Over the weekend, Nigerian musician 9ice released an “apology” video asking fans to intervene in his 3rd marriage by pleading with his wife to forgive his infidelity.
Outside of my initial shock at the sheer manipulativeness of the entire situation, my next thought was just how dodgy it all was– the background music, the trademark patriarchal selfishness of the apology, the camera angles.
Bogus. Like many of the Black Friday deals you’ll be seeing this week.
With all the hype around Black Friday, you’ll be tempted to operate under the impression that every offer is worth trampling over fellow shoppers to get in on– both online and offline with retailers and grocers slashing prices to ‘rock bottom’ levels for one day only.
But research has found that that’s rarely the case.
In reality, not every sale is a bargain and not every bargain is on sale.
Research done by The Guardian tracked the prices of 83 products on offer in Black Friday deals 6-months before and 6-months afterwards. The goal was simple: to find out whether Black Friday ‘deals’ really do offer the rock-bottom prices they advertise and that many shoppers expect. The study found that 61% of the discounts were available for the same price or cheaper in the six months preceding Black Friday. What’s more interesting is that 95% of the products were available for cheaper in the six months following Black Friday. Ultimately, only 4 of the products, out of the 83 surveyed, were actually at their cheapest on Black Friday.
So before you rush to impulse-buy that coffee maker, printer or smartphone, read on for 3 top tips to work out if a deal is real or not:
- Check the price across multiple websites: This is the most basic check you can do. Studies show that often, more than one store will sell a product at a similar price, but only one claims that the price is a special offer. For example, if three outfits are selling the same washing machine for N60,000, but only one is claiming it’s a special offer at “Now 60,000, was 75,000,” that’s a pretty good indicator that the price is not a particularly special deal and you can get the item at that price at a different time. Of course, if you’re happy to pay for that particular item, that’s great. But don’t snap it up thinking you’re getting a bargain.
- Be wary of “was” prices: I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gone online or walked into a store and noticed that retailers actually mark merchandise up weeks before, just so they can mark it down in time for Black Friday. That way, you think you’re getting a great deal, but the store’s charging the amount it always wanted in the first place. This practice is actually illegal in some countries (notably in Europe), but its vibes and Insha Allah in many African markets, so be on the lookout.
- Watch out for “buy one get one free” deals: The holy grail of Black Friday deals: “Buy one, get the second one free” or BOGO (which sounds erringly close to Bogus ?). This mechanic is hugely effective in boosting sales because consumers generally overvalue what they are getting and feel that they are getting a huge deal. These offers are ultimately traps IF the extra item is something you really don’t need. If you won’t use it, then you shouldn’t be paying the extra money. Sometimes, you find out that it’s not a real “buy-one-get-one-free” and each item is actually just 50% off, in which case you can unbundle the deals and just buy the item you actually need for half the price!
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