Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More 11/23 Expressions

The following is a timely post from a guest blogger:

 Black Friday and the Frugal Shopper

In a downturned economy, more and more people are watching their purse strings with eagle eyes, and rightly so. Nothing is guaranteed and nobody's job is truly safe in these topsy-turvy recession times, and it's more important than ever to stick to the essentials and get a great bargain in doing so. But if you're going to splurge on some luxury items, particularly electronics, you want to be sure you're getting the best possible price. This makes Black Friday a perfect time to shop for both essential items as well as little luxuries in advance of the Christmas season.

Frugal shoppers will be delighted to hear that retailers reserve their lowest prices of the year for Black Friday, and with intense competition for your business, they offer dizzying discounts on all kinds of merchandise. While Black Friday shopping has become known as a blitz on all sorts of home and personal electronics, you can also find incredible bargains on fashions, consumables, house wares, furniture and just about anything else you can think of. Department stores, mall outlets and even independent retailers all want a piece of the Black Friday pie and will do everything they can to get your business.

However, with all the hoopla surrounding Black Friday as a shopping event, you need to keep in mind that unscrupulous retailers use the occasion to trick customers. In most cases, a little smart shopping and a "buyer beware" attitude will help you avoid these scams, but in more extreme examples the dishonesty borders on outright fraud.

The most common scam retailers run on Black Friday is a form of the bait-and-switch. They will offer a particular item at an unbelievably low price, but bury restrictive terms and conditions in the fine print. For example, the sale price may be restricted to a few hours after the store opens (and they open really, really early on Black Friday), or quantities of the sale item are very limited. Once they sell out, the retailer will put a near-identical item in its place--for a price not nearly as low as the advertised rate. In many cases, you won't be able to tell the difference between the two items and you won't find out about the difference in price until you make your way to the front of the long, long line at the checkout counter.

Another thing to watch out for is the "quantities are limited" claim. Retail experts point out that stores have nothing to gain and everything to lose by actually limiting quantities of sale items, and this claim makes very little sense from a revenue standpoint.

Finally, you should be aware that prices leak online and may actually be available in advance of Black Friday. By planning ahead, shopping online and shopping early, you can avoid disappointment in situations where the store legitimately does run out of a popular item that's available for one day only at a great price.

Deliah Abraham is a Black Friday sales expert. Through yearlong budgeting and careful planning and research she is able to scour all of the best deals from Meijers sales to Best Buy and score all of the best brands and newest technologies.

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