It used to be so simple.
If you got up early, bundled up, and stood in line, you got the best prices. Black Friday put retailers in the black and a dent in your Christmas shopping list. But, that was before Cyber Monday and Gray Thursday (the day formerly known as Thanksgiving). Is it even worth it anymore? We lay it out for you one argument at a time.
A new study found that 17 percent of what you buy is cheaper online than on Black Friday.
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What's worth it?
PRO: According to Wallet Hub, deep discounts will be available on home appliances and jewelry -- if you go out to the store.
CON: Laptops, some clothing, and most beauty items can be found for great prices online now.
PRO: If you go out on Black Friday, you can actually see the bargains in person to decide if it's worth it.
"I think it's always a good idea to come in, look and feel. If you think you've found the perfect deal that's within your price and budget, then purchase right there." That's coming from Carol Cox, head of marketing for Lennox Square Mall in Atlanta.
CON: The closer you get to Christmas, the more expensive gifts will get. Stores use dynamic pricing, so as an item gets more popular, the price goes up. Take Hatchimals, for example. Described as "an interactive mystical creature that will encompass the magic of friendship," they show up online for $69.99, but completely sold out. If you want one, you'll pay more than $200 at various big box stores.
PRO: For some people, the tradition is worth it.
"This is definitely a social gathering spot and people love to come together to do their holiday shopping," Cox said. And, she's right. People who are into Black Friday are REALLY into it. In our years of covering Black Friday for 11Alive News, we've met groups who dress up, give specific assignments, do practice runs, and celebrate their savings.
It comes down to this: the internet might eventually kill Black Friday. Overall, you will get the same, or slightly better, deals online. If you're still shopping on Black Friday, it's because you want the experience, not the deal.