You shouldn’t buy a TV on Black Friday. Black Friday is a glittering treasure horde full of promise for those who brave the stampede. But most of the promises are empty and anyone who really wants the best deals shouldn’t buy a TV on Black Friday.
Black Friday this year falls on November 27th. Analysts expect the day to break records for sales and numbers of shoppers. In 2014 consumers spent $2.4 billion on Black Friday, breaking the previous year’s record by 24%. While the allure is strong, resist. If you don’t buy a TV on Black Friday, you’ll avoid all the snafus below.
|Seven Reasons You Shouldn't Buy a TV on Black Friday|
|Bad brands||Stores sell poor quality no-name brand TVs cheap, hoping you'll see the low price and forget the brand.|
|Chintzy models||"Derivative models" are TVs by trusted manufacturers, made cheaply to compete with "deals" from no-name makers. Don't trust them.|
|There are better times to buy a TV||Buy TVs in winter or spring instead. New models debut in spring so prices drop on older models. Big screens are discounted before the Superbowl.|
|Not a lot of stock||Stores lure you in with an ad for a great price on a great TV they only have a few of, then upsell you.|
|Black Friday is a sales trap||Panic buying creates false urgency and makes you fail to shop around. Shopping around is the best way to get a deal on a TV.|
|Danger Will Robinson!||Black Friday is dangerous at worst, not fun at best.|
|Black Friday is not a gift, it's a tactic.||Black Friday is designed to upsell you and make you spend more overall.|
1. Bad Brands
The first and biggest reason you shouldn’t buy a TV on Black Friday is the brands. Retailers want to lure in customers. To do it, they advertise great deals on high dollar electronics like TVs. You see an ad for a 50 inch HDTV for $300 and think, now’s the time.
But all that glitters isn’t gold. Don’t buy a TV on Black Friday just because the price is right. Most TVs selling for cheap on Black Friday are just that: cheap. No-name TVs with low resolution, poor color support and low refresh rates can make movies and broadcasts look less-than-HD and video games nearly intolerable.
The only A-rated TV brands according to Consumer Reports are Sony, Samsung, LG and Panasonic. All others get B or C+ ratings. Not sure which brand you’re getting a “great deal” on? Then don’t buy a TV on Black Friday.
Also see: 18 Big Ways to Save Money at Amazon
2. Bad Models
The second reason not to buy a TV on Black Friday is the models. Just because you found a great deal on a top brand doesn’t mean you found a great deal on a TV. The best manufacturers, forced to compete with shady companies hawking shoddy sets, will often turn out special Black Friday sets. These lesser TV models have shorter warranties and less-than-the-best components.
Yes, Panasonic is one of the top TV brands. But the Panasonic DT50 got terrible reviews from CNET. Looking for a great deal on a TV on Black Friday? Beware. You might just wind up with a cheap piece of junk you judged by the name on the box. Don’t buy a TV on Black Friday unless you’re sure of the brand and model. But wait, there’s more…
3. Better Times to Buy
Believe it or not, better deals at other times of year are another good reason not to buy a TV on Black Friday. Retailers do their best to lure shoppers in on Black Friday with cheap prices on low quality sets. But what about the times of year they have to sell?
New TV models hit the shelves in springtime. That means a price drop on older models as stores struggle to clear shelf space. Instead of buying a TV on Black Friday, buy one in March or April. Another great time of year to buy a TV is just after Christmas. Sales figures are in and stores are fighting to unload excess inventory. As the end of football season looms, they know TV sales are about to enter a dark tunnel of lull. Step into a showroom after the holidays and the stores are pretty much at your mercy. While you may not walk away with a too-good-to-be true deal, low prices in spring or early winter are great reasons “Don’t buy a TV on Black Friday.” is the best deal going.
|Better Times to Buy a TV than Black Friday|
|After Christmas||Football season is almost over. Stores scrambling to unload unsold inventory. That means good deals on good TVs.|
|Spring||New TV models come out. Price drops on old models as stores struggle to clear shelf space.|
4. Low Inventory
Another big reason you shouldn’t buy a TV on Black Friday is it’s an almost textbook example of the bait and switch technique. Maybe you do actually find a great deal on a great brand and model TV. It’s right there in the circular. But a few minutes after entering the store, the empty shelf delivers the bad news: Sold Out.
Retailers often stock a very few great sets at fantastic prices (meaning: too good to be true) just to lure in customers. However, once the first two (or five or ten) have sold, that’s it. Customers who’ve set aside the time to buy and set their hearts on a new set are confronted with a choice: Spend more than they intended on a decent TV, buy a cheap knockoff or drive home empty handed? The stores know enough customers will choose to dig deep to make it worth their while. Don’t buy a TV on Black Friday if you’d rather avoid the classic bait-and-switch.
5. The Buying Frenzy
Another excellent reason you shouldn’t buy a TV on Black Friday is the buying frenzy. Panic buying creates false urgency and can get you to neglect to shop around. Shoppers who really want the best deal on a good TV know it comes down to homework. Learn the difference between a good TV and a bad one. Do some price hunting online. Look for the best deals on good TVs in Google shopping. Check out Amazon’s great open box deals and other ways to save at Amazon.
Even going into stores at non-black Friday times of year (see #3 above) can turn up a good deal on a TV. The bottom line is, the entire concept of Black Friday is centered around getting shoppers to drop all their best defenses against getting ripped off. If you don’t know a great TV from an awful one and good prices from bad ones, don’t buy a TV on Black Friday.
6. Black Friday is Dangerous
Item #6 on our list of reasons you shouldn’t buy a TV on Black Friday has nothing to do with TVs. It’s violence. People have been stampeded to death, shot, hit by drunk drivers in parking lots, stabbed, pepper sprayed, killed in car accidents and all kinds of other ugly on Black Friday. It’s not just one instance of each tragedy either, but dozens. Don’t believe us? Here’s a list of 40 awful things that happened on Black Friday over the years. Your odds of actually being killed while buying a TV on Black Friday are almost certainly low. Still, is it really worth braving the mob to pay $400 for a substandard TV? Don’t buy a TV on Black Friday if avoiding the hassle and frustration are high up on your Christmas bucket list.
Even if you don’t get killed, it’s probably not going to be that fun. The odds are low for getting a good deal for a good TV on Black Friday and 43% of shoppers don’t enjoy it. Knowing you’re not likely to find a quality product for a good price, why do it if it’s not enjoyable? For those who do enjoy it, it’s a different proposition. However, if you’re not one who relishes rubbing elbows with a horde of shoppers all fighting for a few cheap prices on cheap sets, don’t buy a TV on Black Friday.
7. Black Friday is Designed to Make Shoppers Spend More, Not Less
If your goal is to spend less, you shouldn’t buy a TV on Black Friday. Unbelievably low prices are an excellent lure, but they’re unbelievable for a reason. Once shoppers inspect the cheap brand in the store, many will shell out more than they intended for a better set. Beyond just overspending on a TV set, another danger lies in overbuying. It’s easy to let a sales associate talk you into stocking up on pricey cables you don’t need, external speakers and other doodads. The best strategy is do your homework, know the TV you’re going after and how much it costs full price at other places. Then, enter the store with a finite shopping list and budget and stick to it. Better yet, don’t buy a TV on Black Friday at all.