The Five Myths of Black Friday

by Washington Federal Team on November 20, 2011

Black Friday

Unlike this 1940 horror film, Black Friday doesn't have to be so scary.

Black Friday is either the most wonderful day of the year or the most hectic, feared day of the year, depending upon your perspective. An infamously busy shopping experience, which falls the day after Thanksgiving Day, is also treated as a holiday by many who enjoy the Friday after Thanksgiving off from work.

The traditionally low-prices on what are considered high-value and must-have items for holiday gifts create a frenzy among shoppers, who don’t want to miss out on early bird specials, one-day deals or those hard-to-find items.

Historically, there are two accounts for the origin of the term “Black Friday.” The first centers on the heavy traffic and black tire marks left on roadways following mass transportation to popular retail venues and shopping malls. The second is related to an antiquated form of accounting, in which losses were marked in red and profits were recorded in black, and so, the traditional profits from the volume of sales on this one day contributed to its naming.

Yes, but all is not as it seems with Black Friday. There are misconceptions and myths about the day, so consider holding your wallet a bit closer after reading these:

Black Friday prices are the lowest of the year

Although many Black Friday deals do offer the most deflated prices consumers have seen to date, they will not be the lowest of the year. In the weeks that follow, there will be numerous sales that either match or beat advertised Black Friday deals. If you’re willing to wait, hold out. Not only will you have the chance of getting an even greater discount, you’ll also avoid the Black Friday chaos.

Black Friday is the best time to do all holiday shopping

Although Black Friday will bring a handful of very low price tags, that does not mean that everything will receive the same significant markdown. In fact, certain seasonal items, like winter coats and other winter apparel, can actually be found for less if you wait.

You can always return Black Friday purchases

Unlike most times of the year, when returns can be made easily, Black Friday often coincides with more restrictive return policies. Instead of a refund, many retailers will instead offer store credit, which is their way of trying to recoup a portion of Black Friday price cuts. If the item you purchase is intended as a gift, be sure to ask for a gift receipt. Without one, the recipient may not even have the option of store-credit.

It’s always a good idea to sign up for store credit card

Black Friday is a traditional time for stores to push their credit card with additional discount incentives. While it may seem like the retailer is doing you a favor (by dangling deeper discounts) they are actually encouraging you to overspend. Plus, opening an additional line of credit can have an effect on your credit score.

Every good deal is printed in Black Friday ads

Printed ads are just the start when it comes to Black Friday deals. On the day of Thanksgiving, retailers have been known to advertise additional deals that are not part of the original circulars. Many of these non-print deals are found online. In order to find them, savvy shoppers must search the Web on Thanksgiving Day to be aware of those very special offerings on Black Friday.

And if Black Friday just isn’t your deal, there’s always Cyber Monday.

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