Angela’s Deep Thoughts Regarding Black Friday

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In my post yesterday welcoming November, I hinted I had some feelings about Black Friday. Yes, I do. And this morning I would like to share them with you in a rollicking post I’m calling “Angela’s Deep Thoughts Regarding Black Friday.”

To Shop or Not To Shop, That is the Question.

Let’s cut to the chase.

If you are truly a savvy shopper? You can scrap Black Friday altogether. You do not need to shop Black Friday to get the best deals.

You see, you can use the principle of “buy low and stock up” on other things besides food. In fact, if you’ve been following my site there’s a fair chance you’re winding down on your holiday shopping already. Consider just these few toy deals we’ve seen:

And if even if you haven’t gotten these deals? There will soon be an abundance of online and store deals to snag.

To sum it up, you don’t need to shop Black Friday.

Fake Black Friday Sales and Other Tomfoolery

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend: retailers trying to drum up the Black Friday Madness Spirit on days that are clearly not the day after Thanksgiving. I suspect this has a whole lot to do with the recession. But guess what? If every day is my birthday, who cares when it really is my birthday?

I hate, loathe in fact, these phony Black Friday sales. What am I referring to you ask?

While retailers may think shoppers enjoy this, I suspect it rather exhausts them and dilutes the effectiveness. Call it a sale, call it a hot sale, but please, don’t call it Black Friday unless it’s November 25th!

The Psychology of Black Friday

Let’s consider for a moment the psychology of the day, shall we?

No one is a window shopper on Black Friday. I mean, really – you think you’re going to wake up at 3 am so you can price compare at several stores, get the best deal? Oh HECK NO. You are going to buy, and buy you shall, baby.

So what happens when you get to the store to find the $15 puffer vest you woke up for at 3 am and stood in a line the length of the Mississippi to buy turns up sold out? I’ll tell you what will happen. You’ll need to buy something else. You cannot return home empty handed! And that’s when you realize while the $15 puffer vests are gone, the $40 puffer vests remain aplenty. And you’re walking around in a stupor because you really should be sleeping and you’ve not had a drop of coffee and before you know it you find yourself thinking incoherently “40 isn’t such a bad deal, let’s take 7”.

And then somewhere between noon and 3pm when you come to, you’ll realize you’ve spent almost $300 on puffer vests.

I prefer Amazon

In 2009, I decided that I would try to personally compile as many Black Friday deals and ads as possible. This was a fool’s errand. Not only did I realize halfway through that I was spending precious time away from my family on a major holiday, I also realized that Amazon was changing prices in real time, besting big box stores doorbuster specials by the hour, and offering free shipping to boot.

It was an “aha” moment.

If some do-gadget I really want is $10 at Kmart on Black Friday (and there are only 20 of them in the store and the 50 other people in line likely want said do-gadget), why on earth would I not just buy the do-gadget on Amazon for $8 and enjoy free shipping? Help me out, people.

But, Angela. What about Traditions?

So this is the part when I retract everything I just said in the spirit of “tradition.”

OK, well not everything I said, but just some of it.

Listen, I completely and totally get that some of you have traditions when it comes to this day. You get up with your friends or family, and sing Christmas songs all the way to JC Penney’s.

Hey, I am not about to spoil your fun. In fact, this is one of the reasons I’m still going to be teaming up with other bloggers to find some deals for you. It’s also why I will be sharing Fred Meyer’s Black Friday, which by the way, is my personal pick for “nicest store to shop at on Black Friday.”

In Conclusion

To sum up this post, I think that Black Friday is a way for stores to snooker you into spending more money than you need to and you could do alright by staying at home at shopping on Amazon.

But if you’re planning on shopping Black Friday in the name of tradition? Remember that a wise elf once said: “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear.”


  1. Phyllis says

    I agree! And Fred Meyer IS the best place to shop on Black Friday. Plenty of stock, not too crowded, my fave for sure.

  2. Sue says

    Since I get up real early every day and my frist priority is getting to my 9:30 spin class on black friday, I have never really done the sales except for going to FM after class a few times, BUT this year I have swagbucks Amazon money to spend and I’ve not bought online much—IS Amazon fairly easy to navigate on black friday?? Are there better deals that day?? Sould I wait until then to use my giftcards?? I would love to haer your thoughts—Thanks

    • Christina says

      Last year they did “lightning” deals on Amazon and that’s where I scored a majority of my gifts. They had lightning deals every day (if I remember right) and they were often much better deals than Black Friday prices. You have to keep an eye out, though…they go quick! Last year they were offering the Kindle for $99 that sold out in a matter of seconds, just to give you an idea.
      I’ve never shopped black friday online at all, so I have no idea!

  3. Sandra M says

    I love black friday and truly a savvy budget keeper of a person I score through the ads well before time. And when I do go if they don’t have my item I don’t buy, period.

    The ONLY think I hate about Black Friday is the fact that retailers no longer believe in Thanksgiving being a holiday. They keep opening up stores earlier and earlier every year. I sucks when you have a husband who works retail and the time to open used to be 6am, 3am, midnight and now 9pm Thanksgiving night. Give it a rest people! Let those who do work in retail spend time with their families. Not waking up T-giving Day to eat and go back to sleep because they have to work that night. -End rant.

    • Christina says

      I think the trend of stores opening earlier and earlier is disturbing. For one, why cut in to an actual holiday that is meant to spend with family and reflect on the things that one is thankful for, only to say after dinner “Sorry guys, but I HAVE to get that new, hot toy so in the interest of saving $10, I have to leave.” It’s sad :(
      My mother-in-law, sister-in-law, husband, and I all accidentally traveled to Walmart’s Black Friday sale last year-I say accidentally because I had no idea they were starting at Midnight and I had an emergency baby items run (read: we needed diapers PRONTO). We ended up getting caught up in all the chaos and were looking at the items when I noticed that their Pajamas on their BF “promo” price were the SAME price as they normally are- $5. We realized the deals weren’t deals at all. But I was totally dumbfounded at how many people woke up just to go shopping at Walmart at Midnight to save a few bucks.

      • arussell says

        I think you hit the nail on the head. It’s hype. The stores WANT you to believe you’re getting a good deal and as long as folks buy into the idea that Black Friday is a bargain, these stores will fill up earlier and earlier.

        Sorry, but I for one am NOT leaving the Thanksgiving table to buy toys or anything else for that matter.

    • says

      You are so right Sandra! I just left a 9 year career in high end retail because of things like this. Combine this lack of respect for employees with cut benefits (goodbye health insurance, it was nice to know you!) and disrespect from customers and it just wasn’t worth it anymore. One thing I noticed in the past few years of Black Fridays was the sense of entitlement shoppers have about this day: they expect you to be open before dawn, provide hundreds of dollars worth of food & drink, and slash prices below cost. This just isn’t possible at small local retailers in this economy. That’s not to say such stores don’t have deals, but to me “Black Friday” is a big box store event.

      I personally do not shop Black Friday, because Thanksgiving is a very important holiday & I prefer to spend a quiet day with my family. Not to mention the “deals” aren’t that amazing. That’s another perk of working retail – you learn that many “sales” are a bunch of hooey! 😉

      • arussell says

        And there you have it = a bunch of hooey!!! LOL

        I truly think that Black Friday prices can be bested at other points during the shopping season or throughout the year by following sites like mine.

  4. Merry Montoya-Kenworthy says

    I love your feelings on this… I don’t do it so I babysit the grandkids. When they are done, if there is really something I was interested in, I go to Freddie’s because I know it will be there and have a comparable, if not best price. I may try the Amazon thing this year because of the Swagbucks I have earned! Keep up the good work! :)

  5. Mona says

    This is just why I love your blog! I got up early one year and headed to Walmart, big mistake! Nothing in the ad was on the shelves, stuff was strewn all over the floor…. Just so not worth my time.

    Our family drew names last year and so we just needed to find one gift and this year we are just buying for the kids. We are trying to focus on what it is all truly about and spend time enjoying our family. Maybe break out the board games I bought with a killer rebate last year and play by a cozy fire. :)

  6. Catherine says

    I totally agree with you. The last couple of years, I did drug store deals on Black Friday (and last year, on thanksgiving day!) and there was no one else in the store. It was great & I didn’t spend a ton of time out of the house.

  7. Michelle says

    Yeah, I agree, I tried to get tech stuff one year, and couldn’t get out of the store until 3 hours later, but then all the limited time sales were over. I also go to drug stores to do sells, they aren’t crowded and you can get a good deal.

  8. says

    I completely agree with you regarding Amazon. Last year I was able to pick up SEVERAL deals that no Black Friday “sale” could even touch…I got my son a $50 LEGO container for $15, my sister-in-law the entire LOTR collection for $3, and my nephew a super-cool Ironman toy that was on “sale” at regular retailers for $30, but got it for $18 on Amazon. We’ve been Prime members for a very long time and even opted to keep the Prime membership and CANCEL our Costco membership because Amazon was just a better deal on so many fronts…
    This year my Sister-in-law called me with excitement about Target opening on Midnight for their Black Friday sale. Unfortunately, I don’t share in her excitement because most of my shopping (the very little that is left) will be done on Amazon. I was able to take advantage of so many toy sales and deals (Crayola chalk making packs and glow in the dark chalks on clearance for $1.12 thankyouverymuch) that I have very little need for holiday shopping during the holidays!!

  9. Erica says

    Thanks for this Angela! I was planning to pick your brain on the matter 😉 I’ve never done Black Friday, but I’ve been curious about it now that I’m a couponer. Frankly, I’d rather be picking out a Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving than getting up at the crack of dawn to get trampled at a store. Think I’ll stick with the Amazon deals…and if I get the hankering to wander out, the farthest I’ll go is our trusty Fred Meyer!

    • arussell says

      Shopping Fred Meyer’s sale is just plain fun.

      A couple years ago I shopped Fred Meyer’s BF sale and then decided on a whim to head to Target. BAD. IDEA. The difference between the attitude/stock/spirit of the sales was AH-MAZING.

  10. Julie says

    I love to go shopping on Black Friday. You won’t find me standing in line waiting for the doors to open, but after the crazy crowds thin a little, I can find some great deals. One department store in my area, for example, has 50% off all sneakers that day only. I stock up. I’ve also scored some great bedding deals.
    I don’t go gift shopping on Black Friday, but I do preview the ads in case there’s something for someone on my gift list.
    I did enjoy Amazon last Christmas shopping season.

  11. Jaylene says

    Last year at Target I got Pirex (sp?) bowls for $19, and a Tfal cookware set for $50. These items were half-off. I got 3 of each to have on hand for bridal shower and wedding gifts.

    Wal-Mart is good for games.

    Fred Meyer is good for socks.

    Plus, yes, it is a tradition for me. :-)

  12. Joni says

    My sister and I like to do our Black Friday shopping together with a large cup of coffee. I enjoy standing in line outside the store talking to the people around me. It’s almost the only time I get to go to a store without at least one of my children with me. :-)

  13. says

    I don’t do black Friday.

    In fact, I try to avoid the mall and large big box stores the whole season as much as possible.

    I do the great majority of my shopping online, and I’m also a huge fan of using deal sites like Groupon to give experiences.

    I do know people who do just Fred Meyer on bf. FM usually has the free donut holes, and they typically have a great deal on socks, which are a stellar donation item to area shelters this time of year.

    We actually got our wedding bands at FM-I guess you could call me a super fan! :)

  14. says

    I was really shocked at how many prices were “matched” at Amazon throughout the entire season! A few of the DVD’s we were looking for in the middle of December were the same price at Amazon as they were at Target. They don’t advertise the matching per say, they just do it.

    I have done BF a few times and it’s kind of fun, but we only do one store and then we’re spent. This year we’re going to visit family where there is absolutely no chance to shop the next day and I’m kind of happy. I have the majority of my shopping done already by following online deals and picking up a few things here and there.

    I know it is a tradition for some and that’s awesome, but the attitude of some that shop that day and the chaos are enough reason to keep me at home with my family. Possibly with a click or two on the Amazon site. :)

  15. Debbie says

    The puffer vest analogy had me cracking up – mostly because I have been guilty of buying too many overpriced puffer vests in the past myself. I got wise to Black Friday when I started couponing and getting deals. This is one group of people the retailers cannot outsmart on Black Friday! Us couponers usually have our Christmas lists prepared months in advance, are buying gifts throughout the year, and even if not, we know our prices and we know a deal when we see one. We are not fooled by the all the hype! :)

    I do love the tradition of going out to a store or two on Black Friday though so usually I will scan all the Thanksgiving day ads (that is a tradition in itself!) and make a list of all the deals that match my Christmas list. Then I pick a couple stores to visit based on that. If the place looks picked over or the lines are too long, I don’t bother. But like you, I now do most of my shopping ahead of time and online.

    Two years ago I was taking my sister home around 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. I had been shopping prices on laptops and knew there was going to be a great deal on one at Best Buy so I drove by just to see if there was a line, how long it was. I think they were opening the store at 5 a.m. and the line was already longer than anything I’ve ever stood in my life! No way, not in 40 degree rain. I went home, checked a few of the black friday deal websites and found same price on similar computer online at Staples, free shipping, got points or ebates or something for my purchase, and was asleep in bed hours before Best Buy ever opened their doors!

    Definitely sign up for one of the black friday ad notifications like “bfads” and there are a couple of others I think. Bfads is pretty wise to the hype and they do let you know about hot deals happening before and after Black Friday.

    • arussell says

      Do you think that there is something about the “thrill of the hunt” for these people?

      Maybe it’s not so much getting the deal, but the fact that they overcame great obstacles to get it? Does that make it somehow “better?” Hmmm. Maybe there could be a part two to the psychology of Black Friday…

  16. Karrie K says

    I used to shop bf but it has gotten out of hand.I agree with the Amazon shopping. I had surgery last year a week before thanksgiving and couldn’t walk but amazingly everything was delivered to my door. So much easier! And didn’t have to lug kids around.

  17. t says

    *Applause!!!* I posted on fb that I will not go out on Black Friday but have always wondered if I was missing out on good deals each year. I went one time (our first year back on the mainland) and only came home with the flu (the next day so I know i got it in the stores). I went to get a computer actually. This was at Office Depot. I took the ad in with me, couldn’t find it, found a person to help me who said, “OH we don’t have THAT one in the store. You have to order it and it’s not really that price, it’s ___ (a much higher price).” I had already been to several other stores for other items and all of the items were gone before I got there. So after that I was sure it was all a scam, but secretly wondered if I was in fact missing out on some deals. Glad to read this and to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way about Black Friday. I too love to shop Amazon for Christmas gifts. They have some really great deals, and recently I bought the new Diary of a Wimpy kid on sale, free shipping, and used swagbucks to get it – OOP $0! Still beaming about that one. Thanks for another fabulous article, Angela!

  18. Mary S says

    Black Friday is a tradition for the ladies in my family. Every year JoAnn’s has an awesome sale on flannel, so we get up early and go buy material (we make quilts with it). Last year I did go to Target at 3am to get an XBox 360, because it was on sale and you got a store gift card on top of that, but I ran in, grabbed that, checked out at the electronics register, and was out of the store in 15 minutes! That was a big surprise present for my hubby and son, so getting it for almost half price was WELL worth getting up early and braving the crowd! I was impressed with my Target last year – the big flatscreen tvs that were under $300, they had 80 of them in stock! It was really hard not to talk myself into getting one because even for that great price it wasn’t in my budget – ever since then I’ve been kicking myself, so maybe this year……

    Usually, though, I’m not interested in the big deal items, so by the time we’re done at JoAnn’s I can visit the other stores and get the smaller deals I want without the crowds. And if what I want is out, I refuse to buy a similar item unless they are going to match the price.

    A few years ago, we hit the ToysRUs midnight opening – We were after one big toy that was 75% off, and not that popular, so we were able to get it, but it took us over an hour to get thru the checkout line. The problem there is since people don’t have to drag their butts out of bed in the middle of the night, twice as many people showed up, and the store still only had 5 each of the big ticket items. That’s the worst, they know 200 people are going to show up, but only have 5 of the item in stock.

    A funny experience we had from last year – when we were done everywhere else, we decided to see what was left at Walmart, and headed to the Renton store. So it was almost 11am, but there was a line around the side of the building, almost to the back, because they were only letting one person go in as one went out! Yet the “doorbuster” sale got over at 10am! I was denied entry into the store and told to “get in line”. So I called the Federal Way store, and they laughed when I asked how crowded it was – said it cleared out almost two hours before that. We left one car parked & piled in one car to drive over to Federal Way, shopped, ate lunch, and when we came back for the car almost two hours later, there was still a line. Crazy, huh?

    I didn’t realize that Amazon had such good deals, though, so I may be shopping there as well this year.

  19. Mandi says

    This is exactly how I feel! It’s funny because we were just talking about this yesterday. My brother’s girlfriend asked me if I was going and I said no. I haven’t gone since 2002 and I am never going again. Last year I got the same deals or better online. I used, Best and Didn’t have to go anywhere and I got the same deals! I love the Internet. I never went for years anyway because my family owns a Bakery and our busy time was the three days before Thanksgiving. Last year we made over 300,000 individual dinner rolls. I’m too tired to do anything the day after Thanksgiving!

  20. Shannon Campbell says

    Last year I went to Toys R Us on thanksgiving night. Stood in line for a couple hours just to get in the door found the items I wanted stood in line for at least another hour or so to pay for the items. By the time I was done at the register I was exhausted later looking at my receipt I noticed I hadnt gotten the great deals I thought I was getting and ended up returning most of the items. This year I have decided not to give in to the hype of black friday and just go to my local Fred Meyer (where I actually got the best deals last year) and maybe enjoy my shopping experience.

  21. jolene says

    In 2009 when my oldest was 2 we went to Toys R Us at midnight on black Friday. NEVER EVER AGAIN!!!! By the time we got in the store everything we had come for was sold out. We couldn’t even walk down the aisles. To make things worse we had our younger son with us in a baby bjorn. One of the employees told us that people had been in line since 6pm (when we were eating Thanksgiving dinner). In 2010 we had learned our lesson and kept a laptop on Amazon to watch the lighting deals. We were up late but in our slippers with a cup of hot chocolate. No more crowds for us. Thank God for the internet.

  22. Candra says

    I know this post is a couple weeks old, but I thought I’d throw this in there- the best place to shop on Black Friday? The trift store. There is NOBODY in there and you can shop in peace without being shoved out of the way by anybody’s large purse! 😛


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