Beat Black Friday

Upgrade Your Life

Black Friday has really changed. I’ve been covering it IN DEPTH for the last eight years, and each year, this cat-and-mouse game between retailers and consumers has a different winner. This year, retailers have the upper hand because of something called “deal-staggering.” I’ll get to that in a second. But if you know the tricks, you can still land great deals – even on rarely-discounted Apple products. 

The Best Apple Deals Are Not Always At The Apple Store

Apple has its one sale of the year on Black Friday, but you won’t find the best deals at the Apple Store. They’re in the big-box retailers:

· iPad Mini $299 at Walmart – How is this a deal? Because they give you a $100 gift card when you buy the device.
· iPad Air $479 at Target – same story: the savings come when they hand you a $100 gift card with the purchase.
· iPhone 5C $45 at Walmart – plus, they give you a $75 gift card. You actually make money on the deal!
· iTunes Gift Cards – Get a card valued at $100 for just $85 at Best Buy.
· Macbook Air – $150 off at Best Buy

[Related: Is it Safe to Sell Your Old Phone? ]

Shopping on Thanksgiving? Really?

Don’t get me started about shopping on Thanksgiving. Retailers have lots of explanations: consumers want to avoid the early morning lines on Black Friday, younger shoppers want to go out on Thanksgiving night, online retailers can sell on Thanksgiving so we should too. Ughhhh!

Deal Staggering

To make matters worse, retailers are now using an age-old trick to maximize profits – confuse the consumer! Many of the big chains have deals that roll out at varying times Thanksgiving night, and then different sales on Friday morning. They are called “staggered deals.” Now consumers not only need to know where to go for the door-busters, they need to know WHEN to go.

I’m going to get a little crochety here and say it: retailers are ruining Black Friday, not to mention Thanksgiving!!

OK my rant is over. Here are the best deals – and yes, many of them are on Thanksgiving. Do with it what you will. I’m staying home for pie and the Pittsburgh-Baltimore game.

I’ll be tweeting deals as I find them all through the holiday season, I’m @ bworley on twitter.

What Where When:

50-inch HDTVs

Element - $229 - Target - 8p Thursday

Emerson - $288 - Walmart - 8p Thursday

Vizio LED - $498 - Sam’s Club - 7a Friday


HP 16” Dual Core 500 GB - $178 - Walmart - 8p Thursday

Asus 12” Touchscreen - $250 - Best Buy - 6p Thursday

Asus 14” X401 Ultrabook - $249 - Radio Shack - 8a Friday

MacBook Air - $150 off - Best Buy - 10a Friday

More Apple products

iPad Mini (with $100 gift card) - $299 - Walmart - 6p Thursday

iPad Air 16GB (with $100 gift card) - $479 - Target - 8p Thursday

iPhone 5C (with $75 gift card) - $45 - Walmart - 8a Friday

iTunes Gift Card ($100 value)-  $85 - Best Buy - Thu-Sat

Small Appliances

Backup phone chargers - $10 - Fry’s - 6a Friday

Hoover Vacuum - $79 - Target - 8p Thursday

Griddle, Coffee Maker, Crock Pot - $9.44ea - Walmart - 6p Thursday

Cordless Drill and Flashlight kit - $25 - Harbor Freight - Thursday

Beats by Dre headphones - $115 - Walmart - 8p Thursday

Other Good Deals

Kindle Fire (with $50 gift card) - $189 - Meijer - 6a Friday

Android Galaxy S4 - Free (with contract) - Best Buy - 6p Thursday

Nikon D7000 DSLR w/18-140mm - $800 - Best Buy - Thu-Sat

Xbox 360 4GB Kinect (Bundle with Halo 3) - $200 - Toys R Us - 5p Thursday

Xbox 360 4GB Kinect (with $20 gift card) - $200 - Meijer - 6a Friday

LeapFrog LeapPad 2 Explorer - $40 - Toys R Us - 5p Thurs-Sat