Never Order Fish on Mondays and 7 Other Bad Days to Buy Stuff

By Paul Michael on 24 September 2015 0 comments

Timing is everything. You can buy a great TV one day, only to see it half-price a few months later. You can sell your stocks one weekend, only to see them double in price over the next few weeks. But while some instances are impossible to foresee, some calendar shopping pitfalls are well known, and should be avoided at all costs. Here are eight instances when you should definitely put your credit card away, and wait for a better time to buy (or sell).

1. Don't Buy Airline Tickets on Weekends

Data collected by online travel agencies, fare trackers, and airline-pricing executives has revealed that the absolute worst time to buy airline tickets is the weekend. "Like bread, fares get sort of stale towards the end of the week," says Bob Harrell, a fare consultant.

In fact, most airlines will increase the prices of fares on Thursday evenings, and will watch to see how it affects competitor pricing. By Monday, big changes are made in the opposite direction, reacting to the price drops and other price matching. Fare analysts don't work on weekends either, which means they cannot react when all the cheap seats are taken. On Monday, they could drop the pricing on more expensive seats, and by Wednesday, you could see the lowest prices of the week. Then, the cycle continues. So, if you are planning a trip, don't think that leaving it to the weekend is a good strategy. You'll pay through the nose.

2. Don't Order Fish on Sunday or Monday

If there's one person to trust on this one, it's acclaimed chef and traveler Anthony Bourdain. He laid it out very clearly in his memoir, written in 2000.

"Here's how it works: The chef of this fine restaurant orders his fish on Thursday for delivery Friday morning. He's ordering a pretty good amount of it, too, as he's not getting another delivery until Monday morning. All right, some seafood purveyors make Saturday deliveries, but the market is closed Friday night. It's the same fish from Thursday!"

He also goes on to say in an article for The Guardian that he would not order fish on Mondays unless it was in a four-star restaurant.

"I never order fish on Monday," Bourdain says, "unless I'm eating at a four-star restaurant where I know they are buying their fish directly from the source. I know how old most seafood is on Monday — about four to five days old!"

3. Don't Buy a Car on Monday or Tuesday

A recent Time magazine article unveiled the ups and downs of the car-shopping calendar, and it all revolves around incentives, dealership quotas, and what TrueCar senior analyst Kristen Andersson calls "savvy weekend shoppers."

"Mondays and Tuesdays are to be avoided, and especially Mondays and Tuesdays early in the month," writes Time journalist Brad Tuttle. "Why's this? Because dealerships view consumers who come in on Mondays and Tuesdays as 'need-based buyers,' and these particular buyers 'don't negotiate as much as the savvy weekend shoppers who do their homework.'"

Andersson also stated that if you are going to buy a car, wait until the end of the month. "The last third of the month is typically when a dealer can tell how the month is going and can incentivize the vehicles."

4 Don't List eBay Items on Friday Evenings

If you like making a bit of extra money selling items on eBay, don't list on a Friday evening. Typically, unless you alter the defaults, your auction will last seven days, and will end precisely seven days from the start of your listing. So, if you find yourself at a loose end one Friday evening, you may think that selling a few items on eBay is a good use of your time. Don't do it.

Most people are out and about on Friday evenings, not sat in front of the computer ready to bid on an auction. Even taking into account smartphones and auction snipers, you will still lose a large chunk of your potential bidders. Instead, wait until Saturday morning. You will get much better results. Or, change the listing to three days, a Buy It Now, or perhaps even a 30-day listing.

5. Don't Buy a Home on the Last Day in May

So, with 365 days to choose from (or 366 in a leap year), it seems odd to point out one specific day as the worst day. But, there is substantial evidence to stay away from that particular day. About.com's Home Buying expert lists a multitude of reasons, including:

  • Not closing in time. Pending sales peak in April, which means a larger workload for real estate agents, with often triple the amount of listings to deal with.
     
  • The Memorial Day weekend playing havoc with customer service.
     
  • Higher interest rates from any delay in closing.
     
  • High competition from other buyers, resulting in bidding wars and overpriced offers.
     
  • More fees for movers due to the increased volume.

If you want to buy a house, choose a day no one else will be thinking about, like Christmas Day.

6. Don't Buy Salad for Lunch on Mondays

This has nothing to do with price, but waiting times (and as we all know, time is money). It seems that we all have a tendency to overdo things on weekends, or we want to start our weeks on a healthy track, even if we know we'll slip a few days later. So, people rush out to get salads for lunch on Mondays, and that means long lines waiting for your healthy lunch.

Bloomberg Businessweek looked at findings from salad chain Chop't, which reported selling around 10% more salads on Mondays than any other day of the week. Another chain, Salad Creations, explained that Monday sales tend to exceed Friday sales by 17% to 22%.

7. Don't Buy Groceries on Weekend Afternoons

As Wise Bread's own Linsey Knerl so rightly points out, weekend afternoons are the absolute worst time to hit the grocery stores. Aside from the fact that those product demonstrators are out offering free food, you will be hampered by massive lines and crowded aisles.

8. Don't Buy Flowers on Mondays

What has been said about fish is equally true for flowers. Many people think that Monday would be the best day to buy flowers, as it is the start of the week, and that means a big new delivery of fresh roses, tulips, and daffodils, right? Wrong.

As Flower Arranging 101 states, "Monday is actually the worst day to get your flowers, even here at the San Francisco flower market. Anything that you would buy on Monday is either left over from the previous week or it arrived over the weekend and has sat without refrigeration waiting for markets to open. Even just a day without being kept in a cool environment will cause flowers to age faster and lose vase life."

What days of the week do you avoid shopping?

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Guest's picture
IKEA shopping expert

IKEA on weekends. It's a mess of screaming children writhing over everything, packed to the rafters. Long, long lines for EVERYTHING: kitchen planning, appliances, the restaurant, getting items in the warehouse area, checking out. A nightmare.

Take a day off work, go around 11am on a weekday. By the time you wend your way through to the restaurant, it's lunch time. Have lunch, then go through the marketplace and warehouse and check out. By then it's about 2.30, so you have the rest of the afternoon to drive home and put together your haul.