Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life
By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website www.lenoreskomal.net.   Read more about this blog.
Posted: November 5th, 2012
Is Black Friday a good thing?

I have never participated in the retail hoedown known as Black Friday. While I do love to shop, I don’t like chaos. I also don’t like to wait at a starting line waiting for the gun to off, which is why I never compete.

Black Friday has a history and a reason. While I don’t personally recall knowing about it when I was kid, even though Wikipedia says it dates back to 1961 in Philadelphia and gained national steam by 1975.

It used to mark the first day of the Christmas shopping season, which we all know has been moved up to just after Halloween, if not a few weeks before. The meaning of what Black Friday is disputed, but the generally agreed upon one is that it’s when retailed see their bottom lines go from red to black.

But what about consumers? The general belief is that they often end up spending more money, going over their budgets and rush to get items that they would be able to purchase later in the season for less.

Some shoppers just love the thrill of the crush of people and the rush of the bargain. Black Friday becomes a tradition. If you do choose to participate in Black Friday, there are tips you can use to make the most of your spending dollars.

Check fliers and match prices before plotting your strategy and make sure you save those sales receipts. Check online before driving to the store because sites such as Ebates.comFatWallet.com and Swagbucks.com offer additional savings. Check popular savings sites likeTotallyTarget.com and IHeartTheMart.com. And watch for those that give away free gift cards with electronics purchases.

Or just wait until the second week in December, and more stuff goes on sale. Or Christmas Eve when you can get the best bargains of all.

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