The 15 Biggest Black Friday Shopping Myths

Here at dealnews, our job is to help you get the best possible price for what you want to buy and to keep you from getting hoodwinked while you’re shopping. It’s with that in mind that we go into the holiday shopping season with some trepidation, because along with great Black Friday deals come a lot of hype and misinformation. We can’t tell you how to score a better parking space at your local mall, but we might just be able to brighten your day by dispelling these common Black Friday shopping myths:

  1. MYTH: Black Friday sales begin on, well, Black Friday Actually, most major retail chains will start debuting Black Friday sales online on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. (Amazon even announced that its Black Friday offerings this year will begin several days before that.) In years past, we’ve even seen some deals sell out before Friday, which means you can use this shopping fact as an excuse to step away from any too-intense family time on Turkey Day.
  2. MYTH: Doorbusters are free Whaaa? Believe it or not, many people believe that Black Friday is the day to score freebies. This myth may be what lures people to sleep outside a store overnight, but most doorbusters are just low-priced items meant to create frenzy. If you find a free HDTV on Black Friday, please send us a photo of it alongside your pet unicorn.
  3. MYTH: Black Friday deals are so good, they’re worth sleeping overnight on a curb for These days, more and more Black Friday deals are available online as well as in-store. In fact, last year, Target offered several of their doorbusters online, where a stacking 10% off coupon also applied. That means that select items were actually cheaper if you just stayed home and shopped online. It may not be worth camping out for Black Friday sales, where you’ll likely just get shoved around as the 500 people behind you rush in at your tail.
  4. MYTH: Nobody will beat Black Friday prices Nope, not true. In a few weeks, we’ll put out our list of stores that offer price matching on Black Friday. (See last year’s list.) Major retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Home Depot, and Meijer offered various policies regarding price matching last year, and in some cases, they not only matched, but offered a better price.
  5. MYTH: Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year According to the International Council of Shopping centres, the Saturday before December 25 is actually the busiest shopping day of the year, with only an estimated 35% of respondents planning to do any holiday shopping on the day after Thanksgiving.
  6. MYTH: Prices on Black Friday are the lowest of the year Although many Black Friday deals offer the lowest prices of the year so far, we will eventually see many sales matched or beaten later on; it just depends on whether you’re willing to wait. Also keep in mind that retailers will often sprinkle in mediocre discounts with their doorbuster deals, in the hopes that shoppers will bite on high-profit items.
  7. MYTH: Black Friday is the best time to do all of your holiday shopping While it’s true that several types of items will be available at rock-bottom prices, select categories will actually be cheaper if you wait. For example, you should probably hold off on toys, winter apparel, and brand name TVs. Be sure to consult our upcoming November Buying Guide for more information about the best and worst things to buy in November.
  8. MYTH: If you have buyer’s remorse, you can always just return your purchases Not so fast! Stores tighten their return policies considerably during the holidays, making it harder to return items. Some retailers will only give you store credit even if you have a receipt. A handful of stores are now also keeping track of serial returners and banning them. If you don’t remember to ask for a gift receipt for each item you purchase, your recipients might be doubly unhappy: they’ll likely be offered store credit for only a limited portion of the return. Bah humbug!
  9. MYTH: Signing up for a store credit card for an extra discount is a no-brainer If it’s really that good for you, do you think stores would try to up-sell you so hard? There’s a reason why most people decline these offers, not the least of which is the fact that retailers dangle these kinds of offers to get consumers to overspend. Also, as we noted a few weeks ago, opening new lines of credit can affect your credit score, so you have to consider how long you’ll keep a store’s card, whether you will pay the card off each month, and if it will harm your credit the next time you need a mortgage, car loan, etc.
  10. MYTH: All of the good deals are printed in Black Friday ads On Thanksgiving Day, retailers like Walmart and Best Buy have historically advertised additional Black Friday deals that weren’t in their circulars. These “secret” deals are only found online, so the trick is to uncover them on the web on Thursday so you’ll know about them when you arrive at the store on Friday. Keep an eye on our Black Friday ads section for new listings.
  11. MYTH: Leaked Black Friday ads are accurate In fact, they are often inaccurate or misleading. Last year, we jeered several retailers for advertising discounts that we just couldn’t find.
  12. MYTH: You have go to an Apple Store in person for its Black Friday sale In reality, all of Apple’s Black Friday sale prices will be available online with free shipping sitewide. However, in our Black Friday predictions piece, we actually advised against shopping the Apple sale, as most resellers — like Amazon, MacConnection, and MacMall — will offer discounts that will be twice as good. Plus, in some cases, they may also offer a sales tax advantage.
  13. MYTH: Black Friday is the best day to buy a new TV Yes and no. While we’ll see the lowest prices of the year for several HDTV sizes, they will largely be attached to off-brand models. If you’re looking for the best deal on major brands like Samsung, you’ll likely see those discounts in December or later when these manufacturers release their new models for 2012.
  14. MYTH: Big-ticket electronics, need extended warranties Not necessarily. This time of year retailers lower their prices, and then need consumers to purchase add-ons to maintain a profit margin. Don’t be talked into buying a long, pricey warranty if you know a 1- or 2-year plan will do the trick. It’s cheaper to buy a techie friend dinner in exchange for help than paying for in-home setup.
  15. MYTH: Cyber Monday offers the same calibre deals online as Black Friday in-store sales  For those of you who’d rather fully digest your Thanksgiving meal and not stand on line starting at 3 am on Black Friday, we understand. Shopping for the best deals can be exhausting, but if you wait until Cyber Monday you will be missing out on some of the highest markdowns of the holiday season. Coming out of your tryptophan daze on Monday, you’ll definitely see reatilers’ sales, but these bargains are essentially the leftovers from the Black Friday feast. Plus, as we mentioned earlier, many Friday offerings will be available online, so you really have no excuse for a late start.

This post originally appeared on dealnews.

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