Op-ed

Black Friday shopping: riskier than it seems

King of Prussia mall — a local mall which happens to be the second largest in America — attracts thousands of people each year on Black Friday.

This year, parking was full by 11:30 a.m. according to Kathy Smith, the mall’s director of marketing and business development. Parking at other local malls filled up quickly as well. This year, Black Friday sales went up to $6.22 billion thus increasing 23.6 percent from last year, according to Adobe.

Black Friday is known for its large crowds and aggressive shoppers. With crowds rushing to the stores trying to get the best deals, incidents are bound to happen. People often hear rumors of tramplings and fights, but how accurate is that?

It’s true that there have been cases of stampedes and trampling. As in the worst  example, 2008’s Black Friday police had to shut down a Walmart after the crowd broke down the doors to get into the store and trampled an employee, according to New York Daily News. People continuously rushed through the doors, ignoring others around them who were being knocked down by the aggressive crowd.

People are often knocked down by crowds on Black Friday, but fighting is common too. There have been multiple shootings on Black Friday, which were incited by fights over deals. One year, when two women got into a fight at Toys R Us, their husbands shot each other in the store, according to Huffington Post.

Are Black Friday deals worth fighting over? Stores inflate prices before marking them down to give the illusion of big savings. Researchers found that 60 percent of the most popular products sold on Black Friday “were sold for the same price or cheaper at other times during the year,” according to which stores also promote amazing deals on certain products, but will only order a small amount of that product. This makes it unlikely that more than 10 customers will actually be able to get the item.

Black Friday isn’t necessarily the best day of the year to shop the lowest prices, either. Studies have shown that people save the most money when buying Christmas presents early. Products are usually cheapest in the middle of the summer, according to makeuseof.com’s finance column. Their financial advisor recommends completely ignoring Black Friday, or shopping with a strict budget.

Along with misleading deals on products, Black Friday shoppers are a target of scammers. Researchers found a 200 percent increase in phishing sites on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The founder of Inky, an anti-phishing company, said that with some hackers it can be almost impossible to detect fake emails from real ones.

Besides email, another place that Black Friday scams have become increasingly popular is Facebook. This increase is because Facebook’s new algorithm promotes posts which users  interact with the most. The more likes a fake post advertising Black Friday deals gets, the more people see the post. Scammers can then collect information from Facebook users and sell it.

To avoid getting scammed on Black Friday, keep tabs of items to purchase, to ensure that the discount is significant. Remember, doorbuster deals are often misleading. Watch out for suspicious Facebook links and emails.

Alexis Lincoln is a second-year English writings major and minoring in Journalism. AL892562@wcupa.edu

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