personal finance

Black Friday: how readers’ shopping went from frenzy to frustration

Candles. Pimple stickers I swore I’d never buy again (I’m big on second chances). Supplements and vitamins that, should history repeat itself, will expire before I take them. “Japanese” plates from Alibaba, probably made in China. A playsuit with lemons on it, a Clinique gift pack and one of those Mermade hair brushes that I hope will make me look like less of a mad scientist and more like the girls who fuel my Instagram insecurity.

These are just some of the purchases I’ve made in the last couple of days, thanks to the inundation of Black Friday sale material creeping into every facet of my life. Am I buying into the hype? You bet, especially given Choice’s recent revelation that the Black Friday sales aren’t necessarily more epic than other, less-publicised consumer events throughout the year.

“There are sales all year round so you don’t need to feel the pressure to buy at the Black Friday sales,” a Choice spokesperson said.

Choice monitored marketing emails from 16 retailers over six months from May to October 2021.

“From the nearly 2,500 emails we looked at, 81% referenced a sale or some other discount, with offers ranging from as little as 5% to as much as 96% off,” the spokesperson said.

Still, you’d need to be living under a rock to evade the Black Friday frenzy, as these readers can attest to. Here, shoppers share some of the purchases they’ve made that they are already regretting.

Seamus, Darlinghurst

“I bought a beanie that’s at least three head sizes too big from Glue just because it was on sale for $20. Looking at it now I wonder how I thought my head would fit into it, and now it’s just going to sit there in the house because I know I will never make the effort to return it. My partner got a blue lipstick though, simply because they ran out of the red shade she wanted, so we’re not sure which of one of us has lost their mind. Maybe both?”

Nat, Burwood

“I just bought $250 worth of activewear from STAX because I got a free gift. Their collection is so flattering and the colours are stunning – lilacs and forest greens – but I don’t work out. In fact, I haven’t been back to a gym since Feb. I am in marketing, and I just got marketed [to].”

black friday in a light box and recycled paper bags on a black and red backgroundtop view with the words black friday sales on a light box and recyclable paper bags on equal parts red and black background. Signage dedicated to small and big business. online shopping
Photograph: Alberto Jose Moreno jurado/Getty Images

Josephine, Greenacre

“I bought a hundred dollars’ worth of tubs and organisational products to organise my house with. They’re all plonked on the dining table – which we currently can’t use – so I am trying to convince my husband to take me to Ikea today so I can buy (and assemble) more storage to accommodate my new purchases.”

James, Bowral

“I got my son a toy garbage truck. I’m feeling a little embarrassed about it because my sister got him a toy garbage truck for Christmas last year, and one day when he got bored of it, my wife donated it to Vinnies. Now he wants one again, and it’s not going to be the one we had, and I am caught between my wife who is manic about clutter, my son who is just a kid who will love and hate toys, and my sister, who will wonder what happened to the one she got. The consumerism at this time of year is the worst, and I hate partaking in it.”

Laura, Blue Mountains

“I just bought a swimsuit from Andie Swim, because I love swimwear, which makes no sense at all because I absolutely will not get in water that’s colder than 30C and, apparently, we’re going to have a cool, wet summer. It’s super cute though and was only $50 down from $150! I should also mention that I have at least 20 other swimsuits so I did not need this in any way, shape or form but I was recently diagnosed with ADHD, and I’ve come to understand that my constant shopping is a part of the disorder – it’s my brain’s incessant quest for dopamine and stimulation!”

Benji, Darwin

“I impulse-bought a solar panel USB charger that came with alligator clips to jump-start a car for $150. I talked myself into it because I was doing lots of outdoor stuff at the time, and a few weeks prior, I had gotten bogged in the mud. The jump-starting function really sold the NEED part to my brain. I’ve already thought about reselling it but it feels kind of dumb to never use it. I did cancel my account because I noticed that I just bought junk from there though.”

Tammi, West Pennant Hills

“I got Bio Pellets for my plants to help them grow, even though my cat will likely eat and get sick from them. I really want lush plants, and I liked the idea of ‘set and forget’ fertiliser. I figured it looks great, it’s on sale, it’s a small business – add to cart! I probably could have gotten something cheaper from Bunnings but I loved the company’s branding. It was so pretty; I could have gotten everything.”

Donna, Gerringong

“I purchased a whole bunch of soaps from L’Occitane, which I really did not need. I just got caught up in the Black Friday frenzy. My partner walks around talking about how our house is so full, we should never buy another thing. So I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t buy a new Dyson, because the one we have is perfectly fine. I just wanted the new one!”


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