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90% of Black Friday deals were the same price or cheaper six months before

535 points14 hoursbbc.com
ayngg9 hours ago

It has been interesting watching the concept of Black Friday (and cyber monday) evolve over the past 20 or so years from being mostly an "American big box retailer dumping excess stock" thing to "oh boy its black Friday, time to go buy stuff!" thing. The entire event has basically been undeservingly co-opted by everyone looking to cash in on hype over an event that basically doesn't even resemble what made it a thing in the first place.

Just like how for singles day in Asia, retailers shamelessly just jack prices up beforehand to make their sale prices look like discounts. These events seem more about whipping the naive mainstream consumer into a consumption frenzy than having real deals to be excited about. While those deals still exist, they are like nuggets of gold that you have to sift through the noise to find.

bryanrasmussen3 hours ago

>Just like how for singles day in Asia, retailers shamelessly just jack prices up beforehand to make their sale prices look like discounts.

This would be illegal in Denmark https://www.forbrugerombudsmanden.dk/hvad-gaelder/markedsfoe...

English

>If an item, for example, has cost DKK 1,000 throughout the year, and it is set up to DKK 1,500 for 6 weeks and then comes on “sale” for DKK 1,000 again, this is misleading, which is illegal.

obviously you can do stuff like set the price up for a longer period to escape being illegal but then you probably have a bunch of stock sitting around that doesn't move.

although as a general rule when I see black friday deals in Denmark I am not too thrilled at the savings, maybe because they tend to be realistic markdowns.

greggman323 minutes ago

Often raising the price raises the perception and increases sales.

https://www.google.com/search?q=raising+prices+increases+sal...

Thlom1 hour ago

In Norway we have similar laws. There's also at least two sites that track prices from various online stores, so you can check cheapest price for almost any product and track it's price going back years.

aembleton1 hour ago

Why would you need much or any stock? Just set the price to DKK 10,000. Then you don't need to carry much stock as no one will be buying and then advertise 90% off.

bryanrasmussen1 hour ago

I'm pretty sure that would also fall under the laws regarding misleading the consumer, and also let's say I am a company that sells coffee makers - in order to do this tactic I have to choose a potentially sellable coffee maker and decide not to sell it for a longer period of time in order to make a potential killing on black friday at the same time when consumers checking prices on coffee makers on pricerunners and other tools see that you have a coffee maker that everyone else has for 1000 at 10000 and decide your company is lousy and not to want to buy anything from you?

darkwater1 hour ago

But you are loosing sales the rest of the year and putting you into excessive stress during the black Friday period. Not a good strategy in my book.

hebrox3 hours ago

I just read somewhere last week that the The Netherlands would get a similar law. Searching for a link, I found out that its actually the European "New Deal for Consumers" package [0]

[0]:https://leveranciers.bol.com/en/need-help/legislation/legisl...

lordnacho2 hours ago

Question is whether this is enforced? Is there a way to fine firms? Can you complain about them?

bryanrasmussen2 hours ago

the site I linked to is the consumer rights ombudsmand, so you can complain to them, and the consumer rights ombudsmand can also undertake independent investigations if she wants (although unsure about how that works)

on edit: consumer rights of course covers more than this but going through the site can find cases where companies have been fined etc. for violations of rights - for example https://www.forbrugerombudsmanden.dk/nyheder/forbrugerombuds...

in this case company reported to police for illegal telephone sales.

pirate7878 hours ago

This take is wrong, Black Friday has always been about the beginning of the holiday shopping season, traditionally holiday decorations started the day after Thanksgiving and the doorbuster deals are loss leaders to drive traffic to stores. Source: middle age American. Also history: https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2021/11/24/franskgivi...

ayngg7 hours ago

Sorry, I didn't mean that what I said was the origin, only that was what it was marketed as around that period, and I should clarify my context that I was talking about what it was like in Canada, where it has only relatively recently become a thing. I guess what I meant to refer to was its etymological shift from the "selling excess stock" narrative in America (which itself was just a rebranding of the previous meaning) towards becoming a global event of consumption for consumption's sake in itself.

Maybe I am wrong, but I feel like it has only been within the past couple decades that we have seen things marketed as black Friday outside of America, or sales co-opting the name for things like pre-black Friday sales, extended black friday sales and things like black Friday in summer.

mulvya4 hours ago

> "selling excess stock" narrative in America

That wasn't the narrative in 2002, my first Black Friday.

ayngg2 hours ago

Yeah you are right, it was more like getting into the black.

makeitdouble7 hours ago

To me there is two specific aspect of Black Friday that make it special for online shopping:

- retailers are showcasing a limited number of goods that they expect to sell fast.

This means short delivery times, no weird third party shipping from obscure places. They are prepared, and even buying at the same price as usual, the experience tends to be better.

- the piling up effect makes it worse for delivery, worker conditions are probably worse, even if they get paid some amount more than usual.

This makes it a very mixed bag, and I wish we had a better grip on the second point, to be able to fully appreciate the first one.

barbazoo5 hours ago

> retailers are showcasing a limited number of goods that they expect to sell fast.

I wonder how much of that is true and how much is just make believe.

makeitdouble3 hours ago

Anecdotally, last year a bit before Black Friday we wanted a new iPad (unrelated to the event, it just happened that way). Ordering directly from Apple had a 2 weeks delivery date, getting it from Amazon during Black Friday landed it 2 days after in front of our door.

And it was cheaper (same price, but bigger storage)

ajsnigrutin9 hours ago

I live in slovenia.

We literally have all-month black friday "deals".

sandos3 hours ago

In Sweden we have "black week" starting monday before black friday, then of course black friday, cyber weeked, cyber monday. Then there is any number of made-up things by various sellers too. Traditionally there is always a sale between christmas and new years, and basically all of January too.

I think this year was not very common in that for example TVs had the same low price the entire week, usually someone has a lower price during just the friday but not for popular models this year.

mrweasel2 hours ago

Denmark it's the same deal. "Black Week/Month", mostly because at least for online retailers, stores don't want to deal with the high influx of customers on a single day.

Personally I liked "Mellandagsrea" more than Black Friday back in the day. It was much more calm.

el-salvador3 hours ago

Something similar happens in El Salvador.

One retailer trademarked "Black Friday" so no other store can use it.

This caused Black Friday to become Black November, Blue November, Red Weekend. I think we even have deals in September.

colechristensen8 hours ago

In the US I was seeing things labeled as "Black Friday" in the middle of the summer.

cromka8 hours ago

Probably Lenovo?

beebeepka8 hours ago

Steam sales lost all meaning years ago. It happens to everything that transitions from rare to usual

tpxl4 hours ago

They haven't lost meaning, you can still wait a bit to get your game cheaper. It does usually follow a pattern of: opening sale 10%, full price for a bit, seasonal sales 10-50%, eventually up to 90% off during seasonal sales.

+1
mordae44 minutes ago
+1
beebeepka2 hours ago
colechristensen8 hours ago

I remember the day after Thanksgiving being a day my relatives (at least the ones interested in shopping in malls, etc) being excited about going shopping. Lots of people had the day off, originally I think "black Friday" just meant that stores were really busy.

surge5 hours ago

It literally meant the day stores would go into the "black" because many stores would be in the red for the year overall until they sold so much on that one day they'd turn a profit for the year or go into the "black" on their accounting.

staticman25 hours ago

You are repeating a fairy tale some marketers invented to explain the black friday name.

Black friday is a term for a day when something horrible ocurs, the term was applied to the day after thanksgiving by police in an american city because of the difficulty in maintaining crowd control and it caught on.

+1
Dylan168074 hours ago
julianlam8 hours ago

Sure, if you get caught up in the mania and hype of any particular "sale" and don't price compare then you're bound to get ripped off.

I wouldn't dismiss singles day, though. There were some surprisingly cheap (both in price and quality) items I picked up on singles day.

Got an AirPod clone for something like a dollar last year.

This year I picked up a coffee grinder off the official retailer for Timemore on AliExpress. The official Canadian retailer charges a 100% premium on the product. No thanks, I'll wait for it to come on the slow boat.

I waited for singles day and got it for another $10 off.

dougmwne8 hours ago

I used to chase these kinds of deals, but if you stop to think about it, spending hours to optimize for $10 is almost certainly a terrible waste compared to what you could have been doing with that time. Deal seeking always eats up many hours of time for these small gains. That analysis skill applied to any kind of business problem is easily worth thousands.

No offense intended if this is pure stamp collecting.

toast03 hours ago

When I was salaried, the marginal value of my time was $0. Thar extra thirty minutes shopping costs me nothing and gives me satisfaction. Now that I'm retired, my marginal value is still $0. Taking longer to spend money is in itself valuable. If I get discouraged by the shopping and don't buy the item I was looking for, that's the best outcome for my wallet.

allen_lasn20 minutes ago

The marginal value of your time was not $0. You could have been doing something other than shopping with your time. That thing could have afforded you pleasure or had some other utility. The dollar value of that utility was not zero.

Even resting has some benefit to you. Unless your only alternative is some mildly unpleasant activity which doesn't allow you to rest, that time was not valueless.

AussieWog937 hours ago

I run an e-commerce business and see the opposite as well.

People who earn, say, $30/hr won't take literally 2 seconds to scroll past the sponsored listings and save $50+.

+1
executesorder663 hours ago
cfjgvjh7 hours ago

That only works if the use of that time towards a more productive activity actually pays off in that short duration; sometimes comparing shops and making sure you're getting the best is the most fun part, so there's some utility derived from there as well. At least for myself, I only really deal-hunt during Black Friday and anytime else I get what I need when I need them.

throwaway9843933 hours ago

Welcome to Capitalism! Please enjoy our NEW and IMPROVED advertiser-sponsored holiday!!! Now with 500% more FREE SHIPPING! after $9.95 processing fee. Deal only lasts 'til Monday, so act fast! Use our exclusive code BLACKFRIDAY to get FREE SHIPPING on top of the pre-existing FREE SHIPPING! 2x FREE!! (In case you miss the deal, the sale will still be on after Monday)

nitsuaeekcm9 hours ago

For those who use Amazon and want cost perspective on particular items, Camelcamelcamel is a superpower (https://camelcamelcamel.com/)

I’m sure one day I’ll find out they make money in all sorts of sketchy ways, but in the mean time it’s a great free website, and I’m continually astounded to see how often retailers play around with the prices they post.

kolla14 minutes ago

That page could use the help of a designer / ux person. Things from the 90s look better than that.

fasouto9 hours ago

They do money by adding their affiliate code to the links.

However the Amazon Affiliate TOS [0] say:

(y) Unless otherwise agreed by Amazon, your Site must not have price tracking and/or price alerting functionality.

I see many sites with this functionality. I don't know if they all got approved by Amazon or they are not enforcing this clause.

[0] https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/help/operating/policies...

maltyr9 hours ago

They're a part of the affiliate program, and they are price tracking, so I would say they have implicit permission, or else they would have been long kicked off of the affiliate program.

I recall reading that the reason CamelCamelCamel is permitted is because they ONLY price track Amazon (vs tracking multiple retailers), but I can't recall where that came from.

fivre8 hours ago

Terms of Service are universally wishlists of things a legal department may wish to enforce if they are so inclined. In this case, they are not so inclined.

stjohnswarts7 hours ago

Basically the same as warnings on medications. They list almost every known symptom without any sort of probability so they're almost useless.

estaseuropano5 hours ago

They don't list symptoms, they list things that happened in the study population in clinical trials. Which is why every medicine has headache and nausea as 'possible side effects'.

Havoc1 hour ago

To be fair that seems like one of the most respectable uses of affil links though. They’re providing actual value on top of what the supplier provides.

Happy for them to take a cut as a result

ziml778 hours ago

Maybe Amazon thinks camelcamelcamel is helping more than hurting?

ct08 hours ago

Well I do use them to "time" purchases through Amazon, not look at other retailers to make my purchase location decision.

wingworks4 hours ago

I have alerts setup there to alert me when the price gets to $x, 1 of the few places I have setup like that. So in my case, I definitely buy more from Amazon because of the site.

gonesilent3 hours ago

Amazon must think so it's allowed camelcamelcamel to live on for 8+ years I've been using it.

Causality13 hours ago

It speaks to the truth of the original post that I set up a ton of price alerts six months ago and exactly zero of them have gone off.

larnik3 hours ago

This gives you some idea, but it doesn't include coupons, deals and lightning sales in the tracking.

gaius_baltar12 hours ago

This have been a joke for a few years here in Brazil, we call the day "Black Fraud" (sounds a little better in Portuguese)

The relevant point is that Black Friday is an "artificial" event here: we do not celebrate Thanksgiving Day so there is no need for a the stores to get rid of unsold inventory. It started just ~10 years ago when marketers began advertising it as a sales day.

smnrchrds12 hours ago

Iranian companies are now advertising Black Friday sales. Even though in Iran we do not celebrate Thanksgiving, we do not celebrate Christmas (except for Christians of course), and even our new year starts at spring equinox in late March. Black Friday is literally a random day in fall which has no significance. Yet there are Black Friday sales now.

d3nj4l5 hours ago

India is thankfully untouched because Black Friday falls after the biggest Hindu festival of the year - Diwali. Most people are already shopped out by that point. Also the reason why our big sales are in October.

rp18 hours ago

This is amazing. Thanks for sharing.

xwolfi6 hours ago

It s like Halloween in France, it's so weird how tv shows made people with a strong identity adopt a foreign culture.

LargoLasskhyfv6 hours ago

Same in Germany. Though I like that I can have

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aachener_Printen &

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speculaas

long before Christmas.

It's so weird seeing the sortiment in supermarkets change to all sorts of foreign events. Not that I'd care much for the native ones, either.

Basically it's all just BUY! BUY! BUY! like in They Live from 1988.

tannhaeuser29 minutes ago

What's the threat? We all sell out every day. Might as well be on the winning team.

selimthegrim5 hours ago

I mean I thought Black Friday was when Shah killed people in Jaleh Square? I guess you had to be there.

smnrchrds1 hour ago

You are not wrong. But almost everyone is calling this shopping event "Black Friday" (as in the English name, not translated to Persian) which does not sound anything like "Jom'e-ye Siah" (the proper translation, also used to refer to the historical even you mentioned).

orev11 hours ago

Black Friday is only associated with Thanksgiving in the US because it marks just about 1 month before Christmas, but otherwise it’s not part of Thanksgiving. It’s also to start selling products for Christmas gifts — not related to getting rid of unsold inventory.

Most companies have a fiscal year ending in December, so it’s mostly just about getting that last boost of sales before the end of the year.

allen_lasn15 minutes ago

It's not entirely true that it's unrelated to Thanksgiving.

That day originally became a popular day to start Xmas shopping because a lot of people took that day off, since Thursday is a federal holiday, but the actual Thanksgiving festivities were over.

pirate7878 hours ago

The history of Thanksgiving -- FDR moved the holiday to support the holiday shopping season. Black Friday has not really been about dumping excess inventory but as the beginning for the holiday shopping season..."black" references the profit retailers make, going from red to black for the year.

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/franklin-roosevelt...

allen_lasn17 minutes ago

The name Black Friday comes from the nightmare experienced by store staff, shoppers, mall cops, etc on a day of extreme overcrowding and sometimes fights over discounted items.

The reference to being 'in the black' was invented afterwards to try and make the name seem more positive.

CallMeJim5 hours ago

This is entirely unrelated, but it's unusual to see "black" used in a positive sense... Just thinking about all the phrases it's been used negatively in (eg "black sheep of the family").

I'm entirely uninvested in the US culture war, but it's good to see something on the positive side of the ledger.

cyberlurker6 hours ago

Fantastic article. I didn’t realize how polarized things were.

“Public opinion split along political lines. A Gallup Poll showed Democrats favored the switch 52% to 48%, while Republicans opposed it 79% to 21%.”

aikinai9 hours ago

Yes, it's a Christmas-oriented holiday, but the timing is determined by Thanksgiving since the day after Thanksgiving is when everyone turns their attention to Christmas and starts buying gifts (traditionally).

LudwigNagasena10 hours ago

> It’s also to start selling products for Christmas gifts — not related to getting rid of unsold inventory.

That seems totally related to me…

orev8 hours ago

“Unsold inventory” would be understood as “items that are leftover and need to be cleared out to make room for new products”. That’s not what BF is. Many items sold for BF/Christmas are new products that have just been released (like stuff from Apple that was just released). I’m also not talking about the products that are specifically made for BF only, which are typically lower quality versions of similar products and are lures just to get people into the store.

Technically, it might be correct to say that anything not yet sold is “unsold inventory”, but that would have the same meaning and simply saying “inventory”, so adding “unsold” gives the additional implication that it’s unsold for a reason (i.e. it’s old stock, etc.)

rukuu0019 hours ago

Black Fraud-day has a pretty good ring to it

tomcooks4 hours ago

Same in southern Europe, cultural imperialism becomes apparent when one notices that all local festivities (often of Celt, Roman, and Greek origin) have been replaced by commercial crap.

stjohnswarts6 hours ago

I mean if people didn't like it wouldn't it go away? What is the fraud involved? I am sincerely curious. Are the sales fake or something? like they have very limited inventory and just get people in and while they're there the store hopes they'll buy an alternative? That used to be a big thing around here but generally these days if you get there early you can get the deals, or if you sit up late and buy on the web site.

simion3143 hours ago

>What is the fraud involved?

The "marketing/sells" guys decided that prices for products changing daily is something profitable, Keep a tab open to some product and refresh it daily, see how prices change and how you get tricked.

So for Black Friday they will increase the prices before the sales and then put a giant "25% off" label. They also can say advertise with some super deals like super cheap laptop but they might have only 1 device. So in Romania we have laws and big companies will be fined heavily and shamed for this evil tricks(not sure if this is an EU thing or only local).

Maybe you mean "fraud" is not the correct word and there is a better legal word that fits for this evil and illegal(on some regions) behavior.

mtmail12 hours ago

Stores in Europe advertise "Black Week". I've seen "Single's Day" sales even (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singles%27_Day#Outside_China).

emodendroket8 hours ago

At this point "Black Friday" just means "November."

Nasrudith10 hours ago

There is a common function even without the holiday - a flushing of older inventories and potentially making their fourth quarter numbers look better.

kisamoto5 hours ago

A quick reminder that unless you were going to buy it anyway, a reduced price is not a "deal". You're spending more money than you otherwise would.

DeathArrow4 hours ago

And that is if the price isn't jacked up before and the reduced price is fake.

noisy_boy5 hours ago

My grandma used to say about discounts that they are all frauds to push items that they can't sell by first jacking up the prices and then putting a "discounted" price on it. I used to (naively) think that grandma just doesn't understand. Turns out, she understood pretty well.

sizzle3 hours ago

I remember camping outside Circuit City/CompUSA/Good Guys or Fry’s the day before with friends and nothing better to do to snag a door buster laptop or desktop computer, decent specs for like $2-300 bucks. They would hand out vouchers for the door buster items and I would sell them to people who showed up late and basically get a free computer. Good side hustle in my teens.

Once retailer recognized how lucrative it was and started making special SKUs for Black Friday of cheaper products was when I realized the Black Friday I loved was dead and stopped going out.

Can anyone relate?

TrackerFF11 hours ago

Norway, too. You can see that they start to ramp up the price slowly a month or two before. At least here, we have laws against bogus sales - you have to sell so and so many items for the "normal" price, or have them listed for a certain period, before you can put them on such sales.

Not sure how much these (marketing) laws are enforced, though. Some 10 years ago, when everyone and their sister tried their hand at drop-shipping, you'd get drowned by these "99% sale" ads, where people would try to sell AliExpress watches/jackets/etc. for $100-$200, with some ridiculous before price. ("Before: $5000 - Now: $100", etc.)

beebeepka8 hours ago

Oh wow. 5000 to just 100! Reminds me of that south park episode

"These are genuine faux sapphire earrings.

14-carat gold, 86-carat faux sapphire.

Faux is French.

It's got an X in it, but you don't pronounce it.

How do you like that for prestigious?"

noisy_boy5 hours ago

You joke but I recently heard a term "original copy" going around in my wife's circle. Turns out, that term is to signify something that is a near-perfect copy of a designer item. These are not cheap either; they sell for at least 20x the price of a "non-original copy" i.e. inferior fake.

5e92cb50239222b4 hours ago

"Original X for iPhone" or something like that has been a thing for many years. Miss the for (if you don't know the language very well, like many shoppers from around here for example), and you're screwed.

magicalhippo12 hours ago

Here in Norway we didn't have Black Friday until like a decade ago or so, when shops started introducing it. They even had to explain what it was all about in the ads.

Now it's no longer Black Friday, no... now we have Black Week and even Black November, filled with 10% off prices or deep discounts on old junk nobody wanted...

There's still a few really good deals, and there's a positive to concentrating the deals to one day: you're looking for deals. Doesn't help me that a thing was off even more a few months ago if I missed it then.

speeder11 hours ago

Here in Brazil this year I saw a bunch of Black November. Yes, in english, in a country where people normally don't know english.

Even weirder, is today a cosmetics company said that "Black Friday" (in english like that!) is a racist name and they are comitted to changing it.

Most people here don't even know what "Black" means. (or "Friday", for that matter).

The amount of USA culture "invading" our culture is really disturbing me. (alongside some other stuff like Coca-Cola in fur coat red santa, in the middle of our super hot summers, or people trying to plant conifer trees in sunny wetlands and then covering them with artificial snow, or the dish "Rosquinha", that got renamed "Donut" after Dunkin Donuts came here).

EDIT: remembered that some years ago the government made illegal for stores to write only in english on their storefronts, after there was a huge mania for writing "xxx% off on randomproduct" and this was causing confusion among consumers that had no idea what that means.

ericmay10 hours ago

It’s alright. After Black Friday loses influence you can do singles day and buy stuff from Alibaba instead shrug

LargoLasskhyfv5 hours ago

I've seen https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holi here in Germany.

Don't know what to make of it. Wouldn't want to have colored powders having thrown at me.

LargoLasskhyfv5 hours ago

That's globalism for you. Multinational big corps pushing their shit globally, all the times ;->

Saúde!

systemvoltage7 hours ago

It's no longer USA culture. Used to be a few decades ago when Nike and Coke was exported.

Today, it is a giant global corporate-driven monoculture. US has influx of many other cultures too (Sushi restaurants were hardly a thing in the 90's and Yoga).

To be honest, the world has gotten worse with globalisation and I don't mean that in the slightest political sense. Purely from cutural standpoint, the internet has sort of ruined isolated pockets of culture that thrive independently. In 2050, it will just be a giant same-everywhere Earth culture that will suck, even more so than today.

Swizec10 hours ago

Similar stuff happened in Slovenia since the 90’s.

When I was in elementary school we started celebrating Christmas and imported Santa, thus creating three, 3!, winter men who bring gifts (the catholic Saint Nick, the american Santa, the communist Grandpa Frost).

Then some time in high school Halloween became a thing. Even overtaking Nov 1st as the day of the dead because it’s a party and day of the dead is sad, lame, and for old people.

Towards the end of college, black friday started to become a thing.

Sometimes I wonder if college kids aregoing to start having July 4th parties …

xwolfi6 hours ago

It s like in my company, useless morons (it's always them) scold us when we say blacklist. Like dude, black is the color of the night, it's the absence of color, it's the color of when it's cold and scary, ofc it can used to mean "bad list", and pointing out all the time africans happen to be black (because this color also has the property to resist the sun better) is what makes the link. Not me in Hong Kong saying in a random email "I added the server to the blacklist"...

If some people where red, saying red flag would be a problem I m sure (red being the color of blood, no surprise it means danger).

matsemann2 hours ago

At least we got okay laws stopping companies from doing outright scams. An item has to have had the price for a certain time before you can advertise a new lower price as being on sale. They try to skimp around this by slowly increasing the prices in end of october. But then you also have to tell which price you're comparing to, and document that that price is a realistic price in the market. So you can't markup something from $100 to $200, wait a few weeks and say it's now 50% off at $100, if everyone else already was selling it for $100.

The news are also good at pointing out if some big company does something shady, I guess they have journalists trawling stores right now trying to uncover fake deals. Most big box stores have this year already lost a lot of goodwill after news after news broke about how they would try to force employees to not unionize.

Most stores have been indexed by prisjakt.no for quite a few years. So all price history is there, making it easy to see if it's a real offer or not.

belval12 hours ago

Same in Canada, the funny part is that we do have thanksgiving but it's actually a month earlier so Black Friday is just sitting in November for no reason other than to nudge people into doing their Christmas shopping.

hogFeast11 hours ago

The reason why it has spread is American retailers, particularly Amazon, entering international markets.

In the US, Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year so American retailers discounted on that day. As they went into other countries, they began offering sales on that day too. In the UK, Boxing Day was traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year but most shops close on this day now. Wikipedia tells me that Boxing Day used to be the busiest shopping day in Canada.

I think the reason the practice is spreading into the rest of the month is because of the higher level of competition online. One retailer does Black Friday, then another retailer tries to jump earlier, then another. In the UK, we have had companies trying weekly and monthly sales.

The sales aren't bad, I think some retailers (Amazon, particularly) don't offer great value...ironic given they started Black Friday here in the UK...but if you hunt about, you can usually find some decent deals.

fzil9 hours ago

Yeah 10 years ago Boxing Day was all the hype in Canada. Most of classmates would stand in line at Best Buy or other retailers to buy some latest console or game disc. Times sure have changed.

fomine34 hours ago

Here in Japan, this year is the first time I see "Black Friday" at every real store. It was mostly online event.

readflaggedcomm10 hours ago

That's sooner than I noticed it in America. Before that, it was long the start of the Christmas shopping season, which guaranteed prices would be higher, but selection was wider.

shahbaby8 hours ago

Some of my worst purchases were those where I cared a lot about how good of a deal I was getting.

The more you focus on the deal, the less you focus on whether or not you really want what you're buying.

stjohnswarts6 hours ago

that's why you decide what you want and set up alerts for when those items are on sale.

kisamoto5 hours ago

I'm sure this surprises no-one who has ever waited for a Black Friday (deal) only to suspect/know that the price is no different than before. It feels especially this way in Europe where retailers have adopted "Black Friday week" or similar purely to encourage additional spending.

There is a tool (in Switzerland) I use a lot. TopPreise (http://toppreise.ch) scrapes, aggregates and compares prices from retailers but also keeps a graph of the price evolution over time. You can see the highest and lowest prices over the recent period and it's very useful to know if what you're actually buying is a "deal" or not.

One of the largest retailers in Switzerland - Galaxus https://www.galaxus.ch/en/ - has also adopted a similar strategy for their own products. Showing 3 months of how the price has changed.

wingworks4 hours ago

We have a similar site in New Zealand https://pricespy.co.nz/ Use it all the time.

alexwebb25 hours ago

CamelCamelCamel is a similar tool for tracking Amazon prices: https://camelcamelcamel.com/

maxekman4 hours ago

If you care about the climate crisis you should avoid participating in sales like this. It’s a very unsustainable pattern that must go away. Buy what you need when you need it (or even better borrow it), don’t buy a bunch of things that happen to be cheap at a sale. It’s a mindset shift that needs to happen NOW!

Edit: autocorrect miss

Taurenking29 minutes ago

Can't stress this enough. One of the things that will help us slow down environment hazards the most is to consume less (even more than "recycling" and "ethical" or "environmental" purchases)

dragonsky678 hours ago

In Australia it's just confusing. Black Friday was named after devastating bush fires in 1938-39 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Friday_bushfires. Any Friday that has bad bushfires on it tends to pick up the name.

Over the last 5 years or so Black Friday sales have become a thing and I always suffer some degree of dissidence at the naming, as for me at least Black Friday has always had a negative connotation.

kube-system5 hours ago

What’s stranger is that the US also has several days named similarly with negative connotations, like Black Tuesday and Black Thursday.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wall_Street_Crash_of_1929

yosito2 hours ago

> dissidence

I think you mean dissonance

strzibny1 hour ago

Do you want a genuine Black Friday deal?

I am giving a 33% off of my book Deployment from Scratch[0] with discount code "blackfriday". The discount is bigger than even the one on launching and most of the copies are sold for full price.

I agree that other sellers should be more honest... the problem is that some people (inc. my parents) just love discounts so much and are completely blindsided...

[0] https://deploymentfromscratch.com/

zeppers12 hours ago

I worked in retail sales from 2004-2006 and I remember management ordering us to increase prices on items leading up to big sales. It seemed like fraud and it made me feel icky doing it.

Especially when we would replace labels of an item that cost $99 to say that it cost $139 and was now on sale for $99.

Luckily I haven't had to work in retail since...

pirate7878 hours ago
LargoLasskhyfv5 hours ago

Nullo actore nullus iudex

maccard12 hours ago

> It seemed like fraud and it made me feel icky doing it.

In many places, it _is_ fraud (well, illegal but still). In the UK, the higher price must have been offered for 28 days out of the last 6 months.

mumblemumble11 hours ago

I suppose you can just pick the slowest 15% of days, then. If a price was randomly jacked up on a Tuesday, but nobody was around to buy it, was it really raised?

maccard10 hours ago

My bad, I misquoted [0] - section 1.2.2 says 28 consecutive days!

[0] https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2005/2705/schedules/made

anm897 hours ago

I figured this out last year, I bought a big set of Dewalt power tools which sat unopened for a long time but I had to buy them at black Friday to get the deal. When I went to return them they were almost 10% cheaper then when I bought them except Lowes had also snuck in a monstrous $100 shipping fee that I didn't notice at the time meaning and which was non refundable meaning I probably paid 30% above retail because I so desperately needed these tools that I wasn't ready to use.

sveme12 hours ago

I'm currently in the market for a dryer and checked the prices the last couple of days. It went from 649 Euros a week ago up to 739 Euros today. Fully expect it to fall back to 699 Euros tomorrow.

mianos12 hours ago

That is clearly illegal down here in Australia. One of the largest on line retailers here, Kogan, was even prosecuted: https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/kogan-to-pay-350000-fo...

smnrchrds12 hours ago

Does the law catch the retailer who have to products with identical specs and different model numbers? Mattress companies have long used the trick to advertise permanent sale pricing that is just standard pricing in North America.

comprev11 hours ago

It's long believed there's a loophole in UK law which allows these types of "continuous sales" tactics. Provided the product is available at RRP in _one_ of the shops within the same company (i.e. a chain) for a minimum time period (say, 60 days), it can be priced as a "discount" in another store.

The trick used it to have a shop in the middle of nowhere (for example, north Scotland) which rotates products on the shop floor. This shop operates purely at a loss except for some desperate customers who will pay through the nose for a product due to convenience.

A mattress would be for sale at GBP 999 for 60 days there, and promoted as a discount at GBP 499 in _every other store_ they own. They make profit on selling 50x products at the discount vs. a single product at original price.

mianos9 hours ago

Yes. This exact issue with bedding companies has lead to several prosecutions. For example, permanently making up fake prices just to advertise a discount: - https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/snooze-admits-two-pric... - https://www.accc.gov.au/public-registers/undertakings-regist...

What is it with bedding companies and criminal miss representation of prices?

LargoLasskhyfv5 hours ago

From personal experience this is true for Germany also, since decades.

It's always SALE! SALE! SALE! Everything must go! %! %! %! or something similar.

The same was true for carpets for a time, but they seem to have fallen out of fashion, at least I don't see it that often anymore.

But this is a general thing in every downtown or shopping centre across all sectors. And similar for groceries. I enter all of these with one big default deny and fuck off mentality switched on.

mthoms12 hours ago

That's probably illegal (depending on region). I'd consider reporting it.

DarkUranium11 hours ago

Definitely illegal, everywhere. He said "euros", which implies within the EU. It's illegal across the EU.

dvh12 hours ago

I'm curious, why put prices back? Why not leave it at elevated levels?

saurik12 hours ago

So you can say there's a Black Friday sale, which is the premise behind why the prices went up in the first place: so they could be lowered for a sale.

williamdclt12 hours ago

Tomorrow is the sale, they've raised the price in preparation for the sale

Animats12 hours ago

It's Buy Nothing Day, per Adbusters.

JanisL2 hours ago

I think a lot of people in the comments are focused on the various sales aspects of why black Friday prices move the way they do however I think this year is an example of high inflation being more of a factor than anything else. I'd think this is an indicator that it is probably a good time to buy some inflation hedges instead of discretionary consumer goods.

locallost3 hours ago

The worst example I've seen this year was a saddle bag for my bike I bought for 17€ about a year and a half ago. Regular price. Yesterday same shop, black week, now it is 20, reduced from 30.

tamaharbor11 hours ago

I remember when Black Friday meant tremendous free-after-rebate deals… Among other things, I recall ‘purchasing’ a free inkjet color printer, a free PDA (personal digital assistant), and a free spool of 50 blank cds! Those were the days.

MattGaiser10 hours ago

American Express cards have a bunch of those. Paired with Rakuten, I got paid $5 to buy 1password.

limeblack11 hours ago

Yes this is true for appliances not so much for electronics. Just follow the apple products as an example. By the time Black Friday roles around we have the newer laptops and the older ones are almost always on sale.

comeonseriously9 hours ago

A particular Samsung tablet I put in my Amazon list a while back now has a banner "Black Friday Deal" but the price hasn't changed.

emodendroket8 hours ago

Not really surprising. Most clothes at the outlet mall are specifically made for the outlet mall too, and you start to wonder about the veracity of the deep discount when it's Fall 2021 and the "discounted" item you're looking at has a tag that says "Fall 2021."

program4 hours ago

Always check the item on camelcamelcamel before buying on Amazon. A lot of times you will find surprises in the prices chart.

gnicholas6 hours ago

There are a lot of junk ‘deals’ on Black Friday, but there are also legit deals. For example, AirPods are $20-$40 less than usual (and aren’t EOL, which is one trick retailers pull). I picked up several items this year at prices that are significantly lower than normal.

I have to be careful, though — only buying things with a verifiable price history, which typically means name brands. Otherwise it’s too easy to be fooled by fake ‘normal’ prices.

I use dealnews.com to keep tabs on most things I’m interested in; otherwise I use camelcamelcamel for spur-of-the-moment purchases.

stjohnswarts7 hours ago

Supply and demand wins again I think. None of this is a surprise given price inflation and supply shortages. Probably at least another year of this as covid is far from gone with delta + antivax.

stabbles10 hours ago

In Switzerland digitec is a common website to buy hardware, and it has a price trend graph on their website:

https://www.digitec.ch/en/s1/product/sony-wh-1000xm4-anc-hea...

tdrdt3 hours ago

Most of those discounts are based on the advice price. And the advice price is a max selling price estimated by the supplier.

jagermo4 hours ago

I mean, I use it to extend subscriptions for a few services or buy some digital rpg books. It's good to know that I can get a new coupon every year about the same time.

conqrr12 hours ago

Have seen this on everty single TV deal on Amazon at camelcamelcamel price history. Doesn't look like a good to buy a TV

robbedpeter11 hours ago

Best time to get a new TV is the week after the super bowl, get the tvs that were returned. I imagine the same applies to world cup and other sporting events that prompt people to buy a massive TV just to return it a few days later, after they show it off at the party.

loonster10 hours ago

IIRC, new TV models usually come out in late spring / early summer. So best time to buy should be around then.

dehrmann7 hours ago

Post CES?

skinnymuch10 hours ago

I haven’t looked for a TV in a long time. However Amazon frequently is not the cheapest place vs how things were a decade ago.

foogazi8 hours ago

Was kinda disappointed when I visited Madrid during Thanksgiving a couple of years ago and it seemed downtown was taken over by Black Friday shoppers (https://amp.diariodenavarra.es/noticias/vivir/2021/10/29/el-...)

DeathArrow4 hours ago

Maybe it's called "black" because most customers gets screwed buying things which they were made to believe they are good deals when they are not.

zoomablemind10 hours ago

C'mon, guys, there are genuine BF discounts. They do exist! And people do know the deal value, when they see it.

The retailers don't have to discount everything on the floor, they just need the traffic. Once in, some items could still be purchased as valued, the discounts on some items help pull the people in. And sure, the mood and expectation helps.

It is a balancing act, but marketing does not equal cheating, some [lot] manipulation there is, of course. And the crowds are willing too, now demand discounts on anything of value!

analog318 hours ago

Amusingly I just told my spouse about the article, and she said: "Why make things cheaper when you've already got them rushing into the store because it's black friday?"

Eelongate9 hours ago

> And people do know the deal value, when they see it.

This is contrary to all of my experience with the sort of people for whom shopping is a hobby or who get excited about black friday. They all love to "save 50%" on some junk that was marked up 200% and will end up in the thrift store before the year is out.

walterbell11 hours ago

External spinning disk storage prices and outliers: https://shucks.top/

cbg03 hours ago
faeyanpiraat11 hours ago

“Lowest seen” prices are a year old, have you considered accounting for inflation?

Edit: a price/GB would be nice aswell

walterbell8 hours ago

Settings icon in upper right has an option for price/TB.

Site creator has contact info in bottom left.

duxup5 hours ago

This explains why at best I get maybe a couple more alerts (or none) on my wish list type tracking services regarding actually good deals…

SV_BubbleTime13 hours ago

Could 2020 have been some peculiar outlier because of Covid and supply issues?

Eelongate9 hours ago

Black Friday has been like this for as long as I've been aware of it existing.

dmurray12 hours ago

6 months before Black Friday last year was at the height of the first Covid panic featuring regional shortages of food staples, toilet paper, etc... So I would think not.

boomboomsubban12 hours ago

I can't be bothered finding the data, but I've seen graphs from previous years that show many items raise in price around October to get ready for a Black Friday "sale." Generally there are a few items that end up cheaper on the day, but most are fairly standard sales.

busymom07 hours ago

I purchased a 27 inch Dell monitor a month ago and paid $295 total after taxes here in Canada. A month after my purchase, I could have gotten it for $20 cheaper ($275 after taxes).

However, now if I try to do the same, it comes out to $306 after taxes for Black Friday sales....

https://www.dell.com/en-ca/shop/dell-27-monitor-s2721ds/apd/...

It's an excellent monitor btw, just wait for the price to go down a bit again.

iJohnDoe10 hours ago

Seeing this on Black Friday deals. Something is reduced by $150 for Black Friday, but it turns out the sale price is the normal price you would find anywhere.

Double check prices before buying anything else today and tomorrow

emodendroket8 hours ago

Another trick is just producing a Black Friday model that lacks features the more expensive one has.

ctdonath9 hours ago

“Black Friday” = the day most realtors go from “in the red” to “in the black” financially for the year.

Been interesting watching it mutate from merely the day customers start buying gifts en masse in earnest, to a real discount & deals day, to a jack-and-drop fakeout.

thinkingemote17 minutes ago

The only comment in this thread that accurately describes the origin of the name, and the reason why there are so many "non bargains".

It's a day for retailers, not for consumers. It's a celebration of retailers and marketeers making profit.

bpodgursky7 hours ago

Supply chain + inflation-adjusted dollars though?

wizardforhire8 hours ago

Speaking to the 10% everything at covert instruments is on sale substantially.

No affiliation just a fan thats drooling.

Borrible9 hours ago

Of course, the prices are higher.

Especially from customer perspective they have to be. The difference is finally the price for a bundle of valuable services.

Boosting egos by making them think they're are smarter than they really are.

Entertainment.Price hunting as a game. Without a gaming console! See, they even saved you money on this!

Shopping as a social experience. Everybody does it, and so do you. You want to belong, don't ya?

Boast about it. Your social environment will celebrate you. Except the odd bastard, that spoils the mood, of course.

And since evereybody wants the candy now, the prices must be higher now. Higher demand, higher prices.

They just look lower, because that is what you're buying.

The look.

They look good to let you let you look good.