Lifehacker predicted that last year's Click Frenzy online sale would be a disaster, and it was: the site crashed within minutes and if you could get through, the bargains on offer were unremarkable. Undaunted, the organisers are returning this week with a "Mother's Day Frenzy" and claim the technology is in place to ensure the site won't collapse, but even assuming that happens it's still a lousy way to shop.
It's certainly not out of the question that Click Frenzy will suffer outages again when it launches the sale at 7pm AEST on Tuesday 23 March, though it doesn't seem to have attracted as much media attention as the original event. However, that's not the reason we think it's a bad idea. It's the same reason we thought the original Click Frenzy was a rubbish way to shop: making purchase decisions under pressure is always a bad idea.
As I write this, Click Frenzy has not even named the retailers who are participating in the Mothers's Day event. If last year is any guide, some retailers will release details of their sales over the next two days, but many of the discounts won't be revealed until the sale begins. That means it's harder to do the research in advance and work out if you're actually getting a good deal.
If you are going to check out the sale, follow basic good shopping practices: once you've identified an item of interest, check the pricing by using other comparison sites and search engines. Make sure you factor in postage, and check item descriptions carefully to make sure you're comparing like with like.
If you genuinely find a bargain, that's great — but you won't know it's a bargain without that research phase. Don't fall for the cries of 'get in quickly' and 'limited quantities'. You don't need to shop under that kind of duress. If you are hunting down Mother's Day gifts, check the delivery dates carefully: anything more than a fortnight won't reach you ahead of May 12.
Lifehacker's weekly Loaded column looks at better ways to manage (and stop worrying about) your money.