The day after thanksgiving is known simply as “Black Friday,” it was traditionally the day when Christmas shopping was so prevalent that retailers finally made a profit or got their finances “in the black” for the year. These days Black Friday has become a day of huge sales and major discounts, so it has led to mobs of unruly shoppers and almost unbearable holiday hours for retail employees. I believe that the holidays are a time to spend with family so I have always been against stores opening on Thanksgiving, but as a frugal shopper, I love to take advantage of some of the available deals of the day. I have never waited in a line or rushed a store for a sale, but stopping into a shop and grabbing a chance deal is always great during the day. Many retailers have been trying for years to use this day to drive revenue while ensuring the safety of their shoppers, and while lines and lotteries have helped avert tragic events of the past, people are still too violent and aggressive these days. Shopping should not be a stressful or dangerous event, and holiday shopping should be about buying something special for your loved ones and not a sale. This year’s Black Friday has already been filled with stories of fights and mobs, and since I don’t plan on ever finding myself in a situation in which I have to fight for a tv, I think I will keep my major purchases to “Cyber Monday” sales.
Craigslist can actually be a great place to buy things from time to time. Over the past few years I have used this website to sell old electronics and purchase random items. I have rarely had any issues with using this website. The thing about successfully purchasing anything on craigslist is knowing what you want to buy and doing your research about the product. There are hundreds of people trying to pawn off their busted cars and computers on unsuspecting buyers, but if you know where to look, you can really find hidden and affordable gems. Craigslist is a site where people can sign up to buy and sell almost anything, I have personally purchased and sold computers, games, and cell phones on this site since it is fast and easy to complete a sale, but things can be dangerous. There have been recent stories of muggings and even murders connected to Craigslist, but with a few wise safety measures, all of these cases could have been avoided. The safest way to make a transaction via Craigslist is to only meet in a safe, heavily populated area. It also helps to bring a friend or a mode of transportation so you can quickly leave if necessary. Every posting and person on Craigslist isn’t legit, so it pays to make sure you are safe and not being cheated. It takes time to find a real posting on Craigslist, but if you are looking to buy something rare or for a low price, and you know how to distinguish a real seller from a fraudster, then you will definitely be happy using this site.
Nothing says excess like a new mall, throughout the world giant malls and shopping centers are being built up in order for developers and architects to show the mastery of their craft, but I think the malls of today are generally overkill. I love the idea of going to one location in order to purchase everything I need, but I don’t think I need to walk by seven jewelry stores in order to pick up a new pair of jeans. Malls are popping up everywhere and they are by in large all made from the same template, developers place large department stores on each end, throw in every major jeweler available, and sprinkle in a couple of gourmet pretzel stands to entice hungry shoppers to forgo their diets. I guess the best thing about a mall is the fact that there is always familiarity no matter how far from home you get, but I feel as though the sheer amount of malls in one city can have a negative effect on the business owners in the city. I get that malls are convenient, and that they bring plenty of money into their host cities, but there have been at least three newly opened malls within my borough over the last two years, that is an outrageous stat considering the general state of the economy. These newly opened malls have created several low wage jobs, but money must be spent within a mall for it to survive. The proximity of these malls is a threat to the malls, and to the people who work within them. It seems as though the efforts that are currently being made to drive economic growth have a clear expiration date, and it is becoming apparent that malls, while convenient, may just be a bandage on an ever growing wound that needs immediate urgent care.