In a few days Black Friday will be here and many stores are ready to offer the public all kinds of sales. On the other hand many Americans are planning to spend the night waiting outside
of stores with the goal of purchasing deeply discounted items in anticipation of Christmas. Many of these diehard shoppers don’t even care if their shopping gets in the way of feasting and family time.
According to Cory Howard, a Psychology professor at TJC, students should be aware that when a store throws a deal out there, customers are going to believe whatever the store says.
“Whether you say that you are going to take 10 or 20 percent off for the first 100 people, it’s going to get people lined up,” said Howard. “It’s the ‘foot in the door’ technique. You make a little offer and you hit them with the bigger stuff later, so it gets them in the door with a little offer and once they’re in there, they’re going to spend a lot more.”
This technique works. Students at TJC have experienced or witnessed how they or their friends follow the crowd and have lined up before the stores opened on Black Friday.
Students like Maria Tabares, a nursing major at TJC, have gone to Black Friday sales for years. She has learned the temptations and pitfalls of Black Friday shopping.
“I didn’t always find what I was looking for at Black Friday sales. Sometimes I felt disappointed because there were not enough items,” said Tabares. “I spent more money that I had planned, and I bought stuff that I really didn’t need.”
Stores have different tactics to attract customers especially during the holidays. According to Clint Selman, a Psychology professor at TJC, stores create an illusion of need.
“For example, that computer is $200. I don’t need a computer but how can I do without it? I already have three computers but for that cheap, I might as well get another one,” said Selman. “So stores do that, knowing you’ll go in the store and buy other stuff.”
Every student who was interviewed recognized that they spent more money that they were planning to spend on holiday shopping.
Debora Perez, a Psychology student at TJC, was fortunate many times to find what she was looking for, but at other times she was disappointed.
“I felt tricked by the store because in some stores they offer an item for 50 percent off,” said Perez. “But days before, the item was three dollars less than on Black Friday. All the time I spend more money that I want to spend.”
Howard said for many, Black Friday has just become a family tradition.
“They celebrate Thanksgiving, and they go to bed really early and wake up at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. in the morning or whatever, to be first in line,” said Howard. “And a lot of people, the deals that they get are really good.”
Dri Young, a general studies major at TJC, was a shopper who found what he was looking for.
“I had to fight for what I want because there were so many people,” said Young. “I waited three hours; it was crazy.”
Students need to be prepared before they go shopping during the holidays. “The biggest tactic which stores use to attract people is repetition,” said Selman. “If you’ve seen it, it’s familiar and so if you’re given five different choices, you will choose the one that you’ve seen before, even though you don’t want it.”
Recommendations by Psychology professors and TJC students for Black Friday
·Stores create an illusion of a need that you don’t really have.
·Advertisements plant a seed in your head.
·If you do try to shop on Black Friday, go early, bring some coffee, be prepared to get pushed around and be prepared to be upset a couple of times.
·Only buy in stores that you already know because it is the only way to know if it is a real sale.
·It is best to focus on larger items like TVs, phones and others kinds of electronics devices.
·At stores like Best Buy, people start camping out two days before sale begins.
·Be ready to resist buying items that you already have or you don’t need.
·Expect to meet people who are friendly during the waiting time; but when the store is open they may become mean, nasty or aggressive.
·Stores usually don’t have enough items for all the people who have waited to buy them.
·Expect to waste your time with minimal benefit.