By now you probably already know what Black Friday is. On the off-chance that you don’t know let me tell you what it is: It is one day of the year when a lot of retailers around the world have the decency to reduce the obscene markup on some of their products by offering discounts to customers.
In civilised and normal countries it marks the beginning of the Christmas (they call it the Holidays in America) shopping season where retailers expect to make most of their sales. Black Friday falls on the fourth Friday of November which is the day after Thanksgiving in some countries.
Today 27 November 2020 is Black Friday
Zimbabwean businesses don’t seem to be interested in this marketing phenomena for the most part. This is a departure from last year when a lot of businesses participated in the event. Here is what I have noticed about this year’s Black Friday in Zimbabwe:
Also most of the Black Friday on offer this year are rather gimmicky you are getting a meagre discount on a product that is already overpriced. Some unscrupulous businesses are announcing fake reductions too. For example, an item that has always sold for US$10 is being announced as reduced from US$15. What a scam.
It is a well known fact that Zimbabwean businesses have always put up a half-hearted effort when it comes to Black Friday but that was never really a big deal. Prior to the current pandemic you could always either physically go to say South Africa and take advantage of the deals there or take advantage of online deals.
The past two years for example, I went to Musina during Black Friday. Unlike here, I had to contend with crowds of people in various malls. I still remember two ladies coming close to blows as they wrestled each other for a marked down pair of jeans. You had to wait for hours to get to the till. The surprising thing about the majority of the people in these queues was that they would be speaking to each other in Shona, specifically the Harare Dialect suggesting I wasn’t the only one taking advantage of better deals in another country.
Now that is no longer possible. Both Zimbabwe and her neighbours have their COVID restrictions that make such shopping expeditions impossible. While South Africa has opened its borders, Zimbabwe hasn’t. In any case travelling means you have to get a PCR test which is going for about US$60 at most institutions. That’s an extra expense that will wipe out any savings you might have made. Travelling to Beitbridge is also now much more expensive compared to the pre-COVID era. Prior to the pandemic you paid only U$12 to get to Musina now you need about US$100 including the test plus the requisite bribe to get through.
When it comes to the online angle things are no less gloomier. Buying products is now pretty much impossible as the pandemic has seen the shutdown of most logistical routes. I have always liked shopping on Chinese sites such as Gearbest, Aliexpress and Banggood. Products would then be delivered via the Post Office. Sadly the postal delivery option is no longer available for the bulk of items. In fact many goods can no longer be delivered to Zimbabwe. Either that or one has to pay for courier services. Experience has taught me that is not a mistake I want to make.
Then there is the payment part of the equation when shopping online. True it is now easier to get a prepaid Visa/MasterCard (more on that later) and thanks to the stability of rates compared to last year it’s also easier to get a hold of the USD to preload your card. Sadly banks like FBC have raised their payment fees. It now costs a minimum of US$3 to make a payment so it’s quite feasible that you end up paying more in fees than for the actual service you are buying. Then there is also the Finance Minister and the RBZ with their evil IMT 2% tax who have now entered the fray.
There are still some deals you can take advantage of this Black Friday:
If you know any deals that our readers my be interested in and I have missed, I will be happy to add them here. Just leave a comment below.
Also remember this coming Monday is Cyber Monday which means possibly a few more deals for you.
Fragmentation and aggregation attacks.
Come one, come all there is a lot of money at stake...