It’s cooomiiiing! Bargain hunters are busy licking their chops and counting down the days in anticipation of landing some of the best tech and entertainment deals of the year. If you count yourself among the latter, you’ve probably already read about a dozen articles offering tips on how to score big. The problem is, most of these only cover when to get in line with a bunch of strangers. If you want some real advice, tips that’ll help you avoid making some serious Black Friday mistakes, then read on.
Don’t Be Suckered Into Buying Something Just Because the Price is Right
Those of you who have ever experienced buyer’s remorse know exactly where we’re coming from with this sage bit of advice. But it goes beyond simply asking yourself “Do I really need an 80-inch TV set?”(of course you do, we all do).
More appropriately, it points to the seldom discussed fact that lots of vendors use Black Friday as a way to get rid of junky tablets and outdated TVs as well as cheapo eReaders and tablets. They wrap up their products in a “Black Friday Special!” marketing campaign, maybe lower the cost by a few bucks, and watch the merchandise fly. But a lousy product is a lousy product, whether you paid top dollar for it or got it for free. Generally speaking with tablets and eReaders, if it’s not a brand name, it’s probably junk. Do yourself a favor and research every product’s quality before you buy.
Make Sure You’re Actually Getting a Deal
Don’t take a retailer’s word that they’re the only ones offering cut rate bargains on an item that you’ve had your eye on for the last six months. And never trust anyone who says they’ve got the cheapest price around on something. There may be 200 people in line ahead of you gunning for the same product, but you can bet your bottom dollar that most of them haven’t done enough research to discover that they could get the same item at an even better price through an online vendor, or down the street at some other establishment.
A big part of your success here is to price check items in advance, at the same time that you research their quality (refer to Tip #1 as needed). By doing so, you might discover something that most Black Friday devotees would be heartbroken to discover: that sometimes, those super-special prices aren’t as special as they’re made to sound.
Check the Merchant’s Exchange Policy and Know What You Want
Not very many people know that getting a killer deal could potentially backfire if you’re not fully aware of the merchant’s exchange policy. Let’s say you score a yellow iPod touch for 50 percent off. If you change your mind two days later and decide you’d rather rock it with the pink option, don’t expect an outright swap. Since the item’s no longer on sale, you’re going to have to pay the difference to get the color you should have picked in the first place. This doesn’t mean if something breaks you can’t have it serviced. It just means that your exchange options will be severely limited.
Guard Your Identity with Your Life
We’re not talking about taking measures to avoid getting sucked up in a throbbing vortex of humanity at a door buster sale. We’re talking about your identity, as in your Social Security Number, credit card digits, and debit card PIN – that sort of stuff. The fact is, the Holiday shopping season is the busiest time of year for ne’er do wells and those who would seek to part you from your closely guarded private information.
These people are crafty, but they also rely on you to make stupid mistakes, like shopping on websites that just aren’t as trustworthy or reputable as the bigger retailers, all in the name of getting the cheapest price anywhere. Online deals that are too good to be true, typically are scams. Stick with reputable retailers and you should be alright – assuming they don’t lose your personal information!
Don’t Expect $100 iPads
Apple rarely discounts its products, aside from refurbs, but has applied modest cuts for Black Friday in years past. If the last two years are any indication, Apple may knock $41 to $61 off new iPads, $21 to $41 off iPods, and $101 off Macs. That’s better than nothing, but certainly not worth lining up outside an Apple Store at midnight. It would be foolish to wait anyway… Apple typically offers the same discounts online as well as in-store.
If you’re determined to take part in Black Friday, you can do so without losing your shirt, your identity, or your soul. It just takes forcing yourself out of the herd mentality that retailers rely on to make their yearly killing. Keep your head, and you just may very well end up ahead.