The Ultimate Dilemma for the Ultimate Shopper (Part 2)

Liana Teixeira

CYBER MONDAY v. BLACK FRIDAY

I give credit to those who get up at 4 a.m. after Thanksgiving. It’s not an easy thing to do, especially with all that delicious food still making us sleepy from the feast before. Only the outrageous sales on Black Friday could motivate Americans enough to wake up before dawn and shop.

I personally like to sleep in on Black Friday, so I have never witnessed the long lines of customer stretching across parking lots and malls. However, I do work in retail, so I am ultimately exposed to the pandemonium. In more recent years, however, Cyber Monday has gotten significant attention from the public, mostly because it’s been promoted as an easier (and safer) way to buy holiday gifts. No lines, no wait, no punches in the face from customers in Best Buy reaching for the same flat screen TV. But while Black Friday gets a pretty bad reputation for being too chaotic, I think a few positive details go quite overlooked.

Yes, Cyber Monday gives you the opportunity to shop from the comfort of your own home, but there’s the whole excitement factor missing. Granted, many would prefer not to be trampled by crazy shoppers, but there’s a rush of adrenaline that comes when those automatic doors at Target finally open. It’s an adventure, plain and simple. You can also squeeze in some bonding time by going with family or friends, something you can’t do via computer screen.

And let’s face it, the deals you find in some stores are unbelievable. Online stores also have multiple sales, but there are certain in-store offers that only come when actually visiting the store. If you decide to wait for Cyber Monday to roll around, there’s a good chance the items that were on sale Friday are no longer on sale, or are not offered for sale on the online website.

Another important thing to remember is that Black Friday allows shoppers to actually see the product they are buying. Squint at the computer screen all you want, but that tiny picture of the diamond bracelet you’re pining over isn’t going to get any bigger. Zooming in on the sweater you “have to get” won’t make it magically materialize for you to try on before purchasing. At least on Black Friday, you get to examine the available products before making the purchase. This is especially necessary when buying clothes. Probably the biggest downside to Cyber Monday is not knowing what you’re getting until the UPS box arrives on the doorstep. And if whatever you bought is broken for some inexplicable reason, you have to ship it back to exchange for a new one. That’s a little inconvenient if you ask me.

Speaking of shipping, not all online stores offer free shipping on Cyber Monday. This means you’ll probably be spending another five to seven dollars just to get your gifts delivered. On some occasions, the extra shipping cost might actually cancel out potential savings.

Once again, I bring up the fact that I work in retail. Each day, most businesses are given a certain quota that they have to meet in terms of regular sales. Participating in Black Friday helps stores reach their monetary goals and, ultimately, remain in business.

Just to be clear, I’m not advocating wrestling other customers to the ground for the sake of holiday shopping. I admit, there are dangers with venturing out on Black Friday, but as long as one is careful and aware of their surroundings, it can prove to be an enjoyable experience.

So is it better to brave the storm and experience the exciting quest that is Black Friday, or put on some fuzzy slippers, play “The Lazy Song” and crack open a laptop? The choice is yours.