DePauw prof Gary Lemon offers Black Friday shopping advice

Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Gary Lemon

It comes as no surprise that DePauw University economics professor Gary Lemon would exhort people to do their homework.

But this time, Lemon is not talking to his students but rather readers of WalletHub, a personal finance website. 

WalletHub asked Lemon and three other experts, in advance of this week’s “Black Friday” shopping promotions, to “share some of their shopping smarts with budget-conscious consumers.” The feature was a sidebar to an expansive article in which WalletHub, having surveyed nearly 8,000 Black Friday deals, lists the best deals in various product categories.

How, the website asked Lemon, can consumers identify real deals versus “marketing traps?”

“Do your homework,” he said. “You need to know how much something has been selling for before Black Friday. Just because you see 80 percent off does not mean it is a good deal. If you are at a store, check Amazon to see what it sells for at Amazon. Do not be an impulse buyer.”

Lemon was also asked:

How can consumers protect themselves from overspending on Black Friday?

“Have a list of things that you want; do not buy something just because it looks like a bargain. An item that you bought at a low price that you never will use is very expensive. Stick to the list of things that you want to buy.”

Which day do you believe people get the best deals: Black Friday? Cyber Monday? Another day? Why?

“There is no correct answer. If you are going to buy something that is going to be popular this season probably the early you buy it the better. If on the other hand merchants, see that something is not selling well you may find that the best bargains are the day before Christmas.”

What are some tips for maximizing bargains on Black Friday?

• Have a list of things you want to buy.

• Know what a good price is.

• Do not be an impulse buyer.

What types of products are better to buy on Black Friday versus Cyber Monday?

“I have seen no consistent pattern. Know what you want and know what a good price is and when you see it, buy it.”

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