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:15 AM   #5
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I used to go out on Black Friday, when DD was much younger. I used to get great deals on toys, however now there is nothing that captures my interest enough to go out to a store. The electronics they sell are generally at the low end and I am much too picky for that. Besides, you can generally get as good a deal online without fighting the crowds.

Actually, I am like that any time of year now. Maybe it's an age thing or the fact that I live in a very populated area, but I have no desire to go to any stores now, ever! The one exception is for clothes. I get so tired of driving store to store trying to hunt down a product only to realize that no one carries it in the brick-n-mortars and you can only buy it online. Besides that, many of the stores that still have physical locations will inflate the prices at the store for the "convenience" of instant gratifications. No thank you! Just give me my Amazon Prime!

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Old 10-08-2012, 09:41 AM   #6
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I enjoy Black Friday as a tradition and a fun day out, but I agree with the previous poster - as my kids want fewer toys and more "big kid" gifts the deals are less attractive, and the electronics deals generally aren't for the products I want. We hit a few specialty stores in the mall (Tommy, Disney Store, Torrid), the big Joann Fabrics that I don't often drive out to, and then have breakfast and call it a day. The best deals I've gotten the past couple years have been online but it is still fun to go out - if you pass on Walmart and Target and the other places that seem to attract really crazy/desperate bargain hunters the crowds are fun and friendly, and we have a good time with it.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:46 AM   #7
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I didn't realize it was subscriber only and I apologize. Here's the article itself then:

Attention Black Friday shoppers: You're probably wasting your time.

After crunching two to six years' worth of pricing data for a number of typical holiday gifts, The Wall Street Journal has turned up the best times to go deal hunting — and they almost never involve standing in the freezing cold all night.

It turns out that gifts from Barbie dolls to watches to blenders are often priced below Black Friday levels at various times throughout the year, even during the holiday season, and their prices follow different trajectories as the remaining shopping days tick down.

Watches and jewelry, typical last-minute quarry for well-heeled shoppers, get more expensive as the season progresses, according to Decide Inc., the consumer-price research firm that gathered and analyzed the data for this article. Blenders, which might sit around for months if they aren't bought in the holiday window, get much cheaper at the end.

The results reveal a lot about how retailers plot pricing strategy ahead of the year-end shopping frenzy that can account for a fifth or more of their sales. They also highlight how the industry has managed to use more sophisticated technology to turn Black Friday into a marketing bonanza by carefully selecting items for deep discounts while continuing to price broader merchandise at levels that won't kill profits.

"In the old days, all of the great deals were on Black Friday, but now you see some great deals on Black Friday and lots of offers throughout the season," says John Barbour, chief executive of electronic-toy maker LeapFrog Enterprises Inc. LF +0.56% and a former Toys "R" Us Inc. executive.

The fast rise of online shopping has presented a wealth of data for researchers looking to uncover retailers' strategies and pinpoint when prices are lowest. Decide aims to use that data to tell its member consumers whether to buy any of a number of products now or wait until later. The company is run by veterans of Farecast, a service that tried to predict whether airfares on specific routes were about to go up or down and was bought by Microsoft Corp. MSFT -0.34% for a reported $115 million in 2008.

At the request of The Wall Street Journal, Decide tracked the prices of products ranging from flat-screen televisions to Barbie dolls each day for at least two years across a number of retailers and e-commerce websites. The results included the prices at more than 50 retailers, including Amazon.com Inc., AMZN -0.56% Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT -0.01% and Macy's Inc. M -0.33%

Decide didn't track in-store prices, which differ from market to market. As a result, its findings don't reflect the "door buster" specials offered during Black Friday on limited quantities of items found only in stores. But online retailers like Amazon have become more aggressive about competing for Black Friday business, so the data still give a good picture of broader trends in pricing.

Prices for some gifts items are lowest early in the holiday season—meaning now—before retailers begin to gradually raise prices. But Decide's tracking of prices for at least two years produced some surprising conclusions about the best times to buy on average.

(Periods of lowest price identified in this article, based on averages over at least two years, differ from those in the chart, which is based only on 2011.)

Decide tracked the price of a Citizen men's black watch from 2008 through 2011 and found that the best time to buy it was early March, when the watch sank to $350 from its $600 list price. The average price for the watch on Black Friday and Cyber Monday was $379.

If you missed that window, there is still no reason to wait for a bargain. Categories like jewelry and watches become pricier throughout the months leading up to Christmas, according to Decide's data, which showed a steady incline in prices from October through December.

Ugg boots, typically a winter item, also became pricier as the holiday season progressed. Decide's data show the best time to buy Uggs during the holiday-shopping window is in September or October. The average price for a pair of women's "Classic Cardy" Uggs during those two months was $85, down from the $159.95 list price. On Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the average price jumped about 59% to $135 and $137, respectively.

Hot items like flat-screen televisions also become more expensive closer to Christmas, Decide's data found. The best holiday-season time to buy a flat-screen television is in October, says Mike Fridgen, Decide's chief executive.

The average price of a Samsung 46-inch "Professional" LCD television was $1,159 in October, according to Decide. On Black Friday, the same TV's average price was $1,355, the data found.

The same goes for almost any hot item and popular toys.

Buying early could help you snag an item before prices rise as supplies become tight.

The price of a Sesame Street Elmo plush toy increased 31% to $17.78 on Black Friday from its average in September and October, according to Decide's data.

The late-season price increases for toys that turn into hits can be dramatic. Ron Brawer, a partner at toy maker Maya Group Inc., recalls that his $29.99 Orbeez "Soothing Spa" toy was sold for as much as $90 during last year's holiday season as online retailers raised the price when supplies became limited.

"It was crazy," Mr. Brawer says. "They spent three times as much for something than if they would have bought it three weeks earlier."

For other items, it pays to wait until closer to Christmas. The mid-December price of a KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer, for example, dropped nearly 20% from the month before, according to Decide data.

Retailers will generally look to reduce inventory levels on items they overestimated or bought too much of in the days before Christmas, rather than having to resort to an even steeper discount on Dec. 26, says Arnold Aronson, a former CEO of Batus Retail Group, which in the 1980s was the parent company of department stores Saks Fifth Avenue, Marshall Field's and Kohl's.

The retail veteran, now managing director of retail strategies at consultancy Kurt Salmon, says chains have much more insight into margin and sales than they did in years past because of technology, and they're using it to carefully craft Black Friday deals that maximize the promotional benefit without wiping out profit.

"They have to provide value on the day, but they engineer it in a way that they can control their own destiny rather than fall victim to it," Mr. Aronson says.

Black Friday may be the best time to find incredibly deep discounts on some select items. But quantities are often limited, making the odds of getting those items slim.

Retailers use the offerings to get people through their doors, even at the cost of losing money on the sale, in the hopes of drumming up business for other products that aren't priced at such steep discounts.

The deepest discounts at Sears Holdings Corp.'s SHLD +0.07% Kmart and Sears stores are still offered on Black Friday, says Ron Boire, chief merchandising officer for Sears Holdings. But like other retailers, Mr. Boire said, both stores will tag many items at full price that day.

Black Friday can offer fleeting bargains on some highly prized items, too. The price of Apple Inc.'s AAPL -1.21% iPad rarely moves up or down. But last year on Black Friday, Apple offered a $41 to $61 discount on its tablet computers depending on the model.

Apple declines to comment on whether it will have a similar sale this year.

Videogame systems like Xbox also showed their biggest price drops during Black Friday and the following Cyber Monday, resulting in more than $100 in savings, according to Decide's data.

But those are exceptions to the rule. The transparency created by online shopping has made pricing much more volatile, says Mr. Fridgen, Decide's CEO. The result is that prices have become much more fluid than in years past, when items were discounted most heavily on Black Friday.

Vendors and retailers are under pressure from still-frugal consumers and heavy online competition to offer discounts more frequently throughout the holiday season.

John McCarvel, the CEO of Crocs Inc., CROX -0.45% says the shoe maker has a big Black Friday planned at its 200 U.S. stores, but he's also planning promotions in early November and after the Black Friday weekend to keep customers shopping. Last year, Crocs sent its customers a mailing with a coupon in the first week of December that drove traffic, he says.

"I think you have to do more in this marketplace," Mr. McCarvel adds, referring to the need to be aggressive with discounts. "The consumer will shop where they can get a deal, whether it's finding you online or at Amazon and other locations."
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:49 AM   #8

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I've pretty much figured that out after a few years of shopping. Every single electronic item I've purchased has always, always been cheaper the week before christmas than on black friday (from cameras to TV).

The absolute best deal I got on a big screen tv was actually in February the week before the super bowl.
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:31 AM   #9
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I used to love Black Friday! But I do agree that more deals happen throughout the holiday season. If I do go shopping, I usually hit up some of the mall clothing stores that have EVERYTHING on sale in case I need to get some gifts that way.

However, I usually have my list started now, so I will begin to watch prices to see how things compare. If there is a Black Friday deal that beats anything that I have seen to date, then maybe I will try for it.
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:03 AM   #10
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I worked as a retail manager for 5 years. After that I have no desire to be out on Black Friday. I am a big fan of Internet shopping.
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:13 PM   #11
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I wouldn't say I ever loved Black Friday shopping, but my husband and I did enjoy going out that day when the kids were younger for that "must-have" item at Walmart (once a particular bike, once a scooter, once a desktop). But that was just a few times, and 10-15 years ago. Now, I usually just go out if there is an item I want for me that happens to go on sale Black Friday. Five years ago it was a digital camcorder at Best Buy, 3 years ago it was Front-load HE washer/dryer at HH Gregg, and 2 years ago it was a particular Dyson at Kohls. For the last 5 years I researched what I wanted and had decided on that item, then waited to see if it was on sale on Black Friday. Last year we were at Disney, so I went to Magic Kingdom on Black Friday...and I didn't purchase anything. Like the article pointed out, retailers now have the technology/data to offer just enough of something to get shoppers through the door, but the item is usually limited. Most of us will purchase something else because we are there. Fellow shoppers, we are now being played.
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:23 PM   #12
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I like to go out on Black Friday to get some of the smaller things, I have never "opened" a store but I will go and get things that are on sale. Last year I ordered a Miter Saw for $70 (half off) from Lowes online and did in store pickup and got it that day. It was a good deal for something I was in the market for at the time and it has worked for everything I throw at it. For Best Buy I'm a premier silver member and last year they did a day early online Black Friday sale for members and I ordered quite a few DVDs and Blu Rays from them for cheap and a camera that was on sale to give as a present. I think I got Rio 3D Blu Ray for 15 or so and Modern Family season 2 and Big Bang season 4 for $10 a piece. I think if you have realistic expectation you can come out of it with some good deals and a smile on your face.
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Old 10-08-2012, 01:27 PM   #13
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My wife and 12 year old daughter go out on Black Friday not for the deals, we don't buy a lot of stuff. They go out because at 9, 10, and 11 (she'll be 12 at the end of the month) she just thought it was neat to wake up and go out at 4 am.

My wife has never brought home a single "Black Friday Only" priced item that we haven't seen the same price clear through February.
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Old 10-08-2012, 03:32 PM   #14
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I don't have a subscription to WSJ but I was able to see the article through the link

Well, I agree that Black Friday 'deals' are hyped up too much. I shop all year round for gifts and find deals throughout the year (just like the article's source's found). I do enjoy shopping on Black Friday but I will not get up too early in the morning. As long as you shop before 10 am and don't arrive at opening, you will find shorter lines and usually SOME deals (like everything in the store is 25% off before 10 am). I prefer going to the mall and finding these types of deals for those certain items that I know I can't get cheaper until Black Friday. And usually by Black Friday, I am already 70% done with my holiday shopping. It makes it much less stressful to know you only have a few more things on your list!
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:33 PM   #15
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Yep! I've often found the BF sales just really aren't all that. There were some good deals but honestly, I'm just over it. The only place I will go is to BB&B because it is 20% off your purchase and I need stocking stuffers for MIL -- and that place is never crowded thankfully.

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