#38things: What’s the craze with Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping?

This post is part of my attempt to post daily between Black Friday and New Year’s Day. That means, if my math is correct, I will have offered 38 different topics about my favorite time of the year. Learn more about 38 Things for the Holidays. If my math is wrong, don’t tell Santa. Please?

This is the first post in this (hopeful) series. This will discuss Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping.

Thanksgiving/Black Friday shopping

I’ve never understood the need to rush to a store, wait in long lines and drop cash on something that probably isn’t worth the hassle anyway.

Sure, I’m guilty of traveling to three different Targets for a Nintendo 3DS XL a few years back and to three different Best Buys for a video game, but I didn’t wait in any lines or threaten the lives of other shoppers. I was the only one after these items.

So the Black Friday and, as of the last few years, Thanksgiving night shopping experiences have no “wow” factor for me.

That doesn’t mean I ignore the experience. I never got up early on Black Friday.

But — and many of you will complain — I do enjoy going to the stores on Thanksgiving after dinner.

While I did not go out this year, it’s an escape from family, which I think is why everybody really goes shopping that night!

But for me, it’s also a chance to just watch people go nuts for the latest TV or get lost in a bunch of so-called “doorbuster” deals.

While TV news sometimes plays up the hype of the shopping hysteria, there is plenty of research and stories to prove that many of the “deals” advertised on Thanksgiving and Black Friday are not deals at all.

For example, Macy’s had a lot of what looked like deep discounts to the naked eye. But a closer look revealed that the “sales” prices were no sales at all. In many cases, the department store never or rarely sells the item for the “regular price” listed.

So an item that claims to be $75 almost never is sold for that price due to ongoing marketing gimmicks to get people to shop.

But for somebody who rarely shops or doesn’t understand the game retailers play, they see a markdown from $75 and think it’s a deal when, in reality, you might be able to get the same item days later for much less.

I remember last year at Target on Thanksgiving, DVDs were $4 or $6 and $10 for complete seasons. But those $4 and $6 DVDs had no bells and whistles. (And who buys DVDs these days, anyway?)

I did buy an ornament at Macy’s last year on Thanksgiving. It was a Spode Christmas tree. I got it for a little more than $10 with tax. Macy’s claimed it was 65 percent off the original price. But we all know Macy’s never sells things for that “original” sticker price.

So was my purchase a good deal?

Retail experts say the better deals often can be found during December. But the marketing tactics used (the language of promotions, the buy-two-get-ones) can pull in the unsuspecting shopper to think they’re getting a deal.

And let’s talk Apple for a moment, shall we? Gift cards for future purchases as their Black Friday promotion? LOL.

There were some iPads on sale at (I think) Target, but they seemed to be less-than-stellar versions of the iPad, so they might be good for people not looking for much storage and who prefer WiFi.

Did you find a decent deal? Tell me!