Black Friday, a hoax or good deal for consumers?

BULAWAYO – Retailers have over the years managed to make use of their marketing schemes to maximise on Black Friday by luring deal-hungry shoppers with promises of falsely discounted merchandise.

The Black Friday culture is a borrowed American phenomenon in which the Friday following the Thanksgiving Day – celebrated on the fourth Thursday of every November – is regarded as the opening day to Christmas shopping.

Retailers have managed to create an illusion by going overboard with adverts of the “not to be missed” savings deals.

According to experts and some workers in the retail industry, prices of the coveted Black Friday items are raised in the weeks leading up to the day, in order to revert back to the original price on the day.

Most retail shops in Zimbabwe are currently struggling to remain afloat due to the country’s tough economic environment.

Black Friday has been used as a ploy to push sales and tap into the desperate citizen’s yearning for cheaper merchandise.

A survey by ZimLive around the Bulawayo central business district revealed that most big retailers this year had slashed prices on a few select items while prices for the rest of the products remained unchanged.

Retailers such as Pick ‘n’ Pay slashed prices on groceries and electrical appliances such as televisions.

A 2kg of sugar was Friday pegged at ZW$1,699 down from ZW$1,899, a difference of ZW$200.

Meanwhile, some small retail shops manipulated their “before” prices, making it seem like consumers would save more when they actually did not.

A women’s clothing boutique along Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo road had slashed summer dresses from US$20 to US$10, making it a 50 percent disc

The country’s largest retailer, Edgars along Jason Moyo Street also slashed prices on select items such as lingerie and clothes.

The shop was teeming with women hungry to snatch their best merchandise.

“Black Friday is always exciting because we get to buy clothes at lower prices. The only challenge is that for the best clothes, the prices are not reduced. It’s just a few selected items with lowered prices. We want to be spoilt for choice,” said Sanele Zulu, a Bulawayo resident.

Male shoppers however felt left out as a few items were picked from the men’s section for Black Friday.

Men’s plain tee shirts were pegged at US$20, down from US$23.

Bata, the shoe wear company, had a 70 percent discount to clear some stock.

Pharmacies, likewise, joined the bandwagon with the Diamond Pharmacy slashing prices by 10 percent on selected items.

Eletrosales, TV Sales and Homes also slashed their prices by lower margins to attract sales.

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