My Black Friday success - buying (almost) nothing
PUBLISHED: 16:12 30 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:12 30 November 2017
Black Friday 2017 passed me by completely but apparently Britain’s online retailers won the battle for sales in the US-inspired event, with overall spending up on 2016 despite a drop in the number of shoppers visiting stores, writes Sheena Grant.
At least the fact that people were racking up credit card debt at a screen in their own homes rather than spilling out onto the streets saved us from a repeat of the sales-induced consumer wars of 2014 but I have to admit I didn’t log onto my computer at first light to part with my hard-earned cash.
However, I did notice the Black Friday sale at one fashion retailer seemed to consist solely of summer stock that obviously didn’t fly off the shelves when the weather was warm enough to actually wear it, so quite why anyone would want to buy it in one of the coldest weeks of the year I can’t imagine. But perhaps added hype helps. That wasn’t the only Black Friday deal that wasn’t really much of a deal at all, leading consumer watchdog Which? to issue a warning.
“The hype around Black Friday creates the impression that every offer is worth trampling over fellow shoppers to get to,” it said. “But our research has found that few Black Friday deals actually follow that pattern. We tracked the prices of products sold in 2016’s Black Friday for six months before and six months afterwards to find out whether they really were the rock-bottom prices many shoppers expect. And the answer? Usually not - 60% of Black Friday deal items we investigated were available for the same price or cheaper at other times of year.”
I managed to observe the spirit of Buy Nothing Day, the antidote to Black Friday, purchasing only a litre of milk on November 24. It’s not strictly buying nothing, but I think it still qualifies.
Thanks to reader Mark Aiken, who suggests taking Buy Nothing Day even further by having an eight-day shopping week. “This was a life-saver to us when money was tight,” says Mark, who lives in Diss. “Shop a day later each week and after seven weeks you’ve saved a week’s shopping. The children would sometimes go to the fridge and say ‘when’s shopping day this week, dad?’. But it worked.”
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