Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday? I'll Pass

Tis the season, finally?

Maybe, but today is the day of Gladiatorial Combat, the annual Running Of The Bulls in the Malls.

The websites are full to the bursting with deals promising deep discounts.

Sure, and we all spent time in the bathroom going through email accounts on our phones deleting email "bacn" promising 75% off of something we just can't live without!

"Bacn" instead of "Spam".   Stuff you signed up for when you bought or downloaded something.  It's called Bacn - bacon. 

No, I don't know why either. 

Shh, I am sure there's a shiny object somewhere to distract you... oh well, have a picture of my puppy instead.

For no reason.

Yes, it is Black Friday.  Every store of any size is offering sales to entice you to come in and buy something else.

Why do I phrase it that way?  Am I grumpy?  Do I need yet another mug of coffee? 

Because, Nope, and not just yet.

Here's the deal.  Businesses are not in business to lose money.  At least in the United States they aren't.  Here the businesses are required to have some of the item on sale and state their policy if the item is sold out.  In other words, way down in the small print they will have a disclaimer.  That may be "No Rain Checks are available on Black Friday Specials.".

What does that mean?  It's the retailer's gotcha.  It means that they were required to have at least one of that item on site, on sale, at that price advertised, with the printed conditions, at the opening of business today.

Complex huh?

It means that the manager put it out, and could have immediately bought it himself.   The owner of the store could have come out and bought it for herself.  If neither of them wanted it, the intern fetching coffee could have grabbed it.

If none of that happens, someone camped out since midnight the night before who was first in line grabbed it.

They tend to chase campers away from the door until the day of, although that could just be a rumor.

I ask myself "Why bother" every year.   I did the Black Friday thing once.  Swearing never again, I left that year and didn't come back. 

I generally don't shop in malls from now until after December 26th anyway.  If Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, the day after the holiday, December 26th is the second busiest one on average.

As for online deals?  Be careful.  You can at least grab the model number and look online for reviews and comparisons. 

I'm actually in the market for a good printer.  I came to the conclusion, at least for myself, that inkjet printers are a bad idea.  I print so little that having one means watching the ink cartridge dry out and be unusable when I actually need to print.   Add to it the price of new cartridges and that while I am heavily into photography, I don't actually NEED to print color photos...

Why bother at all?

Coupons, Resumes, Cover Letters, and Thank You Notes are about it. Even then I print out about 50 to 100 pages a year.

What am I planning on doing?

Laser Printer, Black and White ONLY.

Why that kind of printer?

Simple - the toner does not dry out.  Toner is a black dust that sits in a cartridge until it is needed and will last much longer than a tiny tank of ink that costs more than gold per ounce.

Why black and white?

Color laser printers may consume ink when they are idle.  Black and white printers do not.  It is why you generally do not see Color Laser printers in the "consumer" market segment. 

That and cost.  The color laser printers are quite expensive at times and you have at least four toner cartridges to replace.

So I looked.  Found a laser printer that I will watch and grab if the price comes down a bit more.  But while I was looking I found an entry level printer that cost $30. 

I got all excited.  You know, that rush you get when you think you found a good thing that nobody else knows about?  Yeah the Shopper's Rush, that one!

Since money is always tight around here, I loaded the model number into a search engine (not the big one, but one that hides your presence from the big one so you aren't monitored) and found the price of the toner.

Twice the price of the printer at $60 per cartridge.  At least it only needs one.

Let the sucker, er, Buyer Beware.

Always do your research.  If I can give you a helpful hint, that's the best one.

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