With the economy struggling, many retail stores are painfully aware that it is going to take big price cuts on Friday to fill up the parking lots and get cash registers ringing. If you are going to brave the crowds, you need to be prepared and educated about where to go and when. Perhaps you love the thrill of the chase and your crowning achievement was wrestling a Tickle-Me-Elmo doll away from a elderly woman a few years ago, but you were called into the office this Friday. While you might feel a bit left out for not being at the front of the line when the doors open, we can still help you save some money (and sanity).
When Do the Doors Open and Where Should You Go First?
Whether you are a rookie or a seasoned vet, you should read “The Ten Commandments of Black Friday” first before you engage in battle with other consumers. Think like an athlete and eat pasta the night before, get hydrated and pack a protein bar. If you have ever been on the Fat Wallet or Slick Deals forums, perhaps you have come across a generous soul that goes by the name of Akelnat, who has created the coolest spreadsheet on earth for the past few years, which has all of the best deals at retailers which you can sort based on the time the store opens, specific products and even price range. You can download his updated Black Friday Buyers’ Guide for 2008 here or here. If the Fed really wants to stimulate the economy, they should spam this spreadsheet to every email address in the nation because it could potentially drag nearly anyone into realizing that they actually can and maybe even should go shopping on Friday.
Forget the Crowds, Sleep in and Shop in Bed
When you wake up with sweet memories of gravy and find turkey in your bed, and don’t want to ruin your perpetual bliss by getting trampled by a herd of rabid people willing to kill for a discount, just roll over with your laptop and check out the best deals on the web. If you can forgo instant gratification and your shot at getting one of the handful of door-busting loss-leader items, many sites are offering the same deals online that will be available in-store along with free shipping. This means that you can shop at stores like BestBuy.com on Thursday from your laptop while you watch football and get the exact same deals that the die-hards are camping out for. Of course, there are plenty of stores already running great deals throughout the week online.
The Mac Vs. PC Black Friday Showdown (and Something For Linux Lovers)
Of course, the Black Friday sales won’t settle this debate. However, it is clear early on that much of the sentiment is favoring the killer deals on Dell, HP and other PC computers, with many people mocking Apple’s announcement that it is matching the deals offered by resellers. It isn’t easy to get unbiased opinions on the matter, but most of the sales on Apple products are less than 10% off. We will see what the news brings as Apple seems to be confident that it doesn’t need to offer much more than that in order to pack the stores. Even Linux lovers have good news as the lightweight Asus Eee PCa is available for as little as $299. Beyond that, did you ever think that you could buy a new laptop for $349 with free shipping like the one featured here at Dell?
What To Do If You Can’t Shop Friday
Don’t worry if you miss out on a few of the big deals. Cyber Monday (this coming Monday) and the day after Christmas (of course) offer great sales as well for you to make that purchase for yourself. So if the budget is tight at the end of the month, just remain calm and don’t think less of yourself for not having camped out all night in a cold parking lot with strangers in order to be more financially savvy with your shopping. There will be plenty of other deals in coming weeks as retailers vie for your attention, even as sales numbers are surprisingly expected to grow from last year (albeit at a slower pace).