There was a time in our beloved country when Black Friday looked a lot like a stampede:
Although the pandemic has granted us a two-year education in looking out for one another – as Black Friday looms, you’d be forgiven for having a sense of thrill intertwined with anxiety. Will the stampedes reemerge? Are people already camping outside the malls? Are masks even going to exist? Is taking the digital trail the better path? If these are the questions pulsating through your mind at the thought of Black Friday upcoming on November 26th, read on, and invest in some tips before you invest in a 90% off toaster that you actually don’t need but duelled someone’s great aunt to win.
Black Friday Tips:
Whether you’re venturing into the mall jungles or surfing the digital waves:
1. Have a plan of action prepared:
Going to the shops aimlessly and hoping to find something along your path may work on a regular shopping trip, but this is Black Friday we’re talking about and you’re up against some people who have been waiting for this fateful fruition of saving for months. Go forth with a plan in mind of exactly which stores you want to conquer.
The same goes for online ventures. Although you may not be fighting literal bodies to secure your bag, you will be fighting another agent – time. Plan the online stores you want to visit and hop on as quickly as your typing devices can get you there.
2. Create a wishlist beforehand:
Whether it’s online or into the mall crevices you’re venturing, a wish-list is a sure way to save time and avoid missing any serious bargains. Especially for online excursions, loading a basket with your dreams will clear the path so that all you need to do on D-day is simply press checkout. If the prices of those items decrease upon Black Friday – then you’ve garnered another victory.
3. Even though the pandemic’s heat has soothed, Black Friday could be a spreading hotspot
Whether you decide to venture out into shopping’s wilderness or not is entirely up to you, but keep in mind that there will be many people in your surroundings, and some of whom may be far more relaxed about the pandemic than you. If you’re anxious about it, consider online shopping as a potential avenue.
5.Sign up for Newsletters and Promotions
It’s no secret that nine-out-of-ten times the newsletter pop-up on a website is usually met with us politely scrolling to the ‘X’ that marks the spot. However, they’re actually pretty invaluable when it comes to staying up to date with deals.
6. Know the Price You’re Paying
Black Friday is as much a time for bargain opportunities as it is for being snubbed. A lot of retailers tend to disguise normal prices as ‘specials’ making you think that you just snuck through the trenches of capitalism when in reality you fell right into the trap. Give the retailers’ websites a scope beforehand so that when the time comes you will be well-in-the-know that those sneakers were not the crop of the century.
Information on specials comes neatly packaged on retailers’ apps or social media pages. It’s sometimes far easier to look at promotions on offer on these platforms as opposed to websites. Beyond this, websites can sometimes crash from too much traffic influx and you could get caught up in an online queue. Bonus: It’s often here that you’ll find discount codes far more easily.
8. Avoid debt
Whether it’s online or in the physical realm, sometimes Black Friday offers us another present – debt. It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of offers, but staying savvy and opting for interest-free options is always the best choice if you’re going to pay in monthly instalments. Remember to pay the full credit-card or store card instalment every month so that you aren’t electrocuted with sizzling interest rates.
Secure Online Shopping 101:
If you’re unfamiliar with online shopping here are some cyber-safety checkpoints to keep on your map:
- Make sure the store is verified or legitimate on their website.
Check out their socials and see if the website and links on their pages add up, lookout for the lock or padlock icon that stands before the website’s URL in the search bar, read reviews (cue Hellopeter) and be very careful of which payment methods the websites ask you for. i.e: PayPal is a green light, but if the third party is another site you don’t know, investigate it first always.
Additionally, check that the site has encryptions in their communications.
- Don’t use free WiFi in public locations when you’re shopping online
The public domain makes it very easy for you to be a target for fraud.
Scams to be cautious of as per The Times UK:
- Purchase scams: where you pay for an item that never arrives. Stick to reputable retailers to avoid this happening.
- Phishing scams: where you get an email or text about a problem with a delivery. Scammers hope you will follow a suspect link that encourages you to enter your bank details and other personal information. To avoid this from happening, click or tap on the email address to see if it appears to come from a legitimate source.
- Scam shopping websites: this is where you think you are visiting the official website of a retailer, but it’s a duplicate run by fraudsters looking to steal financial and personal information. Check the website URL to check it is legitimate.
- Fake delivery notifications: where you receive a text or email purporting to be from Royal Mail or another courier saying there has been a problem with your delivery. You may be asked to pay a fee to arrange another delivery, and fraudsters hope to gain access to your financial and personal details.
- Misleading promotions. Not a scam as such, but some retailers can mislead customers into thinking they are getting a bargain when they’re not. Check on the price tracker websites mentioned above to see the price history of a product you are looking to buy.
Picture: Pinterest/ Desineo