Frodo and I were watching the eleven o'clock news on Black Friday (which Frodo was convinced was taped in advance since all the stories were rather generic with little to no detail and generally didn't seem very newsworthy... but I digress). The lead story was the required "look at all the crazy people who slept in front of the Stuff Mart to buy the new and improved Tickle Me 'Til I Pee Dancing Cockroach and Alarm Clock" story. I was doing fairly well tuning it out until I heard a woman interviewed say this, "I got some great stuff. I got this monitor. I didn't know what it was, but everyone else was grabbing one so I got one too."
This brings keeping up with the Jonses to a whole new level. I guess what really shocked me about this was not that this woman bought something because it was "cheap" even though she didn't really need it (or even know what it was). It was that she was admitting it to millions of people and didn't seem all that ashamed or embarrassed by it.
Repeat after me:
"I am only saving money on a purchase if I am buying something I was planning on buying anyway, but I buy it at a price less than I was originally planning on paying."
Now if this woman was planning on buying a monitor anyway and was sharing how happy she was to have saved 75% by buying it on Black Friday, I would have no problem with the story (except that I still find it hard to beleive that someone buying something at a sale is news). Frodo and I have braved the crowds on previous Black Fridays. I love going out the day after Christmas to buy my cards for the following year. But I was planning on buying those things anyway.
This woman isn't saving money... she is just spending it less quickly than she would have if she had been buying random, unidentified things she doesn't need at full price.