Black Friday: Five ways retailers are tricking you into buying stuff you probably don’t need


Getting people through the door

With shoppers more savvy than ever, retailers are having to find new ways to get us to open our wallets. Some of their ideas are better than others

by Simon Neville, Zlata Rodionova

Black Friday is known to be the best day to hunt for a bargain whether you’re in the US or the UK.

The shopping blowout, which takes place on Friday November 25 this year, will see a whopping £5 billion spent by British shoppers.

However, consumers should beware of misleading offers and retailers tricks to make them buy products they don’t really need.

 An investigation by Which?, a consumer watchdog, has discovered that many Black Friday special offers last year at two major UK electrical shops were potentially misleading and may have breached consumer protection rules.

In one case, Currys claimed shoppers were saving £450 on a TV, when in fact it should have listed the saving as £50.

The watchdog said that while promoting a discount like “was £100, now £50”, the “was” price should be the most recent price the item was sold at for 28 consecutive days or more, and not a price that is more than six months old. However, Which?, found this rule was not followed on numerous occasions

Vickie Sheriff, director of Campaigns and Communications at Which?, said: “Shoppers might be surprised to learn that only half of Black Friday deals are actually cheapest on Black Friday. If you’re thinking about starting your Christmas shopping around Black Friday, do your research as some ‘deals’ may not be all they’re cracked up to be.”

Retailers know their shops will be filled with customers and are finding news ways to get shoppers to open their wallets.

Hannah Maundrell, editor in chief at said: “Take on Black Friday armed with a list of items you want and how much they cost full price. Decide how much you can afford to spend and do a deal with yourself not to spend a penny more. Don’t buy goods not on your list just because they’re on offer and always research to see if you can buy the item cheaper elsewhere before you part with your cash.”

Here are the 5 ways retailers are tricking you into buying products you  don’t need: 

Getting people through the door

Last year, police were called to supermarkets and stores across Britain as stores opened their doors to hundreds of customers on one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

A number of shops opened at midnight, boasting ‘massive bargains’ – and officers were called to four London supermarkets to ensure that sale-goers “were able to enter and exit the stores safely”.

Nobody was injured, and no arrests were made, Scotland Yard said. The same scenes were recreated in Cardiff, where South Wales Police reported a number of calls from staff at Tesco stores who were concerned about “customer conduct”.

“Black Friday”, with its promises of in-store bargains – such as 40-inch LED TVs at £139 a pop at Asda or cheap tablets at Currys PC World – draws the more ravenous of bargain hunters to stores, even if many still question the logic of an annual UK sales event pegged to the US Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

But the question among shoppers should probably be: what is the quality like on a £139 TV made by Polaroid – a company best known for their obsolete instant cameras?

Also, once through the door, how much extra will be pushed on us? An extended warranty? An overpriced HDMI cable? A £100 wall bracket? Before you know it you have spent double what you wanted.

Amazon has gone one step further, offering deals every 10 minutes lasting only a few hours, meaning shoppers will head to its website several times a day, clicking on items of interest and giving the website a whole new set of data so that when the sales end it can pump full price goods at customers, knowing exactly what they bought and what they probably still want.

And with limited time to buy, the impulse to throw caution to the wind is instantly increased.

Finally, keep a close eye on just how much of a discount you are getting compared with how much it is usually sold for.

Carpet and sofa firms got in trouble earlier this year for pushing their “50 per cent off”  sales despite the original higher price being offered for just a few days.

Keeping shoppers in store

Once you have taken the plunge and headed out on Black Friday, what other tricks do the retailers have up their sleeves to keep you instore and shopping?

Big department stores and shopping centres have struggled with this question more than most, because fewer shoppers want to head off for a day in the stores…



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