Last night at about 10:00 P.M., I passed by the local Best Buy and saw a line of people who had to measure at least the length of a football field standing in line getting ready for shopping black Friday, waiting for this retailer to open its doors for Gray Thursday, Black Friday’s newest family member. I have never been one to stand in those stress-filled lines for hours just to get a good deal on a television set but I can tell you I have a few family members who make Black Friday a part of their family tradition. I have always figured there has to be more to this than simply trying to get a great deal.

Is Shopping Black Friday Worth It?

Does it really make sense to go through the madness and sometimes dangerous journey through the doors of your favorite retail store to get one or two items you have your heart set on, or is this sacred shopping day overrated?

Experts mostly agree on one thing; if you shop Black Friday looking for bargains on electronics like those people I saw at Best Buy, you are going to save quite a bit of money as long as you make a shopping plan based off the weekly ads in the Thursday newspaper or by looking at their deals on retailers’ web sites.

Shopadvisor, an established website that allows you to create a free account so you can enter specific products and receive an alert when their prices drop, claims shopping Black Friday may be one of the worst ways to get that special bargain you are looking for. They compiled this information through electronic data which revealed that in the 54 days preceding Christmas from November 1st through December 24th, Black Friday had the lowest percentage of products on sale.

If you think about this for a second, it makes perfect sense. You need to know if you shop Black Friday, companies are not in business to lose money and this is the oldest retail trick in the book. It’s called using a “loss leader.”

Loss leaders are products retailers sell at a very low cost, sometimes below their market value, to get you into the doors and buy all those other products in the store which are not a bargain at all.

So, the only way to really save money while shopping Black Friday is to snatch those few special items at a loss leader price and to not be suckered into buying anything else that day unless you have verified it’s on sale. Retailers know people are in a frenzy this time of year and regularly priced products are laid out all over the stores where the temptation to buy them is difficult to control. For example, you can buy one or two television sets at a rock bottom price and save big money but if you continue shopping and fill your cart up with regularly priced items, your savings go right out the window like a losing gambler playing blackjack who doesn’t know when to stop!