Dealing with sale madness

Photo credit: Powhusku via Flickr

by Liz Mills

With Black Friday, Cyber Monday, pre-Christmas sales, post-Christmas January sales, and just winter sales in general, getting a bargain at this time of year involves mayhem, madness and misery. But never fear! There are a few ways to navigate the sale madness.

Black Friday is what the Americans refer to as post- Thanksgiving sales, but is what we Brits have redefined as thanks-for-giving me that bargain… and that one, and that one and that one. I suppose we could view it as vital preparation for that ever- looming January sale season.

I think Cyber Monday gives us some good ideas for how to navigate the sales. Online. Other than actually on Cyber Monday of course, unless you enjoy the stress.

Tip 1: Choose your percentages wisely. Although it might seem like the last sale saloon to get that sparkly Zara dress with 20% off, is 20% really a big Black Friday deal?

I was quite underwhelmed by the percentages attached to the supposed sale bonanza. I think bargain is only really defined by a minimum of 40% off in retail stores otherwise you’ve just become a fool of the fashion sales. Proof of this is in House of Fraser’s £40,000 fine for misleading customers about discounts on its goods in the pre Christmas sales. WAS/NOW tags were illusions of huge savings that did not show the true reduction and this just confirms my point. It isn’t just about what has been taken off. Not just about how much you save.

The key questions you should ask yourself are:1. What is the actual price of the item? And 2. Is this a bargain for this item?

Tip 2: Don’t get sucked in by the craze. The internet can be your best friend and your worst enemy. Useful websites like have outlined retailers participating in Black Friday, giving you a useful list to pick and choose from before delving into your deals.

Cyber Monday is lower on the crazy sale scale in the sense that you don’t have a human stampede ahead of you but I find having slow website connection because of the masses far more frustrating. Most of the sales are continued throughout the next week after Black Friday so shopping on the specific days is not recommended unless you also have a specific bargain. For example, Ryanair began their sale with 20% off European destinations but if you were looking for a flight to France not Finland or Belgium not Bulgaria then you may need to get in their a bit faster.

Tip 3: UNiDAYS, VoucherCodes and vouchercloud. For students like us, there are deals available all day everyday. If you haven’t head of UNiDAYS, VoucherCodes and vouchercloud, they’re definitely worth a look. We might as well avoid the madness if we can, and as students we can bag a banging bargain on the reg as long as we keep our eyes peeled on discount apps galore.

Apparently this year we learnt from the mayhem of 2014/15 anyway and didn’t quite resort to full-body combat over reduced TVs. A Tesco in Cardiff prepared for the mobs and masses employing extra security and had a measly 10 people outside their doors at 5am. Disappointing. I thought Cardiff was a student city. if you can afford to be doing this then obviously your loans are all far too big for your own good.

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