Holiday shopping and Black Friday


As a significant percentage of the population begin to prepare to work off their turkey dinner by racing through Wal-Mart fighting with the woman next to them for a $100 TV, comes a story that all that effort may be for nearly nothing.

The Wall Street Journal reports that many stores are now working with manufacturers to determine how to develop products to get to a certain price point for the holidays, so a door buster is pre-calculated and guarantees a certain profit margin.

Meanwhile, some stores are recycling deals from the previous year, reinforcing the fact that they may not be spectacular deals after all.  After all, if they can structure the deals to be identical year after year, it’s not what a sale is historically thought to be: A store taking a hefty markdown to get rid of items they don’t want.

The reality is, this is retail theater. As such, the goal is to do a gut check and a bit of homework – does this deal really work out to be a deal?  I was at Macy’s the other day, and items were on sale, with additional savings when using a coupon, and using a Macy’s card.  That stack is calculated to make them a profit; if people skip a step, the store just pockets a higher percentage.  As such, impulse shopping should be avoided.  Plan ahead, think about what you’ll buy, do some historical price checking, and buy when the price is better than average, and you’ll at least do about as well as you can.

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