3 dangers of shopping on Black Friday

A woman is holding shopping bags and looking at her phone.

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Keep this in mind while shopping.

Key points

  • There are often lots of deals on Black Friday.
  • Shopping on the day can lead you to overspend or spend on the wrong items.
  • You may also end up not getting the items you think you are paying for.

Whether you have an extensive holiday shopping list or have a ton of things you want to buy for yourself, you may be planning to hit the stores on Black Friday this year. During that big sales event, you might find deals on hundreds or even thousands of items ranging from toys to clothing to electronics.

But if you’re shopping on Black Friday, it’s important to have a strategy. It is also important to stay away from these pitfalls.

1. Being lured by a door breaker

Many people shop on Black Friday to take advantage of door busters. But retailers tend to offer those items at extremely low prices in very limited quantities. So if you force yourself to get up unreasonably early and fight your way through the crowds, you might still end up disappointed.

Worse, you may end up feeling pressured to buy something because you got up early and left the house when you just wanted to lay around and eat Thanksgiving leftovers. But it could lead to a bigger credit card bill.

2. Inability to comparison-shopping

You might see tons of Black Friday deals. But an even more impressive array of deals could be coming on Cyber ​​Monday. Since Black Friday is before Cyber ​​Monday, shopping that day means you won’t have the chance to compare prices and see where the best deals can be found.

Let’s say you see a video game your kid wants on sale for $50-$40 on Black Friday. You might rush to jump on that deal. But what if you see it’s available for $35 on Cyber ​​Monday? Of course, you can always return it and buy it again, but that’s a hassle you may not have time for. That’s why it pays to set aside some spending money for Cyber ​​Monday.

3. Getting lower quality versions of the products you buy

Have you ever wondered how retailers can offer TVs that normally sell for $1,000 for just $700 on Black Friday, or how they can discount laptops and other devices by $200 or more? The reason comes down to the fact that many of the electronics you will see advertised on Black Friday are not their original versions. Instead, they’re derivative versions made specifically for Black Friday.

Now that may not seem like a terrible thing at first. But what you need to know is that many of the deeply discounted electronics you’ll see advertised on Black Friday are made from inferior parts. Thus, manufacturers are able to sell them to retailers at a lower price, and thus retailers can still make a profit. You might want to stay away from Black Friday electronics sales to avoid disappointment when their components start to fail right out of warranty.

Many people plan to shop on Black Friday. If you’re going to follow in their footsteps, be aware of these pitfalls—and do your best to avoid making purchases you’ll regret.

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