Why Black Friday TV Deals Aren’t “Deals” At All

In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, retailers have a ball throwing up announcements detailing massive savings on “top products” – particularly Black Friday TV deals, always the headliner of any retailer’s holiday offerings. There’s no arguing the discounts: they are undeniably the deepest price cuts many items will see this season. Despite that fact, Black Friday deals on TVs are not the avenues to savings one might think.

Black Friday TV Deal

The Low Quality TVs of “Black Friday TV Deals”

The most obvious problem with Black Friday TV deals is a pretty easy one to notice: the items being put on sale are of lower quality than the ones people would normally consider purchasing any of the other 364 days in a year. The cheapest items – the ones put on the front page of most circulars and headlining most email blasts – are pretty much guaranteed to be among the lowest quality products of its kind. Or last year’s model at a slightly reduced price! Look at the front page of WalMart’s Black Friday circular: it lists a 32-inch Funai (who?) 720p television for $98.

Fantastic deal, right? Not so fast. The Funai model’s 720p resolution and 60hz refresh rate immediately stand out as reasons not to buy this television. It’s a television built on half-decade old technology and left behind by the advances of the last few years.

In simpler terms, the phrase “you get what you pay for” still holds a lot of weight on Black Friday, even though the brightly-colored sale signs like to suggest otherwise. There are still plenty of deals to be found on great televisions – Best Buy has a nice collection of 1080p, 50″+ TV’s, for example – but when it comes to the items being advertised front and center, the “deals” aren’t as sweet as they look.

Black Friday TV Deals 2

Avoid the Black Friday Stress

More so, the ever-growing frenzy around Black Friday guarantees a stressful shopping trip, as hundreds of customers try and take advantage of “Doorbuster” and “Early Bird” sales. It’s not only an inconvenience for shoppers, but for employees who find themselves pushed away from their families on Thanksgiving to work overnight (or in some cases, on Thanksgiving itself, a new and disgusting retail trend that’s beginning to take hold). Standing in line, fighting over products, making your way through crowded masses of people searching for the biggest sales on specific products… for better or worse, Black Friday TV deals are a first come, first serve event on a massive scale, one that can be frustrating. And in some cases, dangerous.

There are plenty of other factors I could point to that suggest Black Friday is the last day one might want to do their holiday shopping – but in 2013, the prevalence of dressing up mediocre products as “great deals” and the ever-growing concern for human safety and sanity make Black Friday strictly a Play At Your Own Risk kind of adventure. Is it worth all that to get a great deal on a perfectly average piece of technology? That’s for you to decide.

I know where I’ll be on Black Friday: at home watching movies on my perfectly good used TV and decorating the house.