Black Friday Sales – gimmick or deal?

Author : teriann

I love getting a deal! I am not alone as most consumers enjoy buying something at a reduced cost and will go to any lengths to ensure that they don’t miss out on a great deal.

The problem is of course that you might think that you are getting a deal but you aren’t really getting the most out of your dollar. Merchants tread a delicate line between wanting to appease their customers with the desire to make a profit. They will always try to promote their product or service while promising their customers that that they will save money.

One such promotion was the heavily advertised ‘Black Friday weekend sale’ which was patterned on the American tradition of having sales after the Thanksgiving holiday. Jamaican merchants advertised that there would be significant discounts offered to customers during the weekend of November 29 – December 1, 2019.

The origin of Black Friday was not initially pleasant as ‘Black Friday’ was linked to the crash of the U.S. gold market on September 24, 1869.  The other origin story that I have heard  is that stores earned a profit or go into the black on the shopping day after Thanksgiving.

Do we really save?

Do consumers really save money on Black Friday in Jamaica? Well in order to determine if that was true, I had to go shopping. Armed with my notebook I went to the advertised sales in The Village plaza on Constant Spring Road in Kingston.

My initial response was one of astonishment because even at a fairly early hour when most persons would be at work, the traffic on  Constant Spring Road leading to Half Way Tree was at a standstill. When I finally made it inside the plaza, parking was nonexistent and tempers began to get frayed. I decided to park several feet away and walk through the stores.

At most stores I found the same underlying message, buy now these prices won’t last. However closer inspection of the prices of some items revealed that there was significant mark up before they proclaimed that the item was now up to 60% percent off its regular price. For example a shoe was ‘marked down’ from $8000 to $3500, however the discounted price might have been the original price of the shoe.

Besides inflating the cost of certain items, I noticed another ploy was to place either shop worn or very small sizes in the discounted area. This limited the consumers’ choices and frankly some of the items had simply seen better times.

Be a cautious shopper!

Several shoppers I spoke to complained that they did not see any quality items on sale. However the cashiers were quite busy and so I assume there were others who were satisfied with their purchase.  Other stores had unique marketing tools such as a wheel that customers could spin to win free prizes after making a purchase and others gave great sales pitches about the item not being found at their price anywhere else.

Overall while a fun experience, consumers need to do their research before buying items to avoid being caught up in a marketing blitz. I also noticed some unsafe practices by consumers while shopping which I will address in my next post.

Let me hear from you! Did you go shopping on Black Friday? Did you get any deals?

Teri Ann Paisley

Gleaner Online Writer

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