No one has more insider knowledge about Black Friday than the sales associates working that day.
To unearth 11 lesser-known facts about Black Friday, Business Insider surveyed more than 40 Black Friday workers.
Whether you want to know what’s a terrible deal or how to not get duped, read on for the inside scoop:
The mall doesn’t open until its ‘anchor stores’ do
- Oli Scarff/Getty Images
“Anchor stores such as Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Target make the decision for the entire mall. The mall opens when they open, and those that don’t comply are fined by the mall for every hour they stay closed. Some stores like Apple acknowledge this and happily pay those fines.”
Black Friday sales are usually on older models and are often the same deal as last year
- REUTERS/Jeff Haynes
“Most of the bigger deals are actually outdated products. Yeah, you have your new tablets and phones, but those will be very limited in both how many there are and how much you can save. Most of the biggest and most tempting savings come from products that are at least a year old or more and they have to clear out the inventory in the warehouses.”
According to a study from NerdWallet, 93% of stores offered customers at least one product for the exact same price in 2014 as in their 2013 Black Friday ad.
These products would probably have gone on sale anyway
- Rob Stothard/Getty Images
“New product lines come out a couple weeks after Black Friday, so those older items that are on sale on Black Friday would go on sale anyway.”
You rarely ever need to be there when the store opens — the sales last all day
- Getty/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
“Most sales last all day. You don’t need to be there at midnight unless you are specifically interested in the door buster items.”
In fact, many begin before Black Friday
- Jeff J Mitchell / Staff / Getty Images
“Some stores start the sales early, and there is no literal difference in price between Monday before Thanksgiving or Friday. Obviously it all depends on the store, but if you have a store you like, check ahead of time and maybe you can get those deals early, maybe even before your size is gone in the Black Friday frenzy.”
Stores will use all sorts of tricks to get you to spend more
- Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images
“At higher-end stores, don’t fall for the freebie Prosecco or Pellegrino. Stores just want to keep you in there longer so you’ll spend money.”
This isn’t the only trick stores use to get you to spend more during the holiday season.
“The stores are really desperate for your business and will stop at nothing to upsell you.
“Where I worked, HQ would set next-to-impossibly high sales goals that each store was responsible for hitting. We were instructed that once we had someone on the line with money to spend, to ‘keep her naked’ in the dressing room and constantly bring her different colors, accessories, shoes, jewelry, Pellegrino, the works. The idea was that the more she tried on, the more you told her it to look great, the more she’d spend.”
They’ll even sometimes increase the ‘normal’ price of an item before the holidays to make the discount seem deeper
- Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty
“The stuff is marked up from the original cost and then marked down to make people think they are getting a deal.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, retailers will slightly increase the “normal” price of an item in the days before their Black Friday sales so that the discounts appear deeper. In fact, WSJ reported an 8% increase in a fifth of the sale items it tracked before Black Friday and a 23% uptick in the pre-sale prices of toys and tools.
Some items are made specifically for Black Friday and are lower quality
- REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn
“The TVs and computers are made just for that day and are lower quality than usual.”
If you’re not nice, you may pay the price
- Kena Betancur / Stringer / Getty Images
“Black Friday shoppers tend to bang on doors, assuming that if they cause enough chaos, they will be allowed in.
“Banging on the door will make all of us hate you. As in, if there is a chance to make your shopping experience a little more difficult via small, passive-aggressive actions, we will do it. Think $50 and $100 bill checks, ‘a slow register’, and ‘Aw, we just ran out of gift wrapping.’
“All I can offer is, be nice. No one chooses to work the day after Thanksgiving.”
When associates say they’re out of something, they usually mean it
- Sandy Huffaker/Getty
“When we tell you we don’t have anything left, please don’t demand someone else to check. There isn’t a fairy godmother in the back making stuff. If we tell you, “we don’t have anymore,” please understand the words coming out of our mouths.”
If you want Thanksgiving back, stop shopping on Thanksgiving
- Thomson Reuters
“Stay away from the stores on Thanksgiving. Sales associate are people too, not slaves. We want to enjoy our Thanksgiving with our friends and family as much as you.”
“It’s hard to understand how some corporate bigwig can sleep at night knowing his or her decision to open their business is pulling someone away from their family on Thanksgiving. All the while that same corporate stooge is at home in their mansion making millions thanks to the work of those making minimum wage or just a tad above.”
“Don’t shop in the store on Thanksgiving Day. I know a lot of single moms – retail is full of them – who have to leave their kids with relatives or even a babysitter to go to work about the time most families are sitting down to dinner.”
“Don’t complain that you want the traditional Black Friday back, but then come shop on Thanksgiving. If you don’t show up on Thursday, they’ll go back to Friday.”
“Stay home on Thanksgiving Day to shut this idiocracy down.”