Is Black Friday (now Thanksgiving evening) really the best time of the season to get great deals?
A Wall Street Journal article called "The Myth of Black Friday" first raised doubts about the savings, and now more and more analysts -- and even Black Friday websites --admit the savings are not what many people believe.
The Journal analyzed thousands of marked sales, and found that many of the Black Friday deals are cheaper two weeks later, as stores continue to slash prices through the holiday season.
Meantime, the website "Deal News.com" analyzed recent Black Friday sales over the past several years and concluded that many things we believe about that day are no longer true.
Top Black Friday Myths
- Myth: The best deals start Thanksgiving night at 6 p.m. (which means forget about a leisurely Thanksgiving dinner).
No, some items are sold out by 6 p.m....grabbed by the shoppers who spent all day Thanksgiving waiting outside the store.
If you want to do that, great. If not, getting there just as the doors open at 6 p.m. (or 5, or 8) may be worthless.
- Myth: Doorbusters are worth the long wait, and fight to get in the door.
No, Deal News says they are just a few discounts designed to create a frenzy. In some cases, it found, those Thursday night door busters were just 10 - 20 percent off the standard price, hardly worth standing in line for.
Everyone will be selling Beats Solo headphones at discount this year. You will able to get them on sale throughout the season without a 3 hour wait.
Other door buster deals are for things like $29 generic Android tablets, which often last just a week or two before failing. Spend some more and get some quality.
- Myth: It's worth camping out overnight.
No, in most cases, Deal News says you can find the same prices without the crowd later, such as the following weekend. If you absolutely want a 60 inch TV for $300, then go ahead and camp out.
- Myth: Black Friday prices are the lowest of the year.
No, they are often lower later, often falling further the week before Christmas. Toy prices are cheapest in mid-December, with winter clothing cheapest the weekend before Christmas Day.
- Myth: Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year.
No, it's actually the third or fourth busiest. The busiest day at the cash register (and the day the mall parking lot is the most full) is the Saturday before Christmas, when everyone is scrambling to buy gifts.
Doesn't that Stink?
And from the "Doesn't that stink?" file, the biggest myth of all surrounding Black Friday, one concerning HDTV's.
Giant HDTV's are big moneymakers for stores the day after Thanksgiving. You see people wheeling them out of the store as if they were free.
But Deal News dot com says it's a myth that prices are slashed on all TV brands on Friday: Doesn't that stink?
It analyzed the sales over recent years and says black Friday is a good day to buy an "off-brand" HDTV, like a Westinghouse, Zenith, Emerson HDTV, but not a day to find the biggest markdowns on a Sony, Panasonic, or Samsung, the top rated brands.
Samsungs tend to be cheapest before the Super Bowl in January.
Bottom line: Yes, you can still get great deals on Black Friday.
But you can often get the same deals on other days, without the hassle. And that way you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
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