Black Friday: Conor Pope’s 10 commandments for bagging a bargain and avoiding rip-offs

Do your research, make a list, don’t panic and, maybe most importantly, shop Irish where possible

Follow our 10 Black Friday commandments to make sure you make the most of the season to be shoppy.

1. Don’t panic

Don’t let yourself be bullied into buying. One of the most commonly used tactics by almost all retailers is the suggestion that they are offering you a once-in-a-lifetime bargain and if you don’t act now you will miss out and forever regret your slackness. If you miss out on something in this sale window there is a very good chance that the very same product will be up for sale in the post-Christmas sales or in the midseason Spring sales or in the summer sales or the autumn ones.

2. Do your research

It has never been easier to work out if a retailer is trying to pull the wool over your eyes but you need to do your homework. Ideally, that homework would have started weeks or months ago. But most of us are not so organised and there is no need to panic. If a supposedly discounted product being sold by a particular retailer catches your eye, price it with several other retailers first to see if the discount is real. The Amazon price tracking website can help you track prices on that website which might give you a sense of what price you should be paying and what represents a bargain.

3. Pay attention

In particular to the life cycle of the things you are buying. Retailers are in the market of shifting stock and will often discount clothes, white goods and technology that has been surpassed. If you are in the market for a new frock, phone, television, speaker or fridge then make sure the discounted product is at least still current and not dangerously close to its sell-by date. There is obviously nothing wrong with buying an older model phone or television but if you are doing that at least know you are doing it.


4. Make a list

If you are shopping for presents for others or things for yourself, be strategic about your purchases. Make like Santa and draw up a list of who you need to buy for, what they might like and where you might find it. Visit multiple retailers selling the products you are in the market for to work out who is offering the legit deals and who’s all smoke and mirrors.

5. Relax

A panicked shopper is a foolish shopper and while a retailer might try to tell you that a product is priced at this super low price for a limited period only all the evidence points to the fact that the discounts on offer now will be on the table in the days after Christmas and on multiple occasions in the year ahead.

6. Be suspicious

We have said it before and we will say it again – if something seems too good to be true then it almost certainly is too good to be true. If you see a website selling a product you really want with a discount that seems outlandish then ask yourself is the site legit and will the product be what it promises to be?

And remember that criminals and scam artists are well aware that we are heading towards Black Friday and will be doing what they can to take advantage of it too.

7. Fill your basket and then walk away

The best way to decide if you really want a product is to put it in your online basket and then forget about it for 24 hours. If you still want the products when you log back on then you should probably buy it. If not, pat yourself on the back for having saved yourself a few bob.

8. Shop either early or shop late

The best of bargains – or at least the most desirable of the products – can be found early in the Black Friday season while the cheapest prices are towards the end when retailers realise that if they don’t shift the stock soon they’ll be stuck with it until Christmas.

9. Focus on the price

Retailers will be falling over themselves to tell you about the size of the discounts they are offering but you should pay more attention to the price.

10. Shop Irish

If you buy from Irish websites and shops, places that have a deep footprint in this country, then you will be supporting local jobs and local communities as well as boosting the coffers of the taxman – who can then use the money to support local services such as health and education. But if you buy from sites based in other countries your money is effectively being sucked out of this country, never to be seen again.

And if you buy from within the EU you will have more and more easily enforceable rights when it comes to returns and faulty products and you won’t be hit with surprise taxes when the products are being delivered.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast