I believe everything has a time and a place, just like the song “Turn, turn, turn” says.
Black Friday, for example, is one holy day in November when retailers voluntarily sacrifice their Blu-ray players on the altar of clearance for me. I, in turn, come in yielding the sacramental credit card and sever that Blu-ray from its big box store for the low, low price of $39.
But this year Black Friday stretched into a whole month of deals, possibly because retailers wanted to draw customers in earlier to make more sales. For those who didn’t want to wake up at 3 a.m. (or shop on Thanksgiving night), shopping a hair before the mad rush was quite a relief.
But nothing frosts my grits more than “Black Friday” in July sales. It is just. not. time.
From a retailer’s point of view, the phrase “Black Friday” can alert shoppers that, “Really! These prices are lower than a limbo contest!” But it is certainly not the time of year when retailers make the bulk of their income and return to black on the balance books — and therefore not an accurate use of the phrase.
Additionally, it’s offensive to me, because the July sales I have seen that tout themselves with the “Black Friday” label aren’t always a great deal. It’s as if the retailers don’t think I’m smart enough to figure it out.
I will grant that some of the offers are truly deals. For example, Target’s “Bonus Black Friday” sale starts this weekend, with the website advertising a 15.6-inch Acer Aspire laptop for $329 (currently on Amazon.com for $396.98.) But a few “doorbuster” deals aren’t enough to compete with the tidal wave of clearance we see in November.
But non-November sales could easily be called something else. “July jubilee!” “Midsummer madness!” “Summer super sale!” I’m sure a brainstorming session over a few drinks could easily produce an alternative.
Retailers, it’s “time to cast away” this poor marketing technique. If you keep crying “Sale!” to us, eventually we won’t believe you when a wolf of a sale does come along.
Have you ever found a midsummer “Black Friday” sale comparable to those in November? Do you think this advertising technique is effective?
– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter