Do you know what gets us mad? Like, really mad? When retailers push up their prices before Black Friday, just to 'discount' them again on the day. But unless you've been closely monitoring a product's price daily, it's sometimes hard to see whether a Black Friday special is really a special.
If you haven't heard of it before, Serval is a price tracker for online mega portal Takealot that tracks an object's price prior to Black Friday. It's a great tool to use before you jump on a Takealot special to see if you really are getting the massive deal that you think you are.
(Keep in mind that Takealot's full Black Friday specials will only be released tomorrow and the retailer has previously said it has limited control over the prices of third-party sellers on its site.)
We tried the tracker on three items listed by Takealot and not those it fulfils for a third party. These are from their Blue Dot Black Friday Early Access listings. Serval is still limited in terms of how far back it can track data for certain products. For some, it goes back as far as 5 months. For others, it may only have data for this month. We tried to find items to use as example with at least 3 months' price tracking data.
Black Friday price: R1 379 (down from R2 589)
Reported savings: 46%
It might be down from R2 589, but what isn't mentioned about this Weber's price is that just before November, it cost R1 315. Its price was massively hiked to R2 589 on the 4th of November, and then brought down to R1 379 today to make it look like there's a 46% saving.
You would have been better off buying this Weber in October.
Black Friday price: R9 999 (down from R12 599)
Reported savings: 20%
This Mavic drone cost R11 999 in October, it then went slightly up in the beginning of November to R12 399. It was hiked down to R9 999 on the 22nd of November. What's interesting is that it hasn't been its 'previous price' of R12 599 for the last 3 months. It might have cost R12 599 before, but Serval data only goes about 3 months back. Nevertheless, this drone is now at its lowest price in 3 months.
Black Friday price: R1 999 (down from R2 899)
Reported savings: 31%
This Fitbit was hiked down from R2 899 on the 20th of November to R1 999 now. However, its cost has been shooting up and down since the 24th of August. It also cost R1999 at the end of August, mid September, and beginning October.
In fact, this Fitbit's Serval graph is a very interesting lesson in how retailers inflate and deflate their prices to fabricate perceived savings.
It may be R1 999 now, but this is hardly a Black Friday deal, and we're pretty sure the price will keep being adjusted up and down till infinity to create the illusion of a discount every couple of weeks.
Savings vary drastically from item to item, so be sure to check each individual item you have your eye on. Here and there you might be saving some money, but in other instances prices were lower a month or two ago.
The act of hiking up prices then bringing them down to put a 'discounted' sticker on it is hardly a Black Friday phenomenon, Takealot prices zigzag up and down pretty much weekly - and the 'x% off' sticker is pretty much meaningless.
Try not to pay attention to the stickers and marketing that is trying to bedazzle you, look at the price for what it is and ask yourself if you think that's a deal or not. And more importantly, do you really need it?