Marketing professor advises Black Friday shoppers

GVL / Eric Coulter
Suzeanne Benet, Department Chairperson & Associate Professor of Marketing

Eric Coulter

GVL / Eric Coulter Suzeanne Benet, Department Chairperson & Associate Professor of Marketing

Rachel Melke

Before 1966, the term Black Friday was used to express the extreme amounts of traffic after Thanksgiving Day.

Fast-forward to 2010, and the average American spent $365.34 on Black Friday with overall sales adding up to $45 billion, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

However, according to a Grand Valley Lanthorn poll of 100 students conducted last week on the Pew Campus, only 40 percent of Grand Valley State University students said they shop on Black Friday.

GVSU junior Kayla Bowles goes each year with her mom, aunts and grandma. Even with much preparation, she admits that Black Friday can be a little crazy.

“It’s sometimes overwhelming,” Bowles said. “We all go in and one person stands in line while everyone else gets what they need, then we let them go get what they need.”

While there are many good buys – for example, Play Station 3 or Xbox 360 with Kinect bundles priced at $199.96 at Wal-Mart – the GVSU marketing department chair Suzeanne Benet, who has spoken to local radio station WJRW about Black Friday, advised all shoppers to shop smartly and be conscious of their purchases.

“I think a lot of people do sort of think that the second Thanksgiving is over they have to go get started on their holiday shopping,” Benet said, reasoning why Black Friday seems so logical and popular.

She also mentioned that because it is around the holidays and people are with their families, they are more likely to shop.

“There is a lot of support for if people go shopping as a group, they buy more,” Benet said.

Although she admits some of the sales on Black Friday help people to save money, it is not necessarily the only way consumers can save.

“Some of what they are going to do later on will depend on if their sales are as good as they thought they would be or if they’re going to need to keep doing things to bring people in the doors because they didn’t sell enough,” Benet said.

This year, some stores will open before Black Friday even starts, with a few planning to open as early as 9 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.

“There’s been some discussion about whether there will be a backlash by consumers,” Benet said. “They don’t know. They’re seeing how this works out … You have people wondering where does it end and what about their poor employees.”

Benet said it is smart to keep track of what all different stores are charging for the specific items you want to avoid purchasing on a whim.

“Don’t just get swept up in it when you go,” Benet said. “It may or may not be your best deal.”

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