On a personal level, I believe Black Friday sales bring out the worst of humanity. Greed and materialism foster fierce competition and violent confrontations in intense quests to hand money over to retailers in exchange for goods they deem we require.
I can’t think of another country that spends one day at home being thankful for family, health and happiness, then spends the next day tasering one another in fights over video games.
There’s one Black Friday tradition, though, that makes me happy. Yes, there’s still competition and differences of opinion, but for the most part it offers fun and the possibility for a deal of a lifetime: a used car for $1.
A car dealer in Texas sells cars for a dollar on Black Friday. The tradition began in 2008 as an effort to draw people to the Sterling McCall Toyota dealership on Black Friday. The promotion works like this:
The dealerships says it will sell a certain number of cars for one dollar. No one knows which cars will get the nearly free price, but hoards of people line up as early as 5 a.m. to stake claim to a car they think will be marked down. At 9 a.m., a sales manager comes out and writes prices on the windshields. The person in the driver’s seat has the first opportunity to take the car at the marked price.
This year, three cars got the $1 price, 10 were under $1,000, and 50 were below $10,000. Automotive News says:
The $1 cars usually are at least 10 years old with 100,000 to 200,000 miles on the clock, Bush says. The dealership has sold a 10-year-old Chrysler PT Cruiser wagon and a 12-year-old Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck for a buck. Every vehicle passes a safety inspection.
The sale also brings in lots of people who wind up buying a new or used car simply because they can’t pass up a good deal.
This is brilliant marketing. It doesn’t cost the dealership an outrageous amount of money, and it brings in hundreds of people on a day when car shopping typically isn’t top-of-mind.
I can’t say I’ll ever leave the comfort of my fireplace on Black Friday, but if I did, it would be to go to Sterling McCall.
Would you risk the crowds for a chance at a $1 car?