By Alex P. Vidal
“I generally avoid temptation unless I can’t resist it.”—Mae West
IF we lived in the Third World, we would not experience being tempted by the “Black Friday” shopping madness mainly because the inferior economy doesn’t have the “star quality” or capability to offer a bonanza or windfall being enjoyed by the consumers in the United States, the beacon of abundance and unlimited prosperity.
Thus we don’t have the bagsak presyo attraction in the Philippines similar to the ones being dangled to American consumers during the Thanksgiving Day (November 24th ) and “Black Friday.”
They call it “doorbusters.” With or without inflation and, perhaps, recession, shops in the United States offer prices that are hard to ignore and resist: when they woo the consumers during the special holidays they dive down from 60 to 81 percent.
Giant malls that house shopping establishments like Macy’s, Nordstrom, Marshalls, JCPenney, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Old Navy, Best Buy, Sears, Target, Dillard’s, Ikea, etcetera lead the tempting offers.
First timers in America who happen to celebrate the Thanksgiving Day and “Black Friday” will definitely succumb to these mouth-watering sales.
I am embarrassed to admit that I was once tempted—but not tainted—during my early years living in the US. Tempted to imagine to indulge in a mindless shopping spree, but not tainted to perform or implement it for obvious reason: I’m penniless (read: no extra budget for such unnecessary splurge).
A week before the Thanksgiving Day and “Black Friday”, shops started to bombard prospective buyers with appealing items accompanied by offers for a bagsak presyo or really cheap prices and attractive discounts.
In a world powered by technology, consumers are constantly looking for the latest and greatest gadget.
At T-Mobile, I was offered succulent freebies: a new iPhone 14 unit and Apple Watch plus 50 percent discount in iPad Generation 9. Although I could avail them in normal days, modesty aside, owing to my good record as a paying subscriber, I was told “these are part of our Thanksgiving promo.”
Thanks, but no thanks. I have been buying used or refurbished gadgets for electronics.
Andre Woroch, an expert in consumer buying, had warned us that while a new device often brings the potential for improving a person’s life, consumers shouldn’t confuse these purchases with investments. Just like a new car, electronics lose value as soon as they are taken for a spin.
“We live in a world in which significant technological improvements in the consumer electronics and gadget verticals are seen on an annual basis,” says Joshua Weiss, CEO Of TeliApp, a company that develops and executes digital media marketing strategies for a variety of brands including those in the consumer electronics space.
“As such, 1-year-old devices will depreciate significantly, especially because the cost for better and brand-new items continues to go down.”
Though short product cycles and saturated markets add to the rapid depreciation of consumer gadgets, demand for new tech continues to rise, Woroch warned.
In fact, she stressed, the technology industry is estimated to grow 3.2 percent in 2017 and earn $321 billion in retail revenues, according to a semiannual report from the Consumer Technology Association.
While fighting depreciation may feel like a losing battle, there are certain steps consumers can take to save money on the gadgets they need.
She gave the this advice: Compare features and specifications carefully. Electronic manufacturers, brands and retailers bombard consumers with ads promoting the newest devices that tout better performance and superior features, making it hard to resist the urge to buy.
While many shoppers justify splurging on a new device for updated specs, experts caution that the differences between old and new may be minimal, and the price to upgrade may not be worth it.
“Many of these new models do not have major, innovative upgrades, but rather small internal hardware modifications, like a slightly faster CPU clock speed,” says Emily Shapiro, marketing associate at iPowerResale, a site that specializes in reselling refurbished, used and overstock Apple products.
Consumers should review potential product purchases carefully, looking over specs in detail, or seek guidance from product experts to understand key features.
Since many electronic retailers charge restocking fees of 10 to 15 percent of a returned item’s purchase price, an impulse purchase could cost even more in the end.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)