/ Shopping, Technology

Don’t lose all sense and reason this shopping season

Flying shoppers

Black Friday is here and Christmas is just around the corner. To many that means madly shopping for ‘bargains’ online and on the high street, but I’d like to remind everyone not to lose perspective.

One answer to the question of ‘What’s Black Friday?’ is that it’s the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the US following Thanksgiving Day (thanks Wikipedia!). Another answer to the question is that it’s an excuse for shops to work us up into a frenzy with questionable deals in a crude attempt to pull their balance sheets into the black. No wonder UK shops have welcomed the day with open arms.

Yes, I’m being cynical. But I think there’s a tendency for people to go a bit nuts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. When I say people go a bit nuts, I actually mean they dive headfirst into a big bursting bag of nuts. You may have seen reports of supermarket stampedes as shoppers scramble to snap up electricals that have presumably been discounted so much that it would be a crime not to buy them. And talking of crime, the police were even called upon to deal with this unparalleled excitement.

Queuing for online deals

Now, that’s not to say I’m not partial to a bargain. Even I was up at midnight checking out all the online deals. I even sat myself in an ‘online queue’ (yes they have queues for websites now) to get onto Currys. This was more out of curiosity than out of any real intention to dip into my bank account; and by the time I was given a ‘ticket’ to enter the Currys online sale, I’d fallen asleep.

Still, while I sit here criticising Black Friday with one hand, I’ve been promoting it with the other via emails to colleagues with discount codes. But let me make this clear – I’m not against shopping in sales. I just think we should keep our wits about us. Do you really need that ‘50% off’ 42’’ TV to replace the one you bought a couple of years ago? Does your mum really want a discounted kettle made by an unknown brand for Christmas?

Case in point – I’ve been waiting to buy a PlayStation 4 from John Lewis. I want to buy it from John Lewis due to its good customer service, longer warranty and the vouchers I’ve been given. Sadly, it doesn’t look like John Lewis will be discounting the PS4 today. However, I’m not willing to buy it from elsewhere just because it’s Black Friday.

This is what I’m saying – hold onto your values, shop in your own time and remember you have a legal right to return goods you’ve bought online 14 days after they’ve been delivered…

It’s time to bin dodgy deliveries

I say delivered. This stampede of online shopping is likely to spawn delivery problems. This is another area where people appear to be losing all sense of reality. Yesterday, Yodel hit the headlines for delivering damaged Tower of London World War I ceramic poppies.

I mean, really, delivery drivers – stop throwing parcels. Stop leaving packages under doormats – this isn’t a game of peak-a-boo with a small child – we can clearly see parcels under a doormat. And stop leaving parcels in bins – they are not a letterbox:

So, as we ramp up to Christmas, buy what you want to buy. Don’t be hoodwinked into buying things you don’t really want. And when your delivery driver knocks on your door and hands you your parcel in perfect condition, give them thanks and wish them a Merry Christmas because their good service isn’t as common as it should be. Happy shopping.

Comments
Member

I’m one of those who think Black Friday is a total joke, been following BBCNews on Twitter and just thinking “The world has gone mad”.

While I too was awake at midnight last night, but not to buy anything, I was on the Tesco Facebook page watching all the crazy posts from people moaning that the website has gone down.

I have also picked up a few DVDs this week, my best being “Malcolm In The Middle: The Complete Collection Box Set – Seasons 1-7” for £18 instead of the normal £80 price tag, plus a Laurel and Hardy box set for £8 (love Laurel and Hardy, so funny).

But I love my DVDs anyway and the ones I have brought I wanted anyway, I always keep a DVD list of ones I would like to buy when the price is something I am willing to pay.

Member

@lee have you ever used camel camel camel uk you tell it the item on amazon you’re interested in and what price you want and they then email you if/when the price is right 🙂 They also show you the historic price over the last few months too.

Can take several months for the price to drop though.

Member

Yes William, that is what I use for Amazon. I’ve used to a few years now, it’s such a awesome site. When Amazon changes prices pretty much everyday it’s hard keeping track. So I love how camel camel camel e-mails me as soon as it’s at the price I’m willing to pay – then I move fast, before it goes up again haha 🙂

Member
Charles says:
28 November 2014

Bah humbug Paddy! I want a tablet for Christmas and if I can find it on the cheap tonight then I’m on it like Sonic.

I’ve done my researched and I’ve checked it twice – a sale wont sway me from that – but I’m not wed to particular retailer. All much of a muchness in my (admittedly limited) online shopping experience.

Member

It’s very tempting Charles. Amazon has the PS4 at £299 with two games… perhaps I could convince John Lewis to price match.

Member

Of course, they don’t price match with online only retailers. Time to widen the search… Game maybe. I’m being taken in…

Member

Found it on Game and Tesco for £299 and £289 respectively. Let’s see what John Lewis says 🙂

Member

If you go with Tesco don’t forget you also get the clubcard points too Patrick 🙂

Member

Well I managed to get John Lewis to price match Argos at £299 yesterday on Cyber Monday and the PS4 is on its way 🙂

Member
Keith says:
28 November 2014

I think you should buy the PS4 for when I visit from USA.

Member

I can hardly believe that the Tower of London hired Yodel to deliver the ceramic poppies instead of the Royal Mail. Off with their heads!

Member

When I first heard of “Black Friday” I decided against going supermarket shopping on that day because of the queuing. I shop for what I want and not for something else that is a “bargain”. I repeat the saying by the late Bob Monkhouse: “It’s not a bargain if you don’t need it”.
“Bargain” or not, comms-related electricals willl be superceded early next year anyway.
Don’t forget your early easter-egg bargains after New Years Day:).

Member

I wonder how many more “Blackdays” we have to come and how many were like me and crossed this one off their shopping day. Seems like a way of discouraging many – i.e. an American boomerang for overall sales perhaps:)

Member

Although there are a few good bargains to be had, much of the stuff being sold in most sales is not worth having but as long as you check out the item thoroughly before buying and it is something you really want then go for it.

I am looking for a new PC monitor but the ones offered on Amazon’s Black Friday list were rubbish.

I also joined Curry’s waiting list but closed the window when the wait time was 58 minutes.

Member

one week ago my friend has purchased a hp monitor from one of the auctions sites at a very cheap and affordable price compared to amazon and flipkart.As he made the cost saving and happy of geeting a good deal.So i would like to recommend ypu to check it out for furthur details.

Member

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