5 reasons why Black Friday is totally pointless

black friday feature crowd
Peter Spirer/123RF.COM
Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, is the Friday after Thanksgiving. It sucks.

The term was first used by traffic-weary Philadelphia police officers in the early 1960s to describe the post-Thanksgiving shopping rush. However, a different explanation later arose as a way to associate Black Friday with something more positive. For the majority of the year, retailers generally operate at a financial loss, or “in the red.” Black Friday would be the point retailers begin to turn a profit, or operate “in the black.”

No matter where the name comes from, Black Friday currently goes hand-in-hand with mass consumerism as people eagerly line up outside of retailers in the hopes of partaking in deals. Technology is the main driver for most of these sales today, meaning the modern mainstream consumer is presented with the impulsive need to buy that ultra-cheap HDTV or video game console. Great, right?

Some people do see it as a wonderful time of year, since, in theory, they can just get all their holiday shopping done in one day. They might even like it to experience the rush of it all. I’m not one of those people. Let’s take a look at why that is.

1. Black Friday is the offspring of chaos and madness

A few years ago, I decided to give Black Friday a whirl and camped outside of Target for about an hour or two. When I first arrived, I felt my jaw hit the floor at seeing a line that stretched into the parking lot. Standing outside in the cold was, and still is, an unappealing proposition — but if you want those doorbuster deals, it’s your only option.

The doors finally opened, but not everyone could enter at once. Nudging and then pushing followed as everyone began rushing through the doors like a pack of zombies (the fast kind). It was terrible and only got worse as everyone pillaged the shelves inside. Around the country, thousands are injured on Black Friday, one of the only times common shopping devolves into violence and trampling every year.

Unless you live in the warm South, it will be a cold experience waiting for the store to open. And if you avoid that morning rush, there will still be a wide-enough swath of people to make things uncomfortable and possibly dangerous. Retail workers and managers dread this day like no other, so hostility should be expected if things get out of line.

Why deal with that when you can simply stay at home and relax?

2. Cyber Monday exists

Forget Friday. Wait for Monday. Black Friday is the day all the news outlets, from big to small, bring their camera crews out to visit the lines outside of stores and get “exclusive” first-hand accounts of the madness. Cyber Monday isn’t nearly as reported on.

If you’re unfamiliar with Cyber Monday, think of it as Black Friday for online shopping. Cyber Monday is the day retailers offer discounts, sometimes deep, for a large amount of their stock. Online shopping is preferred by many due to avoidance of lines and the general convenience of it all. On Cyber Monday, everything is available at the click of your mouse.

Related: Check out our 2015 holiday gift guide

Admittedly, the line between Black Friday and Cyber Monday has blurred over the years as retailers extend their in-store and online deals for an entire week — or all month long — rather than just the two days. Even so, retailers have gotten in the habit of porting over in-store deals online, making it that much easier to get your shopping done.

Because of that, why would you deal with lines and people when you can just buy what you want from the comfort of your own home?

3. The deals might seem great, but don’t be fooled

On Black Friday, there are legitimately great deals, but there are also a lot of terrible deals. The case can be made for the occasional $15 stocking stuffer, but you have to keep in mind that many bargain-bin gizmos are cheap crap you should avoid. If you see a set of earphones for $5, for example, and the next one up is just $15 or $20 more, just spend the extra money.

A lot of bargain-bin gizmos are cheap crap you should avoid.

Even the big stuff can disappoint. Take, for example, those $200 or $300 45-inch HDTVs you’ll find on Black Friday. They seem like quite the deal but often miss key features, and some of these items are not built to last — even if they come from a reputable manufacturer.

There are exceptions to these rules, known as loss leaders: products sold for less than it cost the retailer to buy it. In other words, every sale of that product actually hurts the retailer. However, because of the Black Friday craze, retailers usually bank (and succeed) on making sure you buy other products that earn the shop big-time profits. While the simple solution might be to just buy the loss leader item and leave, that rarely happens.

4. There are deals year-round

For the consumer, Black Friday deals might seem like once a year things. Those who take the time to research are happy to tell you that such deals happen year-round, with even better deals usually going unnoticed.

Just a few months back, I purchased a 40-inch HDTV that came equipped with a surround sound system for $300. While the price is sure to give anyone pause, the TV is more than holding its own. “You get what you pay for” certainly applies here, as the screen and sound quality from the combo won’t shock anyone, but for my purposes, they’re more than adequate.

Deals like this happen just about every day, but for whatever reason, a lot of people don’t put in the time to find them. This past summer, I nabbed a refurbished Nexus 7 (2013) for just $140 on eBay from a reputable seller. Scouring the Internet for deals certainly takes time, but in the end, the deals you find make it worth your while.

5. Any excuse is a good excuse to avoid Black Friday

Any kind of excuse is a good one when it comes to not shopping on Black Friday.

Go ahead and watch every episode of Breaking Bad on Netflix, or the Gilmore Girls. I don’t care. Go ahead and 3D print that PokeBall you designed a week ago. Go visit that aunt who keeps calling you incessantly. Spend time with people you love. Anything you can do that’s truly enjoyable, just do it. Don’t worry about getting all your holiday shopping done on the most chaotic day of the year.

While true techies usually abide by these five reasons to avoid Black Friday, they can pertain to just about anyone. But if you’re someone who would rather get all the holiday shopping on one day and be done with it, Black Friday may be a good excuse to do it. If you absolutely must get the shopping done, at least check out our Black Friday master guide so you can make a plan for when you venture out.

Just don’t expect everyone to love those bargain bin gifts you pick up.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.

Gaming

The Teslasuit could turn Black Mirror’s terrifying ‘Playtest’ into a reality

We spoke with Teslasuit co-founder Dimitri Mikhalchuk about VR gaming at CES 2019. With all its features, the future of the Teslasuit and virtual reality look bright. And it also sounds a bit like a Black Mirror episode.
Deals

Looking to upgrade? These are the best iPhone deals for January 2019

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for January 2019.
Emerging Tech

Black holes devour nearby stars and spew brilliant X-rays during outburst phase

Physicists have investigated an explosion of X-ray light originating from a black hole in an outburst phase. The data suggests during an outburst, black holes consume huge amounts of stellar material and shrink in size by a factor of ten.
Deals

Take a look at the best 4K television deals for January 2019

There's no doubt that a good 4K smart TV is the best way to take your home entertainment setup to the next level to enjoy all your favorite shows, movies, and games in glorious Ultra HD. We've got the best 4K TV deals right here.
Gaming

‘Fallout 76’ may have online multiplayer but it’s still a desolate wasteland

"Is Fallout 76 an MMO?" That depends on who you ask. Critics and players often cite its online multiplayer capabilities as a reason it qualifies. Yet calling the game an MMO only confuses matters, and takes away from what could make…
Digital Trends Live

Microsoft has #*!@ed up to-do lists on an epic scale

Microsoft has mucked up to-do lists on a scale you simply can’t imagine, a failure that spans multiple products and teams, like a lil’ bit of salmonella that contaminates the entire output from a factory.
Opinion

As Amazon turns up the volume on streaming, Spotify should shudder

Multiple players are all looking to capitalize on the popularity of streaming, but it has thus far proved nearly impossible to make a profit. Could major tech companies like Amazon be primed for a streaming take-over?
Gaming

Throw out the sandbox. ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ is a fully realized western world

Despite featuring around 100 story missions, the real destination in Red Dead Redemption 2 is the journey you make for yourself in the Rockstar's open world, and the game is better for it.
Gaming

‘Diablo Immortal’ is just the beginning. Mobile games are the future

Diablo fans were furious about Diablo Immortal, but in truth, mobile games are the future. From Apple and Samsung to Bethesda and Blizzard, we’re seeing a new incentive for games that fit on your phone.
Movies & TV

He created comics, movies, and superheroes. But Stan Lee lived for joy

Stan Lee was a creator, a celebrity, an icon, and beneath it all, a real-life good guy with all the same human qualities that made his superheroes so relatable. And his greatest joy was sharing his creations with the world.
Music

Brian Eno sets out to change music (again) with Bloom: 10 World

We always felt that Bloom was a musical system that could be developed further -- it was as if we’d built a CD player and only ever released one CD. For this release, we’ve created ten new worlds, starting with a reimagined version of…
Computing

Can two operating systems coexist? The Pixel Slate thinks so

The Pixel Slate is a 2-in-1 device like no other. It’s not the most polished product we’ve ever used, but Google has laid the foundation for letting mobile and desktop software live side-by-side in peace.
Android

Why commercials in Android Auto could turn your dashboard into a dumpster fire

Google announced some tweaks to the Android Auto experience, focused on making messaging and media easier, but I worry about the future of the platform. For better or worse, there’s a real chance our dashboards could turn into dumpster…
Gaming

These are the best video games you shouldn't leave 2018 without

Developers showed up with a number of amazing games this year. Each capitalized on something unique but there's always one that outdoes them all. Here are our picks for the best video games of 2018 and game of the year.