Black Friday or Cyber Monday: Shop Online or In-Store?

Posted on 11/20/2009

Boxers or briefs? Star Trek or Star Wars? Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Aniston? Among the great debates in American pop culture stands the ultimate question: Black Friday or Cyber Monday? Would you rather shop in the stores or online? We’re taking a look at both sides of this dispute to find out the good, the bad and the ugly of both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. As the day moves closer, check the Ben's Bargains Black Friday Coupons page for the very latest deals as they come in from merchants.

Black Friday Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving where everyone turns from eating way too much to spending way too much. Last year, despite some surveys that showed the outcome would be otherwise, Black Friday spending was up 3% compared to 2007, according to Market Watch. The term “Black Friday” dates back to the 1960s and it’s often called the busiest shopping day of the year, which isn’t always true. Typically the Saturday before Christmas is the busiest, but Black Friday is still a great day for finding bargains.

The Good: Just about every store offers doorbusters and loss leaders—great deals that will make getting up in the wee hours of the morning worth it. You don’t have to pay for shipping. By noon you’re practically done with all of your Christmas shopping.

The Bad: There’s the early morning wake-up call, the chilly fall weather and, of course, dealing with other bargain-hungry shoppers.

The Ugly: Crowds eager for a bargain can turn ugly fast. In 2008 a Wal-Mart worker was killed when a stampede of shoppers broke through the store’s doors before the scheduled 5am opening. On that same Black Friday in California two people were shot to death at a Toys “R” Us during an argument. Just remember, no deal is worth getting in a fight or getting hurt for.

Cyber Monday
Cyber Monday is the Monday following Thanksgiving where people often head back to work and take advantage of their company’s fast internet connection to knock out some Christmas shopping. While that could be the case it’s probably not the best way to get on your boss’s good side with just a few weeks to go before the big bonuses are handed out. Cyber Monday actually started a few years back as online retailers’ response to Black Friday. In 2008, Cyber Monday spending reached $846 million, a 15 percent increase from 2007.

The Good: You can shop in your pajamas. You don’t have to set your alarm any earlier. And there’s no dealing with over-competitive crowds looking to stomp anyone who comes in between them and a good deal.

The Bad: Sometimes you just want to test out the softness of the Snuggie before you commit to buying it. Shopping online means you can’t touch or examine products in person. While this may pose a problem when shopping for new Uggs, it’s not that big of a deal when picking up Oceans Thirteen on Blu-Ray. And don’t forget that you’ll typically have to pay for shipping.

The Ugly: Last year, Cyber Monday website traffic was so heavy that some sites actually crashed or weren’t working for part of the day. According to website performance tracker Gomez, J. Crew, Gap, Victoria’s Secret and William-Sonoma were all either down or not working properly last year for part of Cyber Monday. That’s definitely a possibility that you could run into when you choose to shop on Cyber Monday rather than Black Friday.

By Alison Storm

Lane Bryant - Before Black Friday comes Thanksgiving, so pick out a nice dressy outfit & save $20 on orders over $40 with coupon code Lane Bryant. Ends 11/22/2009.

LeapFrog - Keep the kiddos busy while you're out shopping with some new educational toys, and save 20% sitewide with coupon code HOLIDAY20 through 11/29/2009.

Philosophy coupons - Save 25% sitewide on delectably scented shower gels, gentle cleansers, and more with coupon code ENJOY through 11/20/2009. Plus, check out the other fantastic deals at the Ultimate Coupons' Black Friday Sales page!

* Hot deals expire quickly. This deal may no longer be valid.

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