One expert in Saskatoon is encouraging consumers to keep their wits about them during the high-pressure holiday shopping season, and not fall prey to the tricks of retailers.

"The trick is getting you in the store," said David Williams, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Saskatchewan, in an interview with CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.

He offered these tips:

  1. Don't buy it.
  2. Stay at home.
  3. Wait 24 hours (before buying).
  4. Pay with cash.
  5. Leave your credit card at home.

But you'll likely ignore them

The problem, said Williams, is most consumers won't follow these tips "and can easily be duped and fooled" — particularly during the holiday season of hyper-consumerism.

"There is a false sense of urgency," he warned.

'I think people are becoming fatigued … some of the shouting [from retailers] is now having less effect.' - David Williams, University of Saskatchewan associate professor of marketing

"We've become prone to deals. There is an expectation that it is going to be there at this time, so there is this frenzy that is built up by retailers and this expectation from consumers that starts very early in November."   

While he doubts he can convince people to stay out of the stores, Williams is hopeful that he can at least sway consumers to go into the buying season with their eyes open.

For example, he said, be price-aware and know if a sale is real or just a bunch of marketing hype.


Big sale prices are all designed to get consumers into the stores, where they will spend money on other more profitable products. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

When shopping online, Williams said, watch prices because they can change quickly. In addition, he suggested people avoid making extra purchases online to fill up the "cart" and save a few dollars on shipping.   

Williams remains optimistic that retailers' marketing tricks are starting to lose some of their power. In some ways, he said, marketers are their own worst enemy.

"I think people are becoming fatigued … some of the shouting is now having less effect."

CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning