If you love a good deal, Black Friday may be one of your favorite days of the year. Sales, promotions, and deals galore pop up at every retailer, online and off. And stores routinely offer great deals on many categories of tech products. (Some of the electronics you might want to buy on Black Friday include televisions, budget-friendly laptops, smartphones, and tablets.) But for every great Black Friday deal, there are 10 that just aren’t worth it.
How do you distinguish between the deals that are worth dragging yourself to the store to snag, and the ones that are worth neither the hassle nor your hard-earned dollars? As with any tech purchase, it really involves doing your research. But if you’re short on time, we’ve done some of the hard work for you. Read on to check out the kinds of Black Friday deals that really aren’t deals at all.
1. Black Friday deals on no-name or poorly-rated gadgets
Stores advertise “doorbusters” enthusiastically, often touting low prices that make the gadget at hand seem like a steal. But both online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores often have doorbusters that aren’t quite the great deal that you might imagine. Many such gadgets are low-end models that don’t have all the same features as their rivals and may earn poor marks from online reviewers. Others are models that are manufactured specifically for a given retailer, which can be a red flag when it comes to quality and longevity. The takeaway? Always research the manufacturer and the model of any gadget you’re thinking of purchasing, no matter how good the deal sounds. Don’t let that low price force you to make a hasty purchasing decision.
2. Deals on TVs that are manufactured specifically for Black Friday
We’ve already mentioned that some retailers offer deals on gadgets that are manufactured specifically for them. But did you know that sometimes items like TVs are made especially for Black Friday? These models are made to be offered at what looks like a heavily discounted price. So in the case of TVs, they often have things like lower-quality displays, or they lack features that most other models have. If you’re thinking of buying a TV on Black Friday, research the model number. If it’s only offered by one retailer, you might want to think about skipping it and buying a new television at another time of the year. (Perhaps think about purchasing one in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, which is a great time for discounts.)
3. Black Friday deals and doorbusters that are offered in extremely limited quantities
The deals that retailers advertise most enthusiastically are often those that they offer in the most limited quantities. In most cases, those deals are going to be gone within minutes of the store opening. So if you don’t want to be there early, standing in line in the cold, you’ll have virtually no chance of actually getting the deals that were advertised. If you miss the deals, you’ll either go home empty-handed or end up spending a lot more than you intended on items that you may or may not have been planning to buy.
4. Deals on outdated models and gadgets that have been updated
When you’re looking at deals for devices that are updated on a yearly or otherwise regular schedule, make sure that you know which model you’re getting. It may be that the price of a laptop or a set-top box or even a smartphone is so good because it’s last year’s model. There’s nothing wrong with buying an old model if it has the features and specifications you need. But you should always make sure that you know which model you’re getting, and that you’re actually getting a good deal on it. After all, Black Friday shopping isn’t worth the hassle if you’re just getting the same price a store offers on a much less hectic shopping day.
5. Black Friday deals that people will be fighting over
Every year, incidents of people being trampled, punched, or even killed make headlines following Black Friday. And they should make you think twice about venturing out into the fray. If you’re thinking of purchasing a big-ticket item that lots of other people are going to be there to fight over, you may want to think again. Sure, that big-screen TV may be a great model that’s heavily discounted, but purchasing it probably isn’t worth it if you need to get into a fistfight to take it home. The odds that you’ll land in the ER after going Black Friday shopping are pretty low, but if you want to avoid the stress altogether, you might want to sit this kind of deal out.
6. Deals that aren’t much better than what you’d get on a different day
We’ve established that shopping for electronics on Black Friday can be a pretty big pain. So it bears mentioning that Black Friday deals that aren’t much better than the price you’d get on another day are rarely worth the effort. Many retailers start offering holiday season deals even before Black Friday arrives, and even more offer promotions and discounts after Black Friday. Do your research, and make sure that the discounts you’re getting on Black Friday are actually significantly better than what you can expect on another day.
7. Black Friday deals that are also offered online
Most people think of Black Friday as a day to shop at their local brick-and-mortar stores. But it’s not worth dragging yourself to the store Thursday night or early Friday morning for sales that are also being offered online. You’ll need to do your research on which deals are going to be online, and which ones are in-store only. But if you’re seriously considering a tech purchase, it’s a good idea to check out which retailers are offering deals on the gadget you want. If somebody’s offering a great deal online, that’s probably the best way to go. You’ll get to spend more time at home with your family while avoiding being pushed and shoved at your local Walmart or Best Buy.