Are Black Friday lines worth the deals?

Date: November 25, 2013

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

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Bargain hunters will camp out for days to be first in line for Best Buy's Black Friday deals. (MLive Media Group)
Shandra Martinez | smartinez@mlive.com By Shandra Martinez | smartinez@mlive.com
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.

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