Mahoning Valley Podcast Episode 14 Transcript

Listen here.

I don’t even have to quote a mainstream media source for this segment. By now, anyone who has access to media either print, tv, radio, or of course interactive media like this knows that YSU Football failed to bring home a championship last Saturday. And that is OK. It is OK that people sometimes fall short of their goals. It is OK to drop the ball. We still love our University. And our university teams. And our university faculty and staff. And yes, even our university president.

Failure and falling short does not negate love. In fact, sometimes when people fall or fail or suffer it causes us all to remember that we are all people. We are all human beings who have strengths and weaknesses. We all need each other to progress. Every person who you know is someone you need on some level to progress. If you are looking to do that. If you are looking for progress that is.

If you want to make things better for yourself and your neighbor. Then every single person you know on facebook or twitter can work with you. IF you are willing to work with them. And that is one of the things that I took away from YSU Footballs fumbles and turnovers and blocked kicks. IT was not those events directly that gave me the lesson. It was the Unity of the team after the game. It was how publicly there was no fingerpointing or blaming. There was none of that foolishness of if he did something different it would have been different.

There was only solidarity and kind words from the Coach and right down the line. There was only optimism that there can be another chance to improve. To progress. To move forward despite the fall. To find ways of making it better then it was. And quite frankly, that was the most incredibly positive and remarkable accomplishment of the entire season in my opinion. That as a team, they lost. But as an example for many people here in the Mahoning Valley, it was and still is a huge victory and a stellar example. Congratulations YSU Football Team and Coaches. You have set the bar for all of us here in the Mahoning Valley who are intent on working as a team to being good to our community.

Onto something that is easy for all of us to do as individuals. And that is embrace kindness. Let me first say that ever since I have relocated here from Miami Beach Florida in 2002, I have been impressed and pleased with all the kind acts I have witnessed and had the opportunity to participate in. Many people here do not know me and I did not grow up here full time. But it is time that you found out. I am actually from Pittsburgh by way of Miami Beach.

My family lived in Pittsburgh while I was growing up. First in Penn Hills and then Point Breeze during my high school years. And it was a wonderful place to grow up. Plenty of peers and people to interact with and plenty of opportunities to learn and grow. This was in the 1970’s. A time much different from today when if we wanted to call someone, we had to find a payphone or be at home. Or the office.

A time when as children we could have the run of the neighborhood without fear of being attacked or abducted. A time when our parents did not punish us by making us go outside, they punished us by forcing us to stay in.

I had a grandmother and aunts and cousins who lived in Northeast Ohio. For a time, my grandma lived in North Bloomfield. One aunt lived in Austintown with two of my cousins who were about my age and another aunt lived in Newton Falls. So I have always had family here in Northeast Ohio. And we did visit on a regular basis. So I spent part of my time growing up here as well.

But while the people who lived here may have felt that it was always the same old thing, when we got to visit NE Ohio, it was like a holiday. In fact, most of our visits were for the thanksgiving holiday. We would get time off from school. My parents would pack up the Station Wagon. We would crawl in the back of it and take the 2 hour drive northwest to Ohio. The land of holiday parties and feasts. The land of interesting and entertaining cousins. The land of a doting grandmother who loved to cook up all the thanksgiving fixins. And the land of freedom from our usual routines and friends. It was so much fun.

And so I fell in love with NE Ohio. Because for maybe as many as 15 or so years in a row, every thanksgiving my family and I would get to come here and celebrate family and love. And that is why when I was ready to leave Miami Beach, I wanted to come here and settle down. I wanted to come here and start a family. I wanted to see the snow and feel the cool breeze of a spring morning. And smell the cut grass in the Summer. And crunch through the leaves in the woods in the Autumn. Because here we have seasons. In Miami Beach, there are also seasons; 2 of them, wet and dry.

One thing that always impressed me when I visited here and after I moved back was the inherent friendliness and kindness of the people here. The good old fashioned Midwestern Values of God and Family and Hard Work. Of taking care of your neighbor and feeling bad if something bad happened to someone who lived in your community. Of wanting to pitch in and help. We still have a lot of these things here and these are the kinds of things that we need to continue to practice.

More so now then ever. Because our world has become increasingly hostile and divided by opinions. Sometimes we claim that we have the facts, and that may be true in part; but people have started to decide that their opinions are strong enough to be less than civil. And that if someone disagrees with you it is OK to block them. Or attack. So I have attached a graphic to this podcast to remind us of how to be kinder to each other. Not that we have forgotten entirely, but that kindness is one of the strengths that we can continue to build on here in our community. I have also linked to a facebook page and website that promotes kindness. I got this idea from one of the nicest people here in the mainstream media while listening to his show “Brainfood from the Heartland” Because staying informed can help us to practice kindness.

SCOURGE PSA

One of the most valuable resources we have here in the Mahoning Valley is the Public Library. When I first moved here to Boardman, I didn’t have any CD’s or DVD’s and one of my favorite things to do was walk over to the Library and borrow these types of media for my personal enjoyment. The fact is though that the Library is one of the most valuable resources that any community can have. Many of us may take it for granted, but there is a wealth of information and resources available to anyone free of charge. If you haven’t visited in a while, I encourage you to check it out. Here are few of things that you can expect to enjoy in a library and if you are in Trumbull County, your library is linked to here. Columbiana County yours is here.

In Mahoning County where I live for instance, The Columbus Children’s Theater will present the story of Lonely Jack, a foolish trade, and the giant who is ready for trouble. “Jack and the Beanstalk” was adapted by William Goldsmith.

Fun for kids of all ages. No reservations are needed.

Boardman Library, 11 a.m., Sat., Jan. 28

Meet and Greet Story Time with Youngstown Phantom’s Hockey

Meet the Youngstown Phantoms! Listen to stories and receive a special giveaway. No reservations needed for this special story time that will be fun for the whole family!

Canfield Library, 6-7 p.m., Tues., Jan. 24

Library Night with the Phantoms

Join the Library and the Phantoms at their January 27 game at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown. The theme is “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.” Watch for upcoming details in your local library and on the website.

This is a very small list of things that you can do with your friends at the library. Stay in touch with them on Facebook.

I know most people who listen to this podcast can spend money to entertain themselves. Or even spend money to help me keep this podcast coming out and spreading only good things about our Valley, but I still like to talk about Free events every now and then. I like free stuff. Most people do I think. Like for instance, I offer free initial consultations and assessments on your internet communication strategies. I don’t mind spending a few minutes chatting with you or even talking to you on the phone about what you have been doing and what you want to do. You can message me on facebook or twitter or even call me at 330-519-1205 to talk about it. Sometimes it is good to have an objective opinion. And I am here to help.

Anyway, back to free events. It may save you some time if I just mention a few free things that you can do with your family or friends and that way you can get back to work on that report for your boss or that term paper or research project or watching that movie or whatever you will do after you listen to this. If you want more information or need to get the details for these freebies, just find the transcript of this show somewhere. They are like everywhere. But mostly on my website. Or blog, Or other blog.

Let’s go do something free:

What: Book Discussion Group “Blackberry Winter” by Sarah Jio

When:Thursday, Jan. 12, 2 p.m.

Where:Warren-Trumbull County Public Library

444 Mahoning Ave.

Warren, OH

330-399-8807

What: Kidz Cooking Club Registration Required

When:Thursday, Jan. 12, 5:30 p.m.

All ages

Where: Liberty Public Library

415 Churchill-Hubbard Road

Liberty, Oh

330-759-2589

Young cooks will follow Master Chef Miss Jill’s lead using their math, science, and language skills to make a delicious creation. For kids in kindergarten to grade five. Registration is required by calling (330) 759-2589.

What: Music and Movement Registration Required

When: Wednesday, Jan. 11, 11 a.m.

Age limit: All ages

Where: Warren Public Library

444 Mahoning Ave. NW

Warren, OH

330-399-8807

Children learn language and motor skills through an energetic combination of music, movement, and books. For toddlers 19 to 35 months old with a parent or caregiver. Registration is required by calling (330) 399-8807 ext. 206.

If you can’t make it tomorrow:

Check out these additional dates:

Wednesday, Jan. 18 or

Wednesday, Jan. 25

Just because something is free does not mean it is not good. I know there are two sides to that coin. Some people may say, “you get what you pay for” or even, “something is only worth what it costs.” But other people say that “the best things in life are free”. Like for instance this podcast. It is free. I really have no ambition to ever charge anyone to listen to or hear about the good things that happen here in the Mahoning Valley.

I gather this information and write it up for you for free. Sometimes, hopefully I am entertaining or at least informative. I admit this project is a work in progress. So I do something for you the listener for free, and I need to ask you to do something for me and for this valley. If you think that there are ways to improve our Valley, please share them with me somewhere. On facebook. On Twitter. On the blogs where I post the transcripts. Please participate in this project.

If you have any vested interest in improving this community and helping all of us live up to our potential then spend some money on keeping this project going. It is really easy to do that. Head on over to the website and send some money. Easy. If you do that, and want to be mentioned or linked to, just let me know. We can also work out ways for you to advertise your business or organization on other podcasts. Or even make your own podcast.

We can talk about ways you can improve your use of the internet to communicate through any channels if you want. I did offer to talk to your for free initially. If you want to run with some ideas I have and have me implement them for you, great. I like to work. And I have been using this here internet thingie for a long time. I know a few things about it. Let’s work together to make it better and spread the good.

Mahoning Valley Podcast Episode 11 Transcript

Listen Here

Transcript 12-29-2016

Youngstown Crime Down, Golden String Radio Benefit, Jingle Bell 5K in Canfield, Firstnight Downtown Youngstown, Evolution of the Guitar Exhibit, Championship Travel Packages for YSU Sttudents, and The Mahoning Valley Podcast Person of the Year

According to WKBN Channel 27, Crime and Traffic Fatalities are down in Youngstown, Chief Robin Lees said the city has recorded 18 murders this year, compared to 23 in 2015. “We’re still a little bit down from last year’s numbers, certainly not where we’d like to be, but it shows improvement,” he said. Lees also said fatal accidents have decreased. He attributes the drop to the use of radar speed cameras. Since officers started using them about a year-and-a-half ago, there hasn’t been a fatal crash along I-680 in the city. The chief says the effort to reduce speeds on the freeway has also helped reduce overall car crash figures by about 25 percent.

Improvement is really all anyone can ask for isn’t it? Considering the challenges that many of us face here in the Mahoning Valley; any improvement is progress. There was a time not so long ago when This area was considered to be a very dangerous place to live. According to Wikipedia, In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Youngstown was nationally identified with gangland slayings that were often committed with car bombs. The town gained the nicknames “Murdertown, USA” and “Bomb City, USA,” while the phrase “Youngstown tune-up” became a nationally popular slang term for car-bomb assassination.

Although many of us do not think we can do anything about crime in our neighborhoods or communities, that is a fallacy. There are things everyone can do. First be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention and don’t be afraid to call the Police if you have suspicions. If you see someone swaying their car on the highway, Call 1-877-7 Patrol. Save the number in your contacts and that way if you see someone driving a fool, you can do something. The number again is 1-877-772-8765.

You can also possibly get paid for participating in identifying and reporting criminal activity. Crimestoppers has been around for years. And still is operating an anonymous tipline. All information can remain completely confidential and all you have to do is call 330-746-2583. Or click the link in this transcript and bookmark the page. You can send tips online there.

Here is one thing you should NEVER do. And that is get involved in trying to stop any criminal activity yourself. I don’t care how much of a badass you think you are; never try to stop a crime in process. Always let the police handle it. If you see a crime in progress it is perfectly acceptable to call 911. You can get yourself somewhere safe and take notes or use your phone to record details, but never try to step in and intervene. That is not your responsibility unless of course you happen to be a police officer or sheriff or trooper.

According to their website there will be a Golden String Radio Benefit. Golden String Radio is proud to announce Gaelynn Lea live in concert at Purple Cat productions, 220 W. Boardman Street in Youngstown on January 17, 2017. It’s a variety show the likes of which only Golden String can pull off featuring your favorite Purple Cat Players, Casey Malone, our own Jimmy Sutman, and our guest of honor, NPR Tiny Desk Concert performer, Gaelynn Lea!

Musician and public speaker, classically trained violinist and songwriter Gaelynn Lea has been bewitching scores of fans with her experimental and ambient takes on fiddle music, an approach that incorporates her love of traditional tunes, songwriting, poetry and sonic exploration.

Her work most recently won NPR Music’s 2016 Tiny Desk contest, a competition drawing submissions of original songs from more than 6,000 musicians across the country. Other NPR Tiny Desk fellows include: Ben Folds, Yo Yo Ma, The Avett Brothers, Blue Man Group, and Adele.

Gaelynn Lea has been playing violin for over twenty years, developing and improvisational style all her own. She has performed alongside many notable Minnesota musicians over the years, including Alan Sparhawk, Charlie Parr, and Billy McLaughlin.

Come out January 17th to Purple Cat Productions at 220 W. Boardman Street. This event is to be followed by an afterparty / meet & greet with Gaelynn complete with hors d’oeuvres and drinks at the beautiful M Gallery in downtown Youngstown. All-night tickets to both events will be available for $40. Tickets to the afterparty alone will be available for $20. Contact Coni at 330-503-2584 or coni@goldenstringinc.org Ads are also available for the event program for next to nothing. Get a full page ad for $50! A half page is available for $25 and a quarter-page for $15.

JingleBell 5K Race at Canfield Fairgrounds on Saturday December 31 2016. Join us to celebrate the holidays with the annual Jingle Bell 5K Run and Walk Saturday December 31 at 1 pm at the Canfield Fairgrounds. Kids Run at 12:45 pm. This is a family oriented event that benefits to Youngstown Road Runners Club Scholarship fund for YSU track and cross country students and the Youngstown Road Runners Shoes for athletes program. This race is on paved and mostly flat surface within the Canfield Fairgrounds. Awards to top three male and female finishers overall, 1st Masters male and female, 1st Grandmaster male and female and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in each age group.

Race day registration begins at 10:30 am and closes at 12:30 am. Standard registration up through race day is $20.00. Kid’s run (12 and under) is $2.00 – included is participation award but no shirt. Package pick up prior to race available at Second Sole (755 Boardman-Canfield Rd., Boardman Ohio) Friday, December 30 from 5 pm to 8 pm or Saturday at the Fairgrounds in the Commercial Building. Please pick up at least 30 minutes prior to race time. All parking will be via the Kilcawley Memorial entrance from route 46. There will be door prizes and plenty of goodies to eat post race. Bring the whole family! Everyone welcome to participate. Bells provided! If you have any questions please feel free to contact them at Youngstown.jinglebell.15@gmail.com

First Night Downtown Youngstown on December 31, 2016

Admission Buttons are $10 for Adults and $5 for Students (Age 13 through College, with ID), Senior Citizens (age 62) and members of the Military (with ID). Children 12 and under are FREE. Children do not need an admission button, but must be accompanied by a paid adult.

There are several FREE Parking Locations • Compliments of ABM Parking located throughout the city including: Stambaugh Surface Lot • West Commerce Lot (next to Cedar’s) • Chestnut Street Lot (located at Powers Auditorium) • The Voinovich Government Center Lots (Commerce Street and West Wood Street) and Ralph’s Parking Lot (Boardman & Hazel Streets) • First Presbyterian Church and • The Covelli Centre Parking Lot

WRTA will provide constant shuttle service between venues throughout the night.

There will be Event Schedule/Maps available at all venues throughout the night. The First Night Youngstown Event Headquarters will be located in the Covelli Centre during First Night, and any questions you have will be answered by our event staff. Admission buttons are available at all venues and at First Night Headquarters during First Night festivities.Restaurants will be open on Federal Street.

The Market St. bridge will be closed at 12 noon on New Year’s Eve to prepare for the fireworks display. Traffic will be redirected to the South Ave. bridge and the Mahoning Ave. bridge.

Many downtown streets will be closed around Central Square to provide for the safety and enjoyment of all attendees. Access to the parking lots on Front St. and Commerce St. will be open.

Wick Ave, Lincoln Ave and portions of other road in the downtown area have been closed for construction. They may still be closed for construction during First Night. Please allow extra time for arrival and be patient with the closures, they are necessary for upgrades to YSU and downtown Youngstown. Please call our Event Headquarters at 330-744-9966 and a member of our event staff will be glad to assist you. Or email infofirstnightyoungstown@gmail.com for more information.

This looks to be an event that will provide fun and entertainment of all varieties for the whole family. Looking at the list of events and entertainers shows there will be singers, dancers, arts exhibits, and Horse and Carriage Rides as well as a traditional Ball Drop and Fireworks. 13 different venues including OH WOW Science Museum and the Arms Family Museum.

According to the Butler Institute of Art Website, Medieval to Metal: The Art & Evolution of the Guitar

Medieval to Metal will open on January 22 2017. This is a touring exhibition that explores the artistic evolution of the world’s most popular instrument. It features 40 instruments spanning centuries of craftsmanship and design from around the world, ranging from the Moorish oud and Renaissance theorbo to the acrylic body of today’s modern guitars.

The exhibition also includes 20 photographs of renowned musicians and their instruments from legendary rock photographer, Neil Zlozower, and life-size photorealistic illustrations of historically and culturally significant designs from artist Gerard Huerta. “Medieval to Metal” makes its stop at the Butler Institute of American Art January 22, 2017 and will be on view through April 16, 2017. It will continue to travel the country seeking a final resting place to be announced in the year 2018.

“Medieval To Metal: The Art & Evolution Of The GUITAR” is a Touring Exhibition of The National GUITAR Museum. The National Guitar Museum is the first Museum solely dedicated to the past, present, and continually evolving style, shape, tone, and artistic demographics of reinventing the Guitar.

I have always been a huge fan of the guitar. Electric, Acoustic, even Steel Guitars have always been one of my favorite instruments. I think it started when I first heard Jimmy Page play Stairway to Heaven. His opening arpeggio and then the incredible solo break took me away from whatever teenage angst I was experiencing and transported me to a place where I could almost understand what it is to be rock and not to roll.

According to the Vindicator, YSU will be offering Championship Game Packages for Students and Recent Graduates.

The Youngstown State Athletic Department is has announced a travel package for YSU students interested in going to the 2017 NCAA Division I Football Championship Game Jan. 7 in Frisco, Texas.

The first-come, first-served package is for current students and Fall 2016 graduates. The cost of the trip is: double occupancy, $150 per person; triple occupancy, $100 per person; and $75 per person for a four-person room. The price includes round-trip bus transportation, two nights lodging in Plano, Texas, and one game ticket. Meals are not included. The cost of the game ticket and transportation is being covered by the university.

To make reservations, students must call the YSU Athletic Ticket Office at (330) 941-1978 starting at noon today with credit card information and a valid student-ID banner number. Only one ticket will be provided per banner number. The ticket office is open Friday 12/30/16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The office is closed on Monday January 2 2017. Students should provide the ticket office with roommate preferences, though students must call separately to reserve a spot on the trip.

The trip departs the YSU campus (behind the Beeghly Center) at 4 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 5, and returns immediately following the game Jan. 7. Those making the trip need to be at Beeghly Center at 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 5. Parking will be available in the M-90 lot. There are no refunds. The general-admission tickets are located in Section 121 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco.

And now we honor the person of the Year for 2016 with the Mahoning Valley Podcast. We have looked back at the year 2016 to select and honor the person who made the most notable contributions to the well being of this Valley. And that person is Jim Tressel The President of YSU, Youngstown State University.

Let’s look at some of the things that Mr Tressel had a hand in to improve the lot of the population of the Mahoning Valley.

According to the YSU Website, Under President Tressel’s leadership, enrollment increased for the first time in five years and the university attracted it’s most academically-accomplished freshman class ever. In addition, the university revamped its development operations and hit record fund-raising levels, announced its first Rhodes Scholar recipient, reconfigured its executive leadership organization, froze tuition for two consecutive years and expanded its scholarship offerings. The university is also partnering with two private developers to construct new apartment style student housing on campus and is working with the city to improve major gateways to YSU.

Ellen and Jim Tressel made a $1 million pledge to create the Ellen and Jim Tressel Student Work Opportunity Endowment Fund at YSU, an initiative to help expand student employment opportunities on campus. It was the latest in an extensive list of fund raising and philanthropy activities for the Tressels. They also participated in the YSU campaigns for the Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center, the expansion of Stambaugh Stadium and the Watson and Tressel Training Site. In 2007, Frank and Norma Watson and Jim and Ellen Tressel donated a combined $1 million to the YSU Centennial Campaign to help fund the WATTS. He also was co-chair of the $110 million campaign for the renovation of Ohio State University’s William Oxley Thompson Library. Along with his university fund raising, Tressel has also been called upon to lead many campaigns for the entire community and its needs.

Tressel has published two books: “The Winners Manual: For the Game of Life” (2008) and “Life Promises for Success” (2011). His lengthy list of awards includes the American Football Coaches Association National Coach of the Year in 1991, 1994 and 2002, the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year in 1994 and 2002, Chevrolet National Coach of the Year in 1997, 1994 and 1993, the Paul “Bear” Bryant National Coach of the Year in 2002 and the Sporting News National Coach of the Year in 2002. At YSU, he received the Heritage Award in 2008.

And while some of the most obvious contributions are financial, like the Watson and Tressel Indoor training site named after he and his in-laws made a significant donation, his in-laws say Tressel’s most lasting legacy is the lives of so many young men he has touched.

“He would always see that they did well academically too, football wasn’t the only thing,” said Norma Watson, Tressel’s Mother In-Law. “They made sure that he was going to have good citizens.”

“One function he’s always done was help them get that first job once they got through college,” said Frank Watson, Tressel’s Father In-Law. The investment into his players, has had a ripple effect throughout the valley. Inspiring former players, like Elliot Giles, to lay roots in the area and also coach the game. “He always gave back and that’s kind one thing I like to instill in myself, is give back to the community as far as my flag football league,” said Giles. “You never forget where you came from.”

Former players talk about Tressel’s composure and poise while under pressure, and say it’s a characteristic he instills in everyone he’s around.

“No matter what adversity the university may face in the future he’ll be able to handle it and he’ll get the people that are working with him to be able to handle that situation to work together and to overcome it,” said Former Player Chris Sammarone.

Todays Target Black Friday

How Black Friday Promotions Are Often Deceptive

How you are being duped into spending more money then you have for the holidays

We all like to think that the holidays bring about peace on earth and goodwill towards men, but there is mounting evidence and substantial documentation to show that the holiday season is often just an excuse for desperate retailers and merchants to con you into spending more money then you can afford.

Take for instance, this example of how Target is using outright deception to get you to buy an Iphone. According to  Mike Wehner reporting for bgr.com  ,

If you head to Target’s online store and search for “iPhone 7,” you’ll be met with the retailers much publicized gift card promotion, which nets you a $250 store voucher with the purchase of any iPhone 7, 7 Plus, or 6 Plus. It’s a great deal, in line with similar promotions from Best Buy and Walmart, but it’s not the only thing you’ll see on the search results page.

If you scroll down to the actual individual listings for various iPhone 7 models, you’ll see prices that have no reason to exist, much less under the guise of a “sale.”

The iPhone 7, which starts at $649 for the 32GB model and goes up to $849 for 256GB, is being sold for $1,129.99. That’s a hefty $280 premium over the regular price, and for no discernible reason. It’s not a bundle that includes anything else; it’s just the phone, and its “regular” price is marked even higher, by $20.

What’s even more hilarious, is that it’s listed as a Black Friday sale, and its price is slated to go back up on Sunday.

And this price adjustment isn’t limited to the 256GB model, as both the 32GB and 128GB versions are also priced at a ridiculous markup.

What’s worse, people are apparently actually buying these phones at this jacked-up price. Target’s handy little buyers tool shows that the iPhone 7 is being bought for over $1,000.

So what’s the deal here? It’s hard to tell. At first I assumed the prices were the result of some third-party seller antics — Walmart, for example, sells products in its online store that come from third-party merchants, and they can set the prices to their own liking. However, there’s nothing on the store page or individual listings to suggest these devices are being sold by anyone other than Target itself.

Maybe Target discovered the secret to Black Friday: People will buy just about anything as long as they think it’s on sale.

While this is not a new phenomena; it seems that the Black Friday deceptions are beginning to stretch beyond one day a year into an entire month or more. I have noticed advertisements locally that proudly proclaim that the entire month of November is a Black Friday Event. I am not the only one to notice this trend.  Hayden Dingman writing for pcworld:

“Black Friday has outgrown itself as retailers have cannibalized the name ‘Black Friday’ and used it to promote deals all throughout the month of November,” says Matthew Ong, a senior analyst at NerdWallet. “This is partially a response to the late Black Friday date in 2013, but this Christmas creep is a trend that’s been ramping up in the last few years and [is] only likely to continue.”

But it’s not just about the timing. A closer look at the deals around Black Friday show how the date has become a buzzword to trick people into pulling the trigger on shoddy deals. Retailers are manipulating prices and the products themselves just to get you into the store. Once you’re in the store, they’ve already won. So before you camp out in line, read on to learn the real deal about Black Friday. “

Many unsuspecting consumers such as yourself make assumptions about how the whole Black Friday thing works. But according to the  Wall Street Journal  , Black Friday promotions are a part of an annual business planning process.

The common assumption is that retailers stock up on goods and then mark down the ones that don’t sell, taking a hit to their profits. But that isn’t typically how it plays out. Instead, big retailers work backward with their suppliers to set starting prices that, after all the markdowns, will yield the profit margins they want.

And Black Friday deceptions are not new either. Although there may be examples of large well established retailers using deceptions to lure consumers into overspending prior to 2009; this example of how Walmart has been accused of deception for Black Friday was documented by  Sue Walsh for technologytell.com  shows it has been around for a while.

Customers from around the country are complaining that the deals Walmart promised on  Black Friday  were given away ahead of time in a pre-sale procedure many are calling a scam because it was not made known to the public.

In Tracy, CA, customers who arrived before dawn to snap up the $198 eMachines laptop that was advertised as being on sale between 5am-10am discovered the stores entire inventory of 37 units had been sold the day before in a non-advertised pre-sale. The manager admitted there was no way for the general public to know about the pre-sale unless they called the store (and obviously there was no way for most people to know they needed to do that), and apparently had not told the line of customers that started forming around 3am that the laptop was not available.

Nearly half of the Black Friday deals studied in the UK from just last year showed that the prices were actually lower at other times in the year as documented by Jay McGregor writing for the Wall Street Journal.

According to a  study conducted  by consumer watchdog Which?, the latter.

The report found that 49% of 2015 Black Friday deals in the UK were actually cheaper at other points in the year. Which? tracked prices for 178 items across multiple major retailers like Currys, John Lewis, Amazon and Argos for three months before Black Friday 2015. It found that the discount shopping day was only the cheapest, or joint-cheapest, day to buy the tracked goods half of the time (90 out of the 178 deals).

The phenomena of Black Friday Deceptions has even been documented by Government Officials.  United States Senator Richard Blumenthal’s office reported:

Some of the tricks and traps that advertisers use to get consumers into their stores or onto their websites include: deceptive and overly broad advertisements, hidden fees at checkout, and emailed coupons that hide the fine print in links to other websites.

For example, a JCPenney circulator advertises, “No interest if paid in full within 12 months.” However, the extremely hard to read, white-lettered fine print says: “Must request at time of purchase. Offer applies to window treatment purchases of $500 or more made between 11/24/13-11/27/13.” In addition, the consumer must have a JCP credit card or a JCP Mastercard.  And, if a consumer fails to pay off the amount within 12 months or fails to meet minimum monthly payments, the interest rate – charged back to the purchase date – jumps to 26.99 percent. So any small mistake by the consumer, like not asking for a no interest promotion or accidentally missing a payment, would result in potentially huge interest payments.

So what to do? Well most experts are offering some ideas on how to find out if you are being deceived.  This article by Lori Grunin  offers some ways of making sure you are not manipulated into spending more money then you have.

  • Decide what you want before you shop.
  • Research using your favorite search engine or app.
  • Unbundle the bundles
  • Watch out for hidden fees.

But overall, it is my opinion that Black Friday and Cyber Monday should be completely ignored. And I am not alone on this idea.  Aol.com  encourages consumers to follow these steps and just skip it all together.

Don’t be quick to fall for overhyped “doorbuster” sales. Oftentimes, retailers will dangle a popular item at a big discount to lure customers in, but what they don’t tell you is how limited their quantities are. These stores know that once they get you inside, you’re likely to stay and spend on the lesser deals, so always call and check their inventory first.

Next, watch out for derivative products. Some Black Friday ads will only include the bare minimum when it comes to technical specs for devices like TV’s, laptops and tablets. Usually, this is because the item on sale is a derivative product, specifically manufactured for Black Friday and the holiday season with lower overall quality and less features. These items may look like their pricier counterparts, but they probably won’t last as long, costing you more in the long run.

Lastly, don’t be swayed by phony markdowns. This is when a sale price is posted alongside an inflated “original price,” creating the illusion of a great deal. This is a classic retail trick, so don’t be misled. Focus on the sale prices and use those as a comparison.

Remember the everlasting tension between businesses and consumers. Business wants you to spend no matter what your means. You as a consumer are responsible for what you choose to spend. And make no mistake. If you overspend due to deception on the part of a business, you will be the one on the hook for it.

Image courtesy of experienceheadphones.com