There are holiday experiences that carry an element of risk – Spain's 'Running of the Bulls' festival and Bolivia's 'Death Road' are just two that draw thousands of thrill-seeking travellers every year despite the danger surrounding them. You wouldn't expect a trip to the shops to carry the same type of risk, but it might on Black Friday.
What is Black Friday?
Black Friday is a day held annually in the USA right after Thanksgiving on Thursday. On this particular Friday, retailers heavily discount their products and the peace of the previous day is thrown out as consumers go into a frenzy for the best bargains.
Black Friday was originally named as such because it was a day when retailers went from being 'in the red', at a loss, to being 'in the black', in profit. However, some might say that in recent times the 'black' has taken on an added meaning, thanks to the injury and carnage that has occurred as shoppers have battled for bargains.
Since 2006, there have been seven deaths and 89 injuries caused by hysterical shoppers and massive crowds all fighting for the best Black Friday bargains. In clambering to snag discounted items, shoppers have been shot, stabbed, pepper-sprayed and trampled by others.
It's a risky experience. However, the odds aren't too bad as Black Friday lures about 140 million shoppers each year. There are also great rewards for braving the crazy crowds.
The alluring deals
Seeing the sort of discounts that retailers offer on Black Friday might make you want to join in the mad rush. You can find some incredible discounts on selected items. Here are just a few set for 2014:
- Best Buy is selling a 50 inch flat screen TV for just 199.99 USD (approx. 234 AUD) reduced from 549.99 USD (approx. 645 AUD)
- Amazon is selling a Cuisinart Coffeemaker for 72.38 USD (approx. 84 AUD) reduced from 165 USD (approx. 193 AUD)
- Target is offering a Nikon Coolpix camera for just 99.99 USD (approx. 117 AUD) reduced from 229.99 USD (approx. 270 AUD)
These big-ticket items, known as 'doorbusters', are advertised by stores before Black Friday to lure consumers in to the store. Shoppers line up for hours before stores open to make sure they nab the items they want.
Avoiding sales tax
Even though there are some great deals available, you might still need to pay sales tax when you purchase on Black Friday. Whether you pay it and how much you pay depends on the state you are in – some states charge nothing, others charge up to 7%. If you want to avoid sales tax completely, you're best to shop in Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon. States with low sales tax include Colorado, Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, New York, South Dakota, Wyoming, Missouri and Virginia.
Are there Black Friday sales online ?
Retailers also offer Black Friday discounts online, these sometimes go live before the day itself and continue through to the following Monday, which is known as 'Cyber Monday' since it is a big day for internet sales.
How to survive Black Friday
- Leave the morning rush to other punters.
- Take a buddy for added assistance, preferably someone big and strong.
- Buy what you need online if you can.
- Don't get in a fight, simply walk away, it's not worth it. You might have saved $1,000 on that TV but years of back damage will cost you way more.
If you love a bargain, you might like to add this thrilling event to your USA bucket list. The savings you make might even help to subsidise your trip costs. Get in there and grab a deal before they go!