On Black Friday millions of Americans fought the shopping crowds to get the best deals at stores like Wal-Mart and Best Buy. In fact, many Americans camped out in store parking lots Thanksgiving night just to make sure they’d be one of the first people through the doors.
The economic crunch has put a strain on shoppers’ budgets this year, but you wouldn’t know that with the throngs of people lined up outside stores last Friday morning. This year people know what they want and where to get the best deal on it.
But when the spoils of shopping begin to outweigh the benefits: is it really worth battling the crowds to shop on Black Friday when you can save time, money and stress by shopping online?
On Black Friday morning at a Wal-Mart security worker in New York was killed when a mob of shoppers crashed through the store’s doors trampling him. The worker was apparently trying to hold the crowd back until the store opened at 5 a.m. Though the man was on the ground and gasping for breath, shoppers continued to step on him. The security guard was pronounced dead after arriving at a local hospital. This isn’t the first time this has happened at Wal-Mart; a Wal-Mart customer was allegedly trampled to death just last year on the same day.
When a shopping expedition turns into a matter of life and death it’s time to consider some alternatives. The simplest alternative to shopping in stores is shopping online. Who wants to fight the crowds on the day after Thanksgiving, or on Christmas Eve, when they can shop in the safety and comfort of their own home? I can think of countless reasons to shop online, but I have decided to list only the top three:
- You don’t want to die. In the last two years at least two people have been trampled to death while shopping in Wal-Mart on Black Friday. Maybe a $100 plasma screen television is enough to get some people out of bed at 2 a.m., stand in line in freezing weather, and risk being trampled by a stampede of desperate shoppers. But I would rather be at home curled up on the couch perusing stores’ ware from the safety of my laptop.
- You can often get the same deals online. Stores offer ridiculous discounts just to get people through their doors. Shoppers should know that if a laptop is on sale for $200, there’s probably a catch (like there are only three available at that price). I will admit $200 for a laptop is a good deal, but do I want to reenact the Running of the Bulls to save a few bucks? Not so much. Most sale-priced products offered in retail stores can also be found online. Insane deals are just a tactic used by retailers to get people into the stores where the crowds will become so distracting shoppers will be mesmerized into buying all sorts of stuff they didn’t plan on.
- Save the Earth (and money!). You can save money on gas and decrease polluting automobile emissions by shopping online. If you are shopping for out-of-town friends or family you can save money on shipping by purchasing the gifts online and having the gifts shipped directly to the recipients.