Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s the day before Thanksgiving. Tomorrow, many of us in the United States will be sitting down to a meal with family and friends.

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My family is known for making enough for food for three times our number.

Or, we’ll be snarfing it down and getting right on to the very important business of Black Friday bleeding into the holiday of thanks. Because, you know, those amazing consumer deals can’t wait, and they’re so good, the stores need more than one day to run them all. *sarcasm*

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For anyone outside of the US, Thanksgiving is a day we in the US celebrate and give thanks, usually around a turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Pie then follows.

So, yeah, we give thanks by stuffing ourselves with food. Sounds about right.

Black Friday, however, is the day after Thanksgiving. This is said to be the busiest shopping day of the year. It isn’t. The Saturday before Christmas is (hello all you procrastinators out there!), but it’s still a huge day, and retailers will make 4-5% of their total profit for the year on Black Friday.

To get the foot traffic and corresponding sales, retailers offer seemingly ridiculous deals on stuff. Like 60 inch HD televisions for $199. Here’s the catch, though. There’s probably less than three of these televisions in each store. In the US, retailers can get away with that by noting that “quantities are limited”.  So, yeah.

Of course, many times those deeply discounted televisions or other items are specifically made for Black Friday so they may not be much of a deal if you factor in quality. There are a ton of online sources that tell you how to spot a real deal from a fake one. If you’re going to go through the Black Friday effort, I recommend you take a look.

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If the never-ending Christmas creep, many retailers are now offering Black Friday deals all through November.

I’m not terribly tempted. I’m almost done shopping already, and I tried hard to support artists through Etsy again this year. I also know the good toys go early, and I don’t want to be chasing around on eBay to find the handful of things my girls want. My oldest daughter’s Christmas list was two items. Yeah, not messing with that!

I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving full of family friends and food, and a productive Black Friday if you celebrate it.

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Will Retail Compete?

I had a pretty frustrating experience with retail shopping this week that reminded me why I do all of my shopping on line. Made me wonder if retail is even truly trying to compete with online shopping.

Saturday morning, I ran to the bank with my toddler. While for some, this would be a painful and frustrating experience, my toddler loves running errands. She loves going to the bank. So, we took care of our transaction and headed back to the car.

She begged not to go home.

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She can be convinced to do a lot for a ride in the car. Like getting dressed.

I’d been planning to head home and order a Christmas present online, but I checked the Toys R Us website on my phone, and it said my “local” store had them in stock. The closest store is about twenty minutes away, but the toddler loves the ride, and I love the quiet.

So, we headed over there. Only, they didn’t have it in stock when we got there. Because of course they didn’t. A snotty floor attendant informs me of this, at which point, I showed him the website on my phone saying that they did, in fact, show it in stock on their site.

Biting back several expletives that I don’t want my toddler to parrot back to me, I took her to the mall which is right down the road from Toys R Us. I was going to pick up a Christmas ornament that JCPenny said they had in stock.

Only, at 9:45 am on a Saturday morning, JCPenny wasn’t open. Because who is out on a Saturday getting all of their errands done before taking one of their children to a friend’s birthday party then going over to see family for dinner?

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No, just twice, because I couldn’t believe it the first time.

I am not waiting fifteen minutes outside in 34F/1C weather with a toddler. Or even without a toddler. Especially not when I can order the same thing from Amazon, with free shipping, and it’s $0.03 cheaper.

Finally, we swung by a cabinet store to get a special knob to spruce up a plain white desk. I wanted a sparkly knob to make it look less like furniture we put together, even if it totally was furniture we put together.

I’d done some perusing of the internet before going to the cabinet store, and I almost laughed myself and my toddler out of the store when they were charging $27 for the exact same knob, by the same maker, as one I’d found online at several different place for less than $10. That $10 included shipping.

All in, three stores and well over an hour of my life, and I came back with nothing I’d set out to get.

Much to my toddler’s chagrin, we went home at that point. I popped open my iPad, and less than fifteen minute later, I had the toy ordered, the Christmas ornament for the tree on its way, and the knob for the drawer bought.

Even when I want to support local stores, I’m reminded why so often I don’t. I either can’t afford to, they don’t have what I want, or they just aren’t open.

 

Anyone else have these kinds of struggle with retail lately?  Is it just me? Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by online shopping for so long?