Welcome to Black Friday 2008! You either love it, or you hate it. Those that love it, will be camping outside their local stores on Thursday afternoon, those that hate it will be sitting at home, watching the news on TV and laughing at those camped outside their local store.
Either way, Black Friday is traditionally when the silly season of deals starts. It is when you can forget all about the malaise in the world, and get back to being the spend-happy consumer all the retailers want you to be.
I’ve made you a handy list of products that I consider to be substantially cheaper than usual days, but as always, it pays to research! Just because 350 other people are fighting over that GPS unit, does not make it a bargain. People do stupid things, and being tricked into thinking something is cheap is one of them!
There are some good luggage deals to be found this year, but most of them involve the kind of luggage you use if you only take one trip a year.
Most major stores have at least one 6 piece luggage set on sale this Black Friday. Walmart currently has the best deal going, with the 6 piece “Protege spinner” set.
If you are able to brave the cold and the crowds, and make it to the Walmart doorbusters, you’ll be able to snag one of these sets.
Of course, luggage is not always the hottest seller, so when everyone heads to the electronics department to buy a flat panel TV, you might just be able to quietly make your way to the luggage department and grab your deal.
If you are a fan of high quality luggage, then head on over to Tumi.com, where you’ll find their annual 40% off sale.
GPS devices have been one of the hottest sellers around the Holiday season for several years. Just be sure you don’t get tricked into buying a unit you don’t want.
Before you settle for one of the really cheap units, ask yourself what exactly you need in a GPS receiver. Keep in mind that the cheapest deals will only cover the United States, and most of them will have a pretty limited selection of “points of interest”.
A cheap GPS receiver may seem worth fighting for, but when you realize that $20 more can get you a device with 4 times as many points of interest, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
Some stores are offering GPS units from cheap “no-name” Chinese companies. I’d suggest staying away from these units as support may be hard to find, and it is often impossible to find map updates.
One of the cheapest decent GPS deals this year is the $79.99 Magellan Roadmate 1212. This device is part of the Best Buy doorbuster deals, so be prepared to stand in line to snag one. The device features 6 million points of interest. The 1212 usually retails for around $129. Of course, Best Buy only guarantees a minimum of 5 units per store, so the TomTom ONE 125 posted earlier this afternoon might be a better option.
Memory card deals
Memory cards are almost not worth the trouble on Black Friday. In 2006, a 2GB SD memory card sold for about $30, but they have dropped well below $5 now. Save yourself the hassle, and just order what you need from one of the cheaper online retailers like Newegg or Amazon.
Laptop computer deals
Completely random and unproven statistics of my own, show that more people get injured on Black Friday fighting over cheap laptops than any other product. Of course, the idea of saving $100 makes a little bit of pain worthwhile to some people.
Despite the crappy economy, really good laptop deals are hard to find this year. Best Buy is once again where you’ll find the best deal. The HP G50-104NR is a special Best Buy deal for a dual core laptop with 2GB of memory and a 120GB hard drive. The package includes a Canon 3-in-1 printer for $349.98. Of course, this is another product where each store receives a minimum of 8, and you will need a ticket in order to get one.
In my experience, you’ll need to be in line by 7pm Thursday to have any chances of winning a ticket. Once you have your ticket (usually handed out around 4am), you can leave the line and head back to your warm car. The ticket will tell you how long you have to redeem your item. Just remember that Best Buy has a nasty habit of overselling, and I know several people that were unable to redeem their ticket, despite being inside the store on time with a ticket in hand.
There are surprisingly few Netbook deals this Black Friday. Dell is offering their Insprion Mini for $299, but with a tiny 4GB SSD drive, I’d suggest paying about $50 more for a better machine.
Portable DVD player deals
Portable DVD players are perfect for long car trips, or for flying with kids on an airline without personal TV screens.
Just like with GPS units, I highly suggest staying away from the really cheap b-name units.
Circuit City is offering the highly rated Sony DVP-FX820 for $149, but a 20 second search shows this same unit at Amazon.com for just $139.
K-Mart has the one of the cheaper deals of the season, this Venturer 7″ DVD player sells for $49.99 after a $30 mail in rebate. If the rebate is not enough to scare you away, then the 90 day manufacturer warranty might do the trick.
If you want a reliable unit, from a decent store, then this 7″ RCA unit for $49 at Target might be just what you need. My experience with Target is that they usually have quite a good amount of inventory for each store.
Things to watch out for!
Needless to say that this Black Friday might be a tad more aggressive than previous years. Unless there is a deal you really want, stay away from the big box electronics retailers.
I’d also like to remind you that Circuit City is having some issues with over 155 of their stores. The stores that are in liquidation will not be participating in the nationwide Circuit City Black Friday deals. If you do make your way to one of the stores holding an “everything must go” sale, make sure you have online access to Amazon or any other shopping site, as these liquidation sales are a prime target for people who don’t do their research. Even at 30% off, you’ll often find the deals cheaper online.
Stay away from deals involving rebates (one of the countries largest rebate processors just went bankrupt), and stay away from anything with a free gift card, when a retailer goes under, gift cards are usually wiped out. If you can, use a credit card that offers additional warranty, or extended return rules. Of course, also be sure to use a mileage earning card!
Before you leave for the store, do your research, and print out any deals you want to try and grab. I suggest using bfads.net, where all the deals are in one handy place.
Most importantly, make sure you have fun, remember that there is more to life than a really hot deal, and that the closer we get to Christmas, the larger the chance is that retailers will drop prices even more.