Retailers raise prices in months beforehand to make discounts look good
Black Friday is a complete scam based around the manifestly provable hoax that consumers are getting huge discounts on products that would normally be more expensive at any other time of year.
In reality, stores enjoy higher profit margins during the holiday period because retailers artificially inflate prices of goods in the months before Black Friday in order to make the subsequent discounts look good in comparison.
As Bloomberg Businessweek reports, “Among the 15 largest U.S. retailers, operating margins in the holiday quarter last year (2013) were 11 percent, compared with 9 percent in the preceding nine months. Amid the year-end shopping frenzy, these companies padded their bottom lines, on average, by roughly one-quarter.”
As the Wall Street Journal highlights, the idea of Black Friday discounts is a complete hoax achieved via the process of price massaging throughout the rest of the year.
The scam also relies on shoppers impulse buying another product that has a 98 percent mark up value. So even if the first item represents a genuine discount, the vastly inflated price of the impulse purchase more than makes up for it.
“How come retailers are able to make such drastic reductions and not have to give the store away too?” asks Made.com boss Ning Lee. The answer; “Mark-ups. And high ones at that.”
In many cases, the supposedly great deals that people will sacrifice endless hours of their time camping outside stores to take advantage of are already available online anyway, and can be found for even cheaper in January.
As Edgar Dworsky, founder of ConsumerWorld.org, points out, Walmart already made its ‘Black Friday’ deals available online at 3am Thursday Morning.
“All sales are not created equal and some won’t necessarily help you save,” writes Bob Sullivan. “And a “sale” tag doesn’t always mean the item sold for a higher price last week. It’s supposed to, but it doesn’t. JC Penney just agreed to pay $50 million to settle a lawsuit alleging “fake markdowns.” (The company admitted no wrongdoing as part of the settlement).”
Retailers also use the media to generate rumors about artificial scarcity of products, leading to the kind of mob aggression and violence that has become an appalling fixture of Black Friday madness.
Another benefit of avoiding Black Friday of course is that you don’t have to mingle with zombies.