Why You Should Never Buy From A Woot Off

Have you ever shopped at Woot?

For those who aren’t familiar, Woot is one of the originators of the one-item sold for one-day.  You can buy many products, often leaning toward electronics, at what can be pretty good deals.  Typical items they sell are:

  • Televisions
  • MP3 Players (not so much anymore)
  • High end vacuum cleaners
  • Knife sets
  • Gaming accessories

I subscribe to the RSS feed so every day I happen to be in Google Reader, I’ll see the deal for that day.  In the five years or so I’ve been following, I’ve bought less than a dozen items.

The biggest purchase was my first.  I bought the Dyson vaccum cleaner that we use at home.  Before moving into our house in 2007, we determined that we wanted a Dyson and were shopping around, when one came up for $100 less than I’d seen anywhere.  It was a no-brainer.

I’ve bought a couple of items since, pretty small in nature: I bought a pack of sprinklers for the backyard which I needed when I did some overseeding a few years back, and wanted to concentrate the extra watering to the particular areas I was working with.  I also bought some water alarms which I’ve placed around water-using appliances, and they’ve actually saved me a couple of times.

One of the things Woot is most famous for is their Woot-Off.  Every so often, maybe once a month or so, they’ll have a Woot-Off, where instead of one item per day, they’ll run a whole slew of items, likely leftovers from previous Woots.  They’re usually discounted from even their regular Woot prices.  Some items in a Woot Off last mere seconds, others last for hours.  You never know what’s coming next, but often you can score a deal.

The biggest item people clamor for, ironically enough, during a Woot Off is the ‘Bag of Crap’.  For $8 Woot will send you a box of stuff.  You have no control over what’s inside nor any idea what’s coming.  Most people receive exactly what the name suggests, even receiving parts of items or broken items.  The reason people clamor for these is because, every so often, Woot will sneak something valuable in.  People have been known to get a large screen TV, or even a pallet full of electronic keyboards.  It’s like a mini-lottery.

I often follow the Woot Off, but I don’t buy.  Why?

Because it’s a form of impulse shopping.

Most items people buy on a Woot Off are available for a limited period of time.  Minutes, maybe an hour if it’s slow.  I believe in mulling over a big purchase, so although I’ve been tempted to buy a TV or other ‘big’ item, I never have because it’s too big a decision to make in that short of time.

But, obviously people don’t care because these things sell out quickly.

I suppose that if something did hit that I was planning on buying I might make a purchase, but I’d say it’s pretty rare that people happen to buy something on a Woot Off that they would have gone out and purchased anyways.  I’d guess 98% of purchases are impulse buys.

At least a regular Woot item, you have the entire day to think about it (assuming that they don’t sell out) so while there’s pressure, you can talk it over, look at your finances, and be somewhat truthful about whether you actually need the item.  But a Woot Off item gives you none of that, so I’m fine with just watching the RSS feed fill up over the course of the day and leave it at that.

Still, it’s fun to watch.

Do you ever watch or participate in a Woot Off?  Do you buy from Woot?