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The Wrangler

The #1 student news site of Yorba Linda High School

The Wrangler

Black Friday: The Art of Sale-Savvy Skepticism

Noelle Wu
While sale-shopping on Black Friday, it is crucial to be skeptical.

November hallmarks can be epitomized in blushing foliage, the emergence of chunky knits, lavish Thanksgiving feasts, and pumpkin spice galore. But for avid shoppers, gift givers, and sale finders, the introduction of November leaves them anticipating one thing: Black Friday. 


Considered the unofficial commencement of the holiday shopping season, the largest retail sales day in the United States is undoubtedly Black Friday. Raking in approximately 9 billion dollars annually in the past few years, the “black” in Black Friday refers to the black ink retailers use in handwritten ledgers to denote profit. In contrast to many misconceptions, Black Friday is not an official holiday; instead, it is an informal name for the Friday after Thanksgiving. It is characterized by an influx of sales to prep shoppers for the gift-giving season. 


While one may be swamped in seemingly “safe” sales during Black Friday, it is important not to let your guard down, to be vigilant, and to maintain your composure. An indispensable attribute to gather during superficially marked-down prices is skepticism – the survival guide for sale shoppers begins with being a skeptical shopper. Skepticism is a user-oriented instrument to combat dishonorable retailers. Often, retailers utilize several exploitative tactics to entice customers into spending unnecessarily or trap a customer in a scam. 


As the emphasis on online shopping becomes more apparent than ever, it’s beginning to be easier to fall victim to a scam. One almost fool-proof scheme manipulated by retailers is having low quantities of sale items. Upon seeing such ludicrous discounts, the question of “how do these retailers still turn a profit” may be prompted into many minds. With human psychology and simple foul play, stores leave consumers with the overwhelming urge to buy at least one thing after luring them to their store. This is due to stores quickly running out of the limited quantity discounted item; customers will then feel pressured by the finite sale and be encouraged to buy something else not on their list that may also not be as heavily discounted. 

Whenever I see .99 after a price, I automatically want to believe that it has been significantly discounted from the original price! It makes me want to buy that item more.

— Yafu Yu (10)


Moreover, psychological maneuvers are further applied in Black Friday sales, specifically, a method known as charm pricing. Rationality is not a priority in human minds when faced with complex prices such as $99.99 instead of $100. Despite the one-cent difference, humans tend to gravitate towards a convoluted number with the rationale that more thought and discount went into that price. Yafu Yu (10) relates to falling victim to this psychological trick; she states, “Whenever I see .99 after a price, I automatically want to believe that it has been significantly discounted from the original price! It makes me want to buy that item more.” 


With Black Friday comes various cunning ploys from retailers to reap more than they sow. Accordingly, shoppers should be attentive and cautious regarding the discounts and sales they may be drawn to.

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About the Contributor
Noelle Wu
Noelle Wu, Editor
Noelle Wu has loved using journalism as a creative outlet for a while now. With the experience of her middle school and freshman years spent in Newspaper under her belt, she now approaches her sophomore year as an editor. As a competitive debater, Noelle prioritizes addressing contentious issues but is also very passionate about pop culture! In her spare time, Noelle enjoys curling up with a good book or spreading an unsolved murder case file on her dining room table.

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  • D

    Derek TruongNov 30, 2023 at 7:43 AM

    This article was very interesting because I was surprised at how retailers can use ways to trick their customers. To me, I love Black Friday shopping but I will definitely be careful for scams now. The only suggestion I would make is to cite the information in the second paragraph.