Black Friday Shopping: In Person or Online?

Black Friday Shopping: In Person or Online?

Although most Americans look forward to the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends, so many (like myself) can’t wait until what comes after. Black Friday is the greatly hyped day after Thanksgiving when almost every brand and retailer holds a massive sale on their items. Black Friday unofficially marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, and consumers hunt for the best deals. Many rush to the stores to buy in person, but with many places offering the same (or more) deals online, others prefer to surf the internet. So which shopping strategy is better? Where can you find the best deals with the least amount of stress? Which is the best all-around Black Friday experience? Let’s take a look.

In-person shopping is historically the way to shop on Black Friday. Customers head out on Thanksgiving Eve and Friday morning to wait in line and fight the crowds, all looking for the best deal. In-store, you can see the products in person rather than taking the risk of ordering them online. Some believe that you can even get better deals if you shop in person. Junior Hailey Serlin agrees, “In person is better because you can see more sales, try on clothes, and don’t have to pay for shipping.” Being able to try on clothes is definitely a plus, because items ordered online may not fit, and you have to repackage and send them back, resulting in wasted money. Berkley’s 504 and Adult Transition coordinator, Sharon Berke, likes in-person shopping for a different reason. “I do like it in person because it’s really exciting on Black Friday with all the crowds,” she noted. Although many love the in-person experience, the excitement of the day and competing with crowds of people for the best deals can be exhausting.

Although the idea of shopping in person excites Serlin, it stresses others out. Lines out the door and fighting throngs of customers can be a reason that people choose to skip the store and shop online. The crowds are so huge that many shoppers end up spending more time waiting to check out than they do actually shopping. Since there are fewer places in the shopping distance and a limited inventory of items in each store, to get what they want, many will choose to head out right after Thanksgiving dinner or wake up before the sun rises to be first in-store to shop. While Sharon Berke loves the excitement of shopping in the store, the haul to even get to the stores causes her to think twice. “On Black Friday, I’m up all night, and it can make me very tired,” she lamented.

For many patrons, online shopping is the way to go. Shopping online means a wider variety of stores, as well as a better availability of items. Many retailers also launch their sales before Black Friday and extend them weeks after. This removes the pressure because there is more opportunity to shop, items are replenished regularly, and things take longer to sell out. Surfing the internet during Black Friday also means you get the same deals without leaving the comfort of your own home. Senior Abby Samson agrees, “I like online shopping because I don’t have to deal with people and lines.”

Although a wide variety of merchandise and retailers online can be a good thing, for others, it gets stressful. Junior Sophia Baron takes issue with the number of stores to shop from. “Online shopping can become overwhelming. There are too many things on sale for me to buy one without seeing it in person,” she remarked. Along with the extensive amount of products and retailers to shop at, online shopping has other flaws. Shipping adds extra cost and waits time to your order. Because demand is so high, items can take weeks to be delivered, and the cost to ship often outweighs what you order.

After investigating both methods, there is not one surefire way to go. Overall, there are pros and cons to each, and it comes down to individual shopping preferences. If you are looking for a more cost-effective, immediate gratification method and you don’t mind fighting the crowds, then in-person shopping is your answer. If you prefer a calmer shopping experience from a wider variety of items with faster checkout and wait times and added cost doesn’t bother you, then go online. Ultimately, Black Friday shopping comes down to personal preference. One thing is for certain: whichever way you choose to shop, there are plenty of ways to spend your money during Black Friday!