There are literally millions and millions of reasons why you might want to consider not going to the mall on Friday. – Brad Tuttle, Time’s Money
Shopping on Black Friday seems like good financial sense — there are some amazing deals. But here are four reasons why you might want to skip the shopping malls and hang with your family on your extra day off this year.
1. Black Friday doesn’t necessarily have the best deals
While November is a good time to buy computer software, December and January have the best deals for most gift items, eBay Deals says after analyzing the Consumer Price Index for the last decade.
According to its findings, December and January are the best months in which to buy toys and games, shoes and clothes, audio and photography equipment, household decorations and TVs. December, January and February are the best months in which to buy jewelry and major appliances as well. And while computer software was November’s one retail claim to fame, all of the months September through January are good times to buy it.
2. It’s a possible hacker magnet
Back in September, hackers made off with the credit card and email information of Home Depot customers, and last year Target’s system was hacked for debit and credit card information two days before Black Friday. So it’s no surprise that, according to a new CreditCards.com survey, 45 percent of consumers are hesitant to shop at stores whose systems they know have been compromised.
“The odds of another such attack this year [during Black Friday] are better than even,” Paul Austick wrote for 24/7 Wall St. “Since 2005 there have been 4,925 data breaches tabulated, involving nearly 673.5 million exposed records.”
According to NPR, gaining access to a store’s system is easier than you’d hope. NPR’s Aarti Shahani escorted retail auditor and security researcher Davi Ottenheimer around Macy’s and Rolex to figure out how easy it is for hackers to gain access to store card readers, and their experience wasn’t encouraging.
“They came over to help us with the jewelry but not with the fact that we're standing and staring at a PC in the corner," Ottenheimer said to Shahani at Macy’s. The register’s green network light was on — meaning that it was connected to other registers in the store running card numbers — but it was completely unattended.
When NPR reached out to Macy’s to learn what its security features were, it declined to comment. “When credit card data are stolen, [stores] don't typically have to pay,” Shahani wrote. “Financial institutions typically pick up the bill,” meaning that stores don’t have much financial incentive to fund stricter security procedures.
Of course, hackers could strike at any time. But the craziest shopping day sounds like a glowing target. The National Retail Federation projects that about 60 percent of Americans — just over 140 million — will shop this holiday weekend.
3. It’s taking over Thanksgiving
Traditionally, Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and spend time with family and friends. But while shoppers are buying gifts for their loved ones in the Black Friday scramble, the shopping day is overrunning Thanksgiving.
For example, while Best Buy will open its doors at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving for Black Friday, Kmart will open at 6 a.m., just like it’s another shopping day.
Of course, we can all share in the blame. Last year, Time’s Brad Tuttle pointed out that if Thanksgiving is being ruined, the culture and industry are as much to blame as the retailers. If a retailer chooses to opt out of ever-earlier Black Friday deals, he said, they’re missing out on what their competitors are profiting from.
However, according to Forbes, there is still hope for Thanksgiving. Some of the retailers “refusing to open on Thanksgiving Day for the sake of workers and their families,” include: Barnes & Noble, Costco, GameStop and Home Depot.
4. It’s not the only thing to do
“There are literally millions and millions of reasons why you might want to consider not going to the mall on Friday,” Brad Tuttle wrote recently for Time’s Money magazine. He points out that along with parades and holiday lights, there are hockey and basketball games, coat exchanges and other Black Friday events that don’t require long check-out lines.
In Salt Lake City, Temple Square will light up for the first time of the season the day after Thanksgiving.
The animated spinoff “Penguins of Madagascar” hits theaters the day before Thanksgiving, the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Draper will have Santa Claus and crafts the day after Thanksgiving, and the Desert Star Theatre in Murray will perform “How the Grouch Stole Christmas” (a spoof of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”) until Jan. 3.
The Community Coat Exchange will take place the day after Thanksgiving from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Salt Lake City’s Pioneer Park. Anyone can get a coat for free — no explanation necessary. If you want one, you get one. And if you want to donate one, you can do that too. In fact, similar events will take place across the country in order to replace Black Friday with the less-expensive holiday “Buy Nothing Day.”