Are Black Friday lines worth the deals?

Date: November 25, 2013

Are Black Friday lines worth the deals? GVSU economist's formula answers question

Bargain hunters will camp out for days to be first in line for Best Buy's Black Friday deals. (MLive Media Group)
Shandra Martinez | By Shandra Martinez |
on November 24, 2013 at 8:26 AM, updated November 24, 2013 at 6:07 PM

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — 'Tis the season of bargain hunting.

And for the hardcore, that often means waiting in line for hours, and in some cases, days.

That leads to the question: Is the investment of time worth the savings to get a deep discount on a flat screen TV, laptop or cell phone?

We asked Grand Valley State University economist Paul Isley to use his expertise to come up with a formula to evaluate this question.

Here is the formula: S - (T x V) + E = C

• S is for savings on the purchase.
• T is for the time spent in line.
• V is for the value of your time, which may be easiest to quantify as your hourly wage.
• E is the enjoyment factor. Is standing in line comparable to watching a movie which might cost $10. Or is the adrenaline you get from hunting down a sale the same thrill as going to an amusement park that might set you back $50 or more.
• C is true cost.

Read more

See all news