We can’t tell you how to score a better parking space at your local mall, but we might just be able to brighten your day by dispelling these common Black Friday shopping myths:
- MYTH: Black Friday sales begin on, well, Black Friday
Most major retail chains will have their Black Friday sales online on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, when you’d expect people to be busy traveling to relatives’ houses and stuffing themselves with turkey. In fact, in years past, we’ve seen some deals sell out before Black Friday. dealnews’ #1 Black Friday tip is to begin shopping online on Thursday, as early as possible.
- MYTH: Doorbusters are free
Whaaa? Believe it or not, many people believe that Black Friday is a day to score freebies. This myth may be what lures people to sleep overnight outside a store, but most doorbusters are just low-priced items meant to create frenzy. If you find a free TV on Black Friday, please send us a photo of it alongside your pet unicorn.
- MYTH: The deals are so good on Black Friday, they’re worth sleeping overnight on a curb for
These days, more and more Black Friday deals are available online as well as in-store. Couple that with the fact that many Black Friday doorbusters are either matched or beaten later in the season, and you can only conclude that it’s not worth camping out for Black Friday specials. At most stores, being first in line to go in at 5 am only guarantees that you’ll get shoved around as the 500 people behind you are also let in.
- MYTH: Nobody will match Black Friday prices
That’s just not true. In a few weeks, we’ll put out our list of stores that offer price matching on Black Friday. (See last year’s list.) Moreover, major online retailers like Amazon.com will have Black Friday sales too. In fact, in 2009, Amazonmatched the best Black Friday prices at Walmart. And Best Buy. And newegg. And Staples. And Office Depot. And Apple. And Target. The list goes on.
- MYTH: Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year
The Saturday before December 25 is actually the busiest shopping day of the year.
- MYTH: Prices on Black Friday are the lowest you’ll see all year
Many Black Friday deals are matched or beaten later in the season. It’s a buyer’s market, and prices aren’t going up. If a deal doesn’t make you swoon, wait for a better deal later. Also, in their Black Friday ads, retailers often mix in their everyday prices with their steeper discounts, hoping that a shopper will bite on a high-profit item.
- MYTH: Black Friday prices are always sale prices
Not only are some deals matched later on, some prices were better before Black Friday. In the past several years, retailers have been caught red-handed jacking up prices before Black Friday, then lowering them with supposed discounts that leave the price higher than it was before. It helps to know what things cost now to make sure you’re getting a bargain down the road. When applicable, peel back price stickers to see what the original price really was.
- MYTH: If you have buyer’s remorse, you can always just return your purchases
Not so fast! Stores have tightened their return policies considerably, making it harder to return items. Some will only give you store credit even if you have a receipt, not give you back the cash value or credit your card. Some stores are now even keeping track of serial returners and banning them. If you don’t remember to ask for a gift receipt for each item, your recipient may be unhappy too, because they’ll likely only be offered store credit for only a limited portion of the return. Bah humbug!
- MYTH: Signing up for a store credit card to get an extra discount is a no-brainer
If it’s really that good for you, do you think they’d try to up-sell you so hard? There’s a reason why most people decline these offers, not the least of which is the fact that retailers dangle such offers to get you to overspend. Also, opening new lines of credit can affect your credit score, so you have to consider how long you’ll keep the card, will you pay it off each month, and will it harm you the next time you need a mortgage, car loan, or other form of credit in the near future.
- MYTH: All of the good deals are in the Black Friday ads
On Thanksgiving Day, retailers like Walmart and Best Buy have historically advertised additional Black Friday deals that weren’t in their circulars. These “secret” deals will only be found online (e.g., at BestBuy.com), so the trick is to uncover them on the Web on Thursday so you’ll know about them when you get to the store on Friday.
Read the full spread at DealNews.com