Credit: Leigh Goessl

Do "Doorbuster Deals" Equate to Savings?

Black Friday is just around the corner and, by October of every year, chatter across the web has already begun about the year's big sales. One of the attractive luring tactics businesses are using to convince people to hit the stores rather than spend the holiday at home are "doorbuster deals." If you aren't familiar with the term, these are deals the retailer will offer to the public that are often described as deeply discounted prices with a limited supply.

But are these really a good reason to get out and fight the crowds on Thanksgiving Day or in the dawn hours of Black Friday? Possibly not. And here's why:

Keeps You Spending Money

Retailers are swift, while the doorbuster promotion may be the carrot to get people in the door, that is likely not the true goal. Some stores spread out their doorbuster deals to occur at different times of the day. And what do people do as they wait for the next super deal? They peruse the aisles and probably buy more items. Chances are many people end up buying items they originally had no intention of purchasing—or things they never would not have thought of putting in their carts. While, in theory, there is nothing wrong with this, however, shoppers on a budget should be mindful of what they spend.

Shopping Cart
Credit: Leigh Goessl

Retailers are hoping shopping carts won't be empty on the weekend of Black Friday and, as custom, routinely plan to offer doorbuster deals to consumers in the hopes they will not be able to resist the temptation of slashed prices on certain items and fill their carts with other items while they are in the store.

Potential Lower Quality

While some of the prices are phenomenal, if you're looking for high-end quality, chances are you won't find it with doorbuster sales. While some deals may be the coveted items, many of the alluring deep discounts won't be the popular brands. According to Howard Schaffer, vice president of, many doorbusters are not going to be high-quality brands, but an inferior product, Albany Times Union reported in November 2013. [1]

Better Deals Online

In order to score one of the more desirable doorbusters, typically you have to be up and out early for Black Friday sales, (or as trends are showing, earlier on Thanksgiving Day).  Additionally, depending on how the retailer conducts the specials, you might find yourself standing on long lines in the cold in hopes of getting the item.

Especially when many great deals on a variety of items can be found online throughout the day and on Cyber Monday. If missing Thanksgiving, leaving before dawn on Black Friday and / or being stuck standing in large groups of inpatient people is not your cup of tea, skip the doorbusters, and stay home and shop in your PJs. There are lots of great deals to be found online throughout the season.

Computer keyboardCredit: (Public Domain)

Items Might be Cheaper on Other Days

Black Friday advertisements are full of hype, but are they truly the best deals? According to an analysis in 2012 by the Wall Street Journal and Decide Inc., a pricing research firm, many doorbuster items, at least one-third, are typically available at even lower prices at other times of the year. [2]

Considering that these days many consumers are not out holiday shopping, but instead seeking to purchase big-ticket items for their own homes, it might just be worth it to wait until after the holidays. Or if you do go, have a solid strategy. Keep in mind, many doorbusters are the true deal. It's a good idea to know your prices well, follow trends and don't rely on advertising. Unfortunately, fake deals on Black Friday are commonly used as a marketing ploy. [3] Plus, as the WSJ 2012 report indicated, media outlets have continuously reported each year the lowest prices season won't even occur on Black Friday. [4]

An All-Day Event

Years ago Black Friday was for the early birds and typically sales lasted until mid-morning and it was all over. People went back to their lives and didn't experience any madness. Today it's morphed into an all weekend event that takes away from family time (and, in many ways, has become a month-long craze). In addition, many stores have decided to continue with the "Thanksgiving creep" trend. Sales these days no longer start on Black Friday, instead retailers consistently have begun to open their doors on the morning of Thanksgiving Day, a traditional family holiday.

It appears consumers will have to decide between shopping and holiday time, and, from the sounds of it, this year will be no exception.

shoppers in NYC
Credit: Leigh Goessl/All rights reserved

There are plenty of great times to shop throughout the season, not on Thanksgiving or in the wee hours of the morning, and still score good deals.