Viewpoint – Holiday sales tempt, manipulate shoppers

By JW McNay/managing editor

A heavy decision weighs on your mind, and you’re not sure if you should do it, but no one is going to die if you do, right? And so, a decision is made: you click “Add to Cart.”

Finding a great deal online can be exhilarating because everyone likes to save money. However, holiday shoppers think they’re getting a good deal when they aren’t. It can be hard to pass up a deal during holiday sales like Black Friday which offers seemingly good deals but often manipulates consumers into needless purchases.

With a little bit of patience and research though, shoppers can navigate the holiday sales and find genuine deals and hopefully make less unnecessary purchases.

Before a shopping spree, the consumer should ask “Do I need to buy this?” or “Am I buying it just because it’s on sale?” Saving money is only an illusion when an unnecessary purchase is made. Not spending money always saves more than spending it. 

It’s also important to remember that sales prices are not always what they seem.

For example, online retailers like Amazon have listed and discounted prices for some items that aren’t limited to the sales periods. Large discounts of 50 percent or more create urgency to make an immediate purchase, but what the buyer doesn’t know is that the price could have been available before the sale and could even be available after the sale is over.

Consumers should protect themselves by using price trackers to look at past prices. The site tracks Amazon prices, and buyers can see if the deal is as good as they think. It’s even possible an item’s current sale price won’t beat its all-time low price.

The internet is both friend and foe in this process. It makes it easier than ever to research the best deals, but it also exposes shoppers to the countless numbers of sites and their products, all of which are begging to be added to a virtual cart.

Good deals are definitely out there to be found this holiday season, but exercise some patience to make smarter purchases and save some money in the process.

Before you “proceed to checkout,” make sure you’re really getting a deal.