Black Friday & the Myth of Savings

Black Friday & the Myth of Savings



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A crowd of people in a shopping mall with christmas decorations.

8210389235_33f181329a_zBlack Friday is upon us. Slashed prices are everywhere, as are long lines of deal-hunting shoppers with ads in hand. I’ve been one of them many times, taking home cheap movies and gadgets with the rest of America.

But ask any one of these shoppers why they’re out at 4am the day after Thanksgiving, and they’re likely to say something like this: “I’m saving so much money!” The compelling commercials and newspaper ads sure do give the appearance that savings are up for grabs. But are they? Let’s do some math. Let’s say that a TV normally priced $500 is on sale for $250. How much did you save? $250? Wrong. You saved $0. And you actually spent $250. Money spent is money spent.

But let’s say you really are looking for a TV, and you’re going to spend the money one way or another. Fair. You may end up saving money. But be careful. Some of those “sale prices” aren’t that at all. I recently saw this pricing on a retail website that says it all.

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 2.23.26 PM

Did you catch the fine print? The retailer even admits it: that sale price doesn’t mean anything.

Sometimes it’s easy to see a compelling sale and think you’ll get the better end of it, but there’s something we all have to remember: you are the target! Those ads are designed to make you take out your wallet. We even have an entire episode dedicated to this subject, which you can watch online here.


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