I remember when I first heard about Black Friday coming to South Africa. I was so incredibly excited after hearing so much about this from the States.
My first experience with Black Friday happened two years ago. I hadn’t planned on going but it was my day off. Since it was also a payday, wild horses couldn’t keep me away!
That year, Checkers and Uber had partnered up to give shoppers free rides for their shopping. It was my first time riding with Uber and my driver was awesome, so I felt like I was winning! I left nice and early and managed to beat the crowds.
I’d seen footage of the Black Friday phenomenon in America so my expectations were sky high! I kept in touch throughout the morning with friends and family. They were stuck at work so I reported any good discounts I found. I was the eyes and ears on the ground!
I ended up enjoying a few hours of leisurely shopping until pandemonium broke out. After 9AM, which is the shops’ normal opening time, crowds of people started swarming into the mall so I took that as my queue to leave.
Was Black Friday worth it?
I must say I enjoyed the experience. Although truthfully, I do generally enjoy shopping by myself. I was also quite pleased that I’d avoided the crowds and madness. I bought things like a whole lamb, branded shoes and clothes for us all and tons of groceries. However, when I got home and actually took stock of what I’d bought I wanted to cry! I’d completely blown my budget and didn’t buy much of what we actually needed! I spent way more money than I’d saved in discounts on the day!
Has Black Friday improved since?
Every year since then the hype has gotten bigger in South Africa but the specials more dismal. Small businesses I can understand because they need to pay rent and are not dealing in large quantities of sales. But I find myself left sorely disappointed by the bigger retail stores.
Bigger retail stores only offer:
- small discounts on things you don’t really need
- a mark-down on items that are very expensive anyway
- discounts where you need to buy in bulk to qualify for the special price
It’s nowhere near what the true spirit of Black Friday is all about – getting rid of stock at very low prices, thus selling in high volume in order to make shelf space for the new festive promotions.
Despite this, we’ve seen people queue for hours, storm the shops, damage property and endanger themselves for what really is not a bigger sale that what you’d find every other week. It is disheartening to see how the big corporate stores are taking advantage of the average South African. People are desperately trying to save a few bucks because the cost of living is so high. They know this and take advantage of it with the way they are marketing the sales!
Black Friday is not worth my time
This year I endevoured to avoid the crowds and do online shopping only in the safety of my home. Would you believe that once again, out of all the brochures released at midnight today, the only worthwhile special was coffee at Pick n Pay and Checkers? Mostly because it’s brands of coffee that I normally buy so I know exactly what the original price is.
A few “specials” worth mentioning is a PS4 game marked down from R575 to R574 on Takelot’s Blue Dot sale as posted earlier by a friend! Makro has Twinsaver 24pack toilet roll for R99. It seems like a good price until you work out that an 18 pack amounts to R75. This is more than I normally pay for our toilet paper! Clicks very often has their own brand of toilet paper marked down to about R69 which is when I stock up. It’s a regular promotion they run every other week.
I wish our retailers would do a proper Black Friday and realize that if they marked down their goods with a substantial discount we’d be more inclined to buy more. Unless you’ve scored a discount on something you’ve really wanted to buy, it’s just not worth the hype!
What’s your opinion on Black Friday?
Anyway that’s just my opinion. I realize I sound like Judgy McPheason but hey, it’s your money. What do you think of this hype that is Black Friday? Please share your opinion in the comments below.
Oh, and if you do brave the shops this weekend, I’ve heard it’s best to go in with a list or idea of what you want. Then get in and get out!