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4 Reasons to Avoid Black Friday Like the Plague

By Maurie Backman – Nov 18, 2018 at 7:47AM

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Impulse and uncertainty are no basis for holiday cheer.

Many of us are no doubt looking forward to the upcoming holiday weekend. After all, there's nothing like spending time with friends and family, giving thanks, and enjoying what will hopefully be one of the best meals you'll have eaten all year. But if you follow up that Thanksgiving feast with an early-morning trip to the stores, that warm, fuzzy feeling might quickly start to dissipate.

Each year, millions of shoppers put themselves through the torture of Black Friday only to come away disappointed. If you're planning to spend the day after Thanksgiving searching high and low for the best deals out there, consider this your wake-up call to scrap that idea. Here's why.

The words Black Friday in black letters against a red background, surrounded by all black.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

1. Too much temptation

Any time you enter a retail store, you run the risk of making an impulse buy. But that likelihood is even higher on Black Friday, because not only will retailers get aggressive in marking things down, but you're apt to approach that day with the mentality that any item you purchase is a bargain right off the bat. Remember, when you buy a $200 appliance you didn't really need for $150, you don't save yourself $50. Rather, you cost yourself $150. Talk about a waste.

2. Products can be hard to vet

Black Friday retailers are notorious for selling what are known as derivative products at majorly reduced prices to get customers in the door. Derivatives are lower-quality versions of the products you're used to seeing in stores. Therefore, if you see a TV that's normally $1,500 advertised for just $800, chances are, the retailer isn't taking a hit, but rather, it's offering a similar model with cheaper components. Furthermore, because these derivative products tend to come out as a limited run, it's hard to do your research on whether they're worth your money. As such, you might think you're scoring an expensive item for less, only to have it break on you prematurely because it was never that good to begin with.

3. Sale items don't last

Black Friday retailers typically offer up a limited selection of sale items, leaving customers to duke it out over who gets what. Here's the problem though: Many folks who miss out on those doorbusters feel compelled to justify the trip out to the stores, and so they end up buying something just for the heck of it. The result? Wasted money.

4. Too many crowds

Safety issues aside, shopping on Black Friday means battling hordes of people and struggling to get sales associates' attention for basic questions. As such, it's not only a less pleasant shopping experience but a less informative one. Say you're looking for a kitchen appliance and want to check out different models before moving forward. On a normal day, you'd be able to read through different product descriptions and ask all the questions you want, but on Black Friday, you'll barely have a chance to squeeze down the aisle, let alone stand there soliciting advice from a store employee while attempting to comparison shop. In other words, if you shop on Black Friday, you're less likely to walk away feeling confident in your purchase.

Tempting as it may be to shop on Black Friday, remember that you'll often find better deals in the weeks leading up to and following that event. And when you think about how chaotic your shopping experience is likely to be, it surely makes the case for staying home and enjoying some leftovers instead.

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