Financial literacy

5 Tricks that Retailers Use on Black Friday

Black Friday is known as the best time to stock up on gifts for the holidays. Some reports say that 30% of holiday shopping is done on Thanksgiving weekend. While there are deals to be had, some shoppers are being duped into buying low quality products or spend more than they planned for.

It is easy to get caught up in the hype and excitement of the weekend. Here are 5 tricks that retailers use to thank you for your hard earned cash.

1. Inferior products

Just because the big screen television in the window looks similar to the one you have wanted all year, doesn’t mean that it is comparable in quality.

More and more retailers are selling cheaper versions of TVs, laptops, tablets and other electronics that are specifically made for the holidays. The items can be the same brand and even look just like the higher-priced model, but have fewer features that you might not notice until you try to use it.

As an example, Maybe the tablet has a smaller storage capacity, the TV will has a lower resolution, the camera doesn’t have a battery. It still might be a good deal, just not as good as you thought.

Consumer Reports put out a warning that another way that retailers lower the prices is the offer shorter warranties.
Even though it feels like you need to rush, make sure you come prepared with all the product specifications and the model number that you are looking for and always ask about the warranty.

2. Mail in rebates

Many sales ads for Black Friday advertise lower prices that already include a mail-in rebate. When you get to the register, you get hit with a higher price and form you can fill out.

Staples is advertising a Toshiba laptop for $300. When you get to the till it they will charge you $350 and tell you that you can “easily” fill out the form to get an extra $50 off.

Another common tactic is for a department store to mark down one or two items from each department and then advertise that they are having a “25% storewide sale.” This just means that you can save 25% off of items from all around the store, not from every item in the store.

3. Limited Stock

They may mean it when they say it is a “doorbuster” deal. Some stores many advertise a product and then only have 2–3 in stock so you have to get there first. Wal-Mart is planning to go the other direction by guaranteeing prices for some of its best deals, as long as customers arrive on time by giving out a voucher to buy it later on.

Other places may do the same, but be careful, if it is a model that is only offered on Black Friday, they might not ever get more stock in and your rain check will leave you out in the cold.

4. Inflated “original” prices

Just because you get 50% off the original price doesn’t guarantee it is a deal. Some retailers will just advertise a higher original price and then give a bigger discount to trick you into thinking you are getting a deal.

This is especially true for products that it is hard for the lay person to judge the actual value such as jewelry and accessories.

5. Bait and switch

After you miss out on the doorbuster deal the retailer apologizes and offers you a similar, but more expensive, product. Before you give in to this shady tactic, do a little quick research with a comparison app like Shop Savvy or RedLaser.

It is much easier to enjoy your shopping when you know what you are looking for. Just because there is a crowd, doesn’t mean that you are getting a good deal. Knowing what you are getting into before you walk through the door and prevent buyers remorse. Happy shopping!!

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Oleksandr graduated from Dnipro National University of railway transport in Ukraine. At first, he was a customer success manager at PocketGuard and in 1.5 years has been promoted to product manager....

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