Tag Archive | "shopping"

Dear Retailers: I want Thanksgiving back!

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Dear Retailers: I want Thanksgiving back!

I’m outraged. And you should be too. Black Friday is officially taking over Thanksgiving. Is this nation so obsessed with profits that we will throw our heritage and family traditions out the window?

Crowd at Wal-mart

Image courtesy of Mashable.com

I love Black Friday. I love the great deals. I love getting up early and fighting the crowds to get just what I wanted. But I believe that Black Friday should be confined to Friday.

This year, retailers moved opening times up to midnight on Thanksgiving. To help shoppers, stores offered floor maps. The Wal-mart near our home had a huge board with all the deals and their locations on a large map. Wal-mart had specialists on stand-by all Thanksgiving day to help shoppers plan out the best plan of attack.

I was sickened by all of this. What has happened to Thanksgiving? This holiday is uniquely focused on spending time appreciating what we have. Retailers have taken that away and turned the focus to what we want.

So this is me saying, “I want Thanksgiving back!” Do not open your doors before 5AM on Friday. Do not steal the attention from things that actually matter. If you agree with me, let everyone else know in the comments below.

While I’m on this kick, I have another concern. I fear that many individuals fall victim to the coupon effect that I have discussed before (Why coupons could cost you more money). It is so easy to buy something because of the awesome deal or price that we are getting. But too often, that thing isn’t something that we would normally buy. Meaning, you haven’t saved any money. Let me give you an example.

Let’s say you see a 32 inch LCD LED TV on sale at Best Buy. The price is unbeatable. You will not find this price again any time soon. So you buy it. But you weren’t actually planning on buying a TV at all. The low price changed your buying behavior and enticed you into buying the TV. You didn’t save any money. You only spent money.

And what’s even more scary than the fake savings are the lengths that many Americans go to for Black Friday. Mashable.com created a gallery of pictures posted to Twitter of the crazy crowds at stores across America (see image above). Also, what about the violence? Did you see the article about the Grandpa who was beaten unconscious by policemen because they believed he was shoplifting? Apparently, the crowd began to get a bit violent so the Grandpa stuck the item he was intending to buy in his waistband and picked up his grandson to save him from being trampled. The man was taken to the hospital and then booked into jail.

Are you kidding me?! What has happened to Thanksgiving? We have become obsessed with stuff and are willing to sacrifice one of the most amazing holidays for it.

As an aside, this post was featured in the 337th Carnival of Persona Finance hosted at MyPersonalFinanceJourney.com. Thanks for reading.

Posted in Family, FeaturedComments (2)

Are you taking advantage of free shipping this Christmas season?

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Are you taking advantage of free shipping this Christmas season?

A recent article in MediaPost Publications outlined that more marketers have been offering free shipping this holiday season as compared to last year. More and more consumers found themselves enticed with free shipping versus discounted pricing.

Online-ShoppingI personally love free shipping. I feel like I am receiving a great deal. In fact, I almost expect free shipping when shopping online anymore. But is free shipping really that great of a deal?

Free Shipping vs. Discounted Prices

Some of my favorite sites like Amazon.comand SwimOutlet.com offer free shipping once you reach a price threshold. I recall one occasion when my wife and I found an extra floaty toy on SwimOutlet.com in order to reach the$75 threshold for free shipping. We have yet to open the floaty toy.

Discounts, on the other hand, can be specific to an item/purchase or a price threshold. I recently purchased several gift baskets to send to clients on WineCountryGiftBaskets.com. The baskets that I purchased were on sale and did not require that I spend any additional money.

Are you spending more because of free shipping?

You are according to the same MediaPost article. Marketing intelligence firm ComScore reports that “the average order value” for offers including free shipping increases by “about 15%” as consumers feel that they are saving money. This statistical very similar to reports from Dave Ramsey that consumers spend on average 12-18% more when using a credit card. So I have to wonder if these two statistics are correlated at all.

For example, Suzy Q is shopping Amazon.com this season and finds that Amazon offers free shipping on many orders over $25. But, her basket total is only $20. So what does she do? She buys another book like any other red blooded American. And better yet, she knows that the extra $5 isn’t a problem since she won’t receive the credit card bill until January.

In this example, Suzy Q appears to have increased her order by 25%! But did she really? I created a basket of goods on Amazon.com totaling $20.27. With shipping, the total came to $25.25. Therefore, by increasing her order size and receiving free shipping, Suzy Q received more goods or value without increasing her spend (unless you count the $0.25).

Conclusion: Don’t spend more just to earn the reward

Do a few calculations. Verify that spending the extra money to earn a discount or promo, such as free shipping, saves you money or breaks even with the non-discounted price as was the case with my Amazon.com purchase.

Posted in Saving Money, FeaturedComments (4)

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