This year, I have seen more hoopla around Black Friday & other holiday promotions than I ever have before.
Small businesses are a mixed bag: Black Friday is killing little guys! Black Friday is the only way little guys survive! Here’s why we are not doing Black Friday. Here’s why you should shop Black Friday. etc.
Established brands that never discount seem to be trying out sales on their coveted items. Frequent discounters are giving offers at new levels.
Everyone seems to be flapping their arms and looking for attention. What is going on?!
My observations are that most brands are in a tougher spot than at the height of lockdown-era, online shopping mania. dignify, too, experienced above-average sales in 2020 and 2021, and now have settled back into more pre-covid numbers.
For us, it has been an adjustment, but fine. We have an abundance of blankets sitting, waiting on our shelves; a bit of a space problem (!), but, manageable. We are also, to be honest, a bit concerned about the provision of work for our production partner, Basha — if we don’t need more goods, we can’t order more & they don’t have the work (or income) to offer to the women artisans.
I can understand the desperation that is fuelling marketing right now.
But, what does it mean for us as customers?
Here are some thoughts to keep in mind as you're deluged with sophisticated, thoughtful marketing this season:
Buy what you want, not what is a good deal
Never has it been more tempting to snap up limited time offers & steep discounts! But, don’t be swayed by the red slash — keep top of mind: do I want this thing? Will I want it in 1 year? 5 years? Is there resale value if my needs change? Will I be glad that I purchased this?
Our friend K looooved Costco and would say, "I can get xyz amount of xyz cheese at Costco for $12! At the grocery store, it would cost, like, $30!" Then, his wife would chime in, "Except it's more like you've wasted $8 when most of it goes in the garbage, rotten, because *you can't eat that much cheese*."
I think of this when I see an amazing sale on something I'm kind of interested in. Am I saving $30 on something that's usually $60? Or, am I wasting $30 on something I don't really need, want, or will use.
Plan ahead, and take advantage of opportunities
While you don't want to be tempted by sales to get what you don't want, getting a great deal on an item you do want is... the best!
Plan ahead, write a list, research your fave brands and the stores that carry them. Go on email lists, get sign-up coupons, take advantage of the offers that they provide. If you know what you want, you will be confident and ready to snap it up when a good opportunity comes up.
I also feel like this is a great way to go for donations & generosity opportunities. For example, our city does a "toy mountain" drive for the local women's emergency shelter. If I can get a great toy on a 2-for-1 deal, it's perfect for donating twice as much.
Support the businesses you want to succeed
I love a great deal. But, I also love to see great businesses do well! I know that for most businesses*, the prices are set based on what is fair & sustainable in the long-term. If I miss out on a deal, or if I want to shop with a biz that doesn't discount, I've decided not to feel bad or disappointed about it.
It's a privilege for me to be able to spend, and to choose, and I am thankful for it!
*There are other ways to approach pricing: some may price with the assumption that many of the items will be discounted 25%, 40%, 50% (like, The Gap); Amazon has a high volume of items, so their profit margin can be smaller and they can price lower; some online-only stores are run directly from factory connections and cut out "middle men". etc.
Spend mindfully, even at low prices
The prices on just about everything have gone up. This alone will give us more pause about casual purchases. But, it can be the $10 and $20 purchases that add up unnoticed, and may amount to $100 that you would have preferred to spend otherwise, or donate, or save.
Are you approaching this holiday season differently than you have in the past? Have you noticed a difference in stores' behaviors, or in how far your money goes or does not go? I'd love to hear your thoughts below.