This won’t be news to most disinfonauts, but here are some details you can share with your less informed friends and family. Tiffany Hsu writes at the Los Angeles Times:
As the hardiest of shoppers prepare for the annual Black Friday consumption frenzy, many are convinced it’s their one shot at a great deal.But “that’s not even close to the truth,” said Matthew Ong, senior retail analyst at online personal finance company NerdWallet Inc. Bargain hunters can — and, in some cases, should — avoid the Black Friday weekend crush, several experts said. Many characterize the shopping bonanza as an expertly marketed ploy to capitalize on shoppers’ fear of missing out. By dangling a small batch of irresistible savings, stores land hordes of hopeful shoppers all scheming to score the retail version of Willy Wonka’s golden ticket. Yet only a tiny percentage of customers end up with the most desirable deals. The rest, unwilling to leave empty-handed, walk away with lesser bargains arranged appealingly nearby. The weekend is crowded with misleading promotions, including deceptive discounts off misstated “original” prices and deals that could have been had a year earlier, according to NerdWallet. More than 90% of Black Friday ads this year feature items being sold at exactly the same price as they were last Black Friday, the financial advice website said. And some door-buster prices are available throughout the year, including a $79.99 Tommy Hilfiger jacket at Macy’s that NerdWallet said was also offered during the retailer’s Veterans Day sale. At Target, researchers discovered a KitchenAid mixer selling for less than its advertised Black Friday sale price. “Consumers make poor decisions when they’re under duress, and this is most obvious on Black Friday,” Ong said. There will be plenty of competing shoppers this year to provide that stressful situation. From Thursday through Sunday, the National Retail Federation anticipates that as many as 140 million shoppers will hit stores or retail websites. Although that’s less than the 147 million who planned to do so last year, it’s still more people than are active daily on Twitter, reside in Mexico or attended all the professional football, basketball and baseball games played in the U.S. last year. In addition, more companies than ever are opening their doors on Thanksgiving, or as Westfield Topanga mall is billing it, Grey Thursday. So on top of the shoving, sleep deprivation and occasional stampedes the shopping event tends to breed, there will be an extra layer of hostility born of the decision to stand in line instead of tuck into turkey.