If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.
Black Friday: More full of crap than you previously thought 
Posted by Drew at 2007-11-20 8:34:45 AM, edited 2007-11-20 9:02:49 AM (141 comments) | Permalink
More: FarkBlog

•       •       •

15488 clicks; posted to Main » on 20 Nov 2007 at 1:34 PM (6 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



It's that time of year again: the drowsy week of Thanksgiving. Pretty much everyone takes the week off. Those of us that don't take the week off just assume that nothing's going to get done and collect a paycheck for sitting around doing nothing at work. Mass media is like that too, as a result we get a flurry of Black Friday articles, just like every year.

As you probably noticed, about a week ago, everyone from Amazon to Wal-Mart got a free articletisement in the mainstream press about which products they plan to mark down and clear out this year. Of course, this does you no good unless you're willing to get up at the crack of dawn and get in line about 5am (or for some stores, even earlier - some of these doorbusters actually begin at 4am this year). As good as these deals supposedly are, you won't find a lot of quality merchandise in these sales. Almost every product with a huge markdown on Black Friday falls into two categories:

1: Items for which the manufacturer has paid a big premium to the retailer to be the first thing the store's media liaison mentions when media comes calling for quotes about the sales, or

2: Crap.

I covered all this in my book in the chapter on Seasonal Articles, which you can get at pretty much any bookstore (although I suspect not at bargain prices at 5am... Amazon has it down to about $13 though (new window)). For those who didn't read it, Seasonal Articls are articles that appear at the same time every year, essentially unchanged from last year. Another favorite Thanksgiving article is the annual There Will Be Traffic On Thanksgiving This Year (duh) observation from AAA, which was on CNN.com's main page last year but thankfully barely registered more than a backpage article this year.

(By the way, look forward to the annual How The Hell Much Do The 12 Days of Christmas Cost This Year? article, due up sometime next week as if this is relevant to anyone)

I mention this not to rehash old material, but to point out something I've been wondering lately:

What percentage of these Black Friday deals are getting bought by people solely for resale on eBay?

I suspect it's very high.

Last year, the hot product was the Playstation 3. There were lines around the block at every store that had them. Playstations sold out across the US. How many people do you know that have them? And out of those people, how many got one for Christmas last year? Hardly anyone, I'm sure. The entire supply was purchased by people looking to sell them on eBay.

As for this year? Go to any online or brick-and-mortar electronics store you can think of. See if you can find a Nintendo Wii for sale. No one has them. Now go on eBay and do a search. Holy crap what a miracle! There's thousands of them -- all going for a couple hundred dollars more than list price (although to appear more appealing, the chargers are hidden in absurd shipping and handling costs).

The good news, I suspect, is that Nintendo is probably going to play the spoiler here and drop ship millions of Wiis into stores before Christmas. They've had a year to plan this, they know demand will be high. Hilarity will ensue.

It all leads me to wonder though, how many more years of Black Friday sales will we have before retailers realize that they're only catering selling to eBay resellers? Or will they even care as long as they continue to get their free articletisement the week before Thanksgiving?

At any rate, have a great Thanksgiving everyone, even you godless heathen Canadians and your superior currency, and you Brits who started celebrating Christmas three weeks ago
· · ·
(view entire blog)


141 Comments   (+0 »)
   

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | » | Last | Show all
 
2007-11-20 08:38:28 AM
I saw this blog entry last year.
 
2007-11-20 08:42:17 AM
Anyone interested in buying Drew's book should visit my Ebay page.
 
2007-11-20 08:43:10 AM
I camped outside fark.com in the cold to be the third (or whatever) person to read this post.
 
2007-11-20 08:44:14 AM
If anyone needs a Wii, EIP. 250.00 + 300.00 s&h.
 
2007-11-20 08:44:57 AM
If everyone just ignored Christmas, it would go away.
 
2007-11-20 08:45:10 AM
But the media is telling me this is BIG IMPORTANT NEWS!!!onehundredeleventy
 
2007-11-20 08:46:13 AM
I submitted this with a funnier headline
 
2007-11-20 08:46:55 AM
2wolves: But the media is telling me this is BIG IMPORTANT NEWS!!!onehundredeleventy

Not as big as "CyberMonday"... or Bigfoot. One of them's real, I think.
 
2007-11-20 08:47:28 AM
I'm just waiting for an outbreak of sharks with MRSA kidnapping blonde white girls due to black friday sales.
 
2007-11-20 08:47:37 AM
I spent all night in line to submit this with a funnier headline. only to be told they were sold out.

But... but... but what about my precious snowflake?
 
2007-11-20 08:48:52 AM
Agreed... Most everything offered is crap. I thought about trying to get a cheap laptop this year but I know better because if I get up at 3 to be at the store by 4 there is going to be 100 biatchy soccer moms in front of me and the point will be moot. Not to mention that plan seriously cuts into my beer drinking time. As far as I am concerned not consuming it in a timely manner is alcahol abuse as well!
 
2007-11-20 08:49:56 AM
Get up at the crack of dawn? Are you kidding me?

To get the Black Friday deals at electronics stores in NJ
you actually have to camp out from 10pm on Thanksgiving.
 
2007-11-20 08:51:00 AM
If we moved Thanksgiving to Monday like Memorial Day and Labor Day, we wouldn't have this problem.
 
2007-11-20 08:51:13 AM
lostvoid: Agreed... Most everything offered is crap. I thought about trying to get a cheap laptop this year

Screw the crowds, this looks like a nice deal.
Dell Vostro 1000 (new window)
 
2007-11-20 08:52:10 AM
i'm just waiting for the local news to interview people who are camped outside of wal*mart at 4am. they always have such new and refreshing insights, and that interests me as a citizen.
 
2007-11-20 08:52:25 AM
You know where else they used to wait outside in line for hours in the freezing cold to buy crap, the Soviet.
 
nrw
2007-11-20 08:53:06 AM
We have all our cool sales on Dec 26th. I think it does work out better, since they want to get rid of all the shiat they still have lying around after Christmas has come, so you actually do get deals.
 
2007-11-20 08:53:17 AM
01SSJay: lostvoid: Agreed... Most everything offered is crap. I thought about trying to get a cheap laptop this year

Screw the crowds, this looks like a nice deal.
Dell Vostro 1000 (new window)


SOLD!!! The visa card is currently in my hand
 
2007-11-20 08:53:56 AM
I bought a Wii last year the very first day it came out by visiting circuitcity.com at NOON. Wasn't even trying, just figured what the hell.

It wasn't for Ebay or anything, just me. It's just weird that people camped out and stuff, and I just got drunk and slept on my couch.

Who knows.

/super mario galaxy is better than your silly xbox game
 
2007-11-20 08:53:57 AM
kingMountain: i'm just waiting for the local news to interview people who are camped outside of wal*mart at 4am. they always have such new and refreshing insights, and that interests me as a citizen.

I don't know which is better, that or watching these people run around the store as soon as the doors are unlocked.
 
2007-11-20 08:56:44 AM
Do you suppose they'll be newscasters with the live van standing outside of a store with people in line?
 
2007-11-20 08:57:08 AM
lostvoid: SOLD!!! The visa card is currently in my hand

Glad i could help.
 
2007-11-20 08:57:31 AM
We should persuade a store to offer Hanna Montana tickets as a doorbuster deal....
 
2007-11-20 08:57:41 AM
What percentage of these Black Friday deals are getting bought by people solely for resale on eBay?

An analogy is drawn to ticket scalping: you have a valuable item selling lower than "market value". Scalpers (or super-shoppers) who know how to beat the system, or simply invest time, get a product and resale it. Who's fault? I suppose the system. Everyone, from the original retailer to the final buyer are protecting their interests in a non-optimal system.

It all leads me to wonder though, how many more years of Black Friday sales will we have before retailers realize that they're only catering selling to eBay resellers?

When the problem is a non-optimal system, not one single player can change it. If one retailer stopped, their competitors will continue with "black friday", and the non-participating retailer will lose the articletisement and ultimately sales.
 
2007-11-20 08:58:37 AM
The medical expenses one would incur rubbing elbows with people who would willingly wait on line outside a Wal-Mart at 2AM far outweighs any savings on lead-laden Chinese toys.
 
2007-11-20 09:01:17 AM
Everyone is missing the bigger point. Seems like this "Drew" guy gets greenlit every time he posts. What sway does he hold on the modmins who approve the links?

It's a goddamn conspiracy, I tell you!
 
2007-11-20 09:01:33 AM
"free articletisement"

Hardly free. More of a favor for a year's worth of buying ads.
 
2007-11-20 09:03:25 AM
I finished my Christmas shopping yesterday, so I don't really care.

/Early bird gets his choice of worms and doesn't have to fight the crowds.
//got my kids' Wii last year for less than MSRP from a family friend who tried the eBay thing and couldn't sell it.
 
2007-11-20 09:04:56 AM
Earguy: Everyone is missing the bigger point. Seems like this "Drew" guy gets greenlit every time he posts. What sway does he hold on the modmins who approve the links?

It's a goddamn conspiracy, I tell you!


Oh yeah, I know exactly what you mean, and it seems like every one of his posts recently he has the admins post them on another page inside fark... It's just as bad as the second gunman on the grassy knoll!!!
 
2007-11-20 09:13:36 AM
If I was a store manager, I'd be tempted to buy the hot electronics myself (with my employee discount) then sell them on eBay. But I'm sure no one would do something like that.
 
2007-11-20 09:16:15 AM
Bullshiatter: If I was a store manager, I'd be tempted to buy the hot electronics myself (with my employee discount) then sell them on eBay. But I'm sure no one would do something like that.

The problem with that theory comes when stores have limited - and often published - numbers of the items.

When the store only has five $20 DVD players in the store, and people camp out to buy them, there will be a riot if there are none in the store when the doors open.
 
2007-11-20 09:17:10 AM
I care so little about black Friday that I'm not even going to post in this thread!


D'oh!!

/if you don't care about sales, black Friday afternoon is a great time to shop -- all the nuts are gone and every register is open
 
2007-11-20 09:22:10 AM
Thanksgiving happened last month, dude. The big news this week is professional football plays its championship game and is finished for the year. That was like some weird bizarro-world blog post.
 
2007-11-20 09:34:16 AM
40below: Thanksgiving happened last month, dude. The big news this week is professional football plays its championship game and is finished for the year. That was like some weird bizarro-world blog post.

HAHA! You're one of them furriners, aren't you? I bet you talk funny and are going to come to the US to take our jorbs!

/got nothin
 
2007-11-20 09:35:12 AM
40below: Thanksgiving happened last month, dude.

Do they have the equivalent of black friday in canadia? Is it the same but it's just called Get In Line Politely Friday?

/canuck brother in law will be wearing a maple leaf shirt when i see him thanksgiving.
 
2007-11-20 09:38:19 AM
Last year I got a 50" plasma for $3,000 off ($1,500 marked down from $4,799).

I would say that there are deals out there, you just need to know where to look. Best buy is not one of those places.
 
2007-11-20 09:39:18 AM
jasonmicron: Last year I got a 50" plasma for $3,000 off ($1,500 marked down from $4,799).

I would say that there are deals out there, you just need to know where to look. Best buy is not one of those places.


Sure, but did you have to wait in line? Is it a good brand?
 
2007-11-20 09:39:38 AM
Thanks for the pep talk, Drew.

/the girlfriend asked me to go shopping Black Friday, and I laughed in her face.
/Romeo
 
2007-11-20 09:41:08 AM
albo: Do they have the equivalent of black friday in canadia? Is it the same but it's just called Get In Line Politely Friday?

Ours is Dec. 26. We call it 'Boxing Day', and we leave our igloos and mush to the Hudson's Bay outpost where we trade beaver pelts for thundersticks and firewater at a drastically reduced rate. Then we huddle in the dark and await breakup so we can fish again.
 
2007-11-20 09:45:44 AM
I'm too worried about burning down my house from deep frying my salmonella riddled turkey for this.
 
2007-11-20 09:49:16 AM
I have the idea but no way to implement this.

Step 1: Make footage of Black Friday security cams available online.
Step 2: Make it real-time footage and add in a remote gun so people can hunt from home (not unlike that clip that was on the Daily Show a few months back). Oh, and people will be charged for this service.
Step 3: Profit!

If some Farker finds a way to do this, all I ask is for a "buy one get one free" coupon in exchange for the idea.
 
2007-11-20 09:49:50 AM
JulieAzel626: Sure, but did you have to wait in line? Is it a good brand?

Nope, didn't wait in line. It's a Sony, 1080i (I REALLY wanted a p but I figure I can wait a little bit longer).
 
2007-11-20 10:04:52 AM
TheDumbBlonde: If anyone needs a Wii, EIP. 250.00 + 300.00 s&h.

I'm wondering how cheap I can get a PS3. My mother and I, and possibly my daughters, will be one of those people up at 4 am beating people over the heads with our purses for a $10 TV. I'm in need of a PS3 either now or in March, an iPod, and a winter coat for myself.
 
2007-11-20 10:06:17 AM
jasonmicron: JulieAzel626: Sure, but did you have to wait in line? Is it a good brand?

Nope, didn't wait in line. It's a Sony, 1080i (I REALLY wanted a p but I figure I can wait a little bit longer).


Yeah me too I got a 47" 1080i for $600 on father's day at one of those electronic warehouse places. It works just fine. nice picture.

ooo that reminds me I need an HDDVD player too.

My shopping will be complete.
 
2007-11-20 10:11:40 AM
Thank god I'm flat broke, so I don't have to worry about what to buy on Black Friday.
 
2007-11-20 10:16:21 AM
Drew,

It all leads me to wonder though, how many more years of Black Friday sales will we have before retailers realize that they're only catering selling to eBay resellers? Or will they even care as long as they continue to get their free articletisement the week before Thanksgiving?

They know, and they don't care.
 
2007-11-20 10:50:08 AM
I already have my Nintendo Wii. I play it. It's awesome. :D
 
2007-11-20 11:00:27 AM
How does this crap get a greenlight?

/I keed, I keed....please don't ban me
 
2007-11-20 11:19:44 AM
Drew, I really hope you are right about Nintendo. I'd love to see the ebayers get hosed!
 
2007-11-20 11:38:03 AM
What is this 'Thanksgiving' of which you speak?
 
Displayed 50 of 141 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | » | Last | Show all



This thread is closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »






Report