Monday, November 26, 2007

Reader Asks: Did You Really Find Bargains on Black Friday?

A reader named Michael R. from Seattle has a question about so-called Black Friday deals in electronics. He read this column from me and his questions: Do the deals really exist? Other bloggers have posted an assortment of insights. Links are below:

While shopping for a plasma TV, Michael from Seattle found a price spike on Black Friday. Here's his experience:

"I bought a Panasonic plasma TV (42PZ77U) at Best Buy during the first week of November so I would be able to get price matching through New Year’s day based on Best Buy’s 60-day price match policy. The 42PZ77u lists for $1799. That first week of November, I bought it for $1619 (Best Buy on-line price matched at store).

The day after I bought it, Best Buy and Circuit City had it on-line for $1499. Mid-November, Best Buy had it on-line for $1299. The Saturday before Thanksgiving, Sears had it on-line for $1199 (although I couldn’t get the price match on that because it is special delivery in my area). Of course the on-line prices also included various discounts and/or freebies on various bundles and/or installation services.

On Black Friday, I checked Best Buy, Circuit City, Sears and Video Only on-line and in-store and found that the lowest price on the 42PZ77U was $1499 (in-store Video only), and at Best Buy it was back up to $1619 in-store and full price with no significant bundle option on-line.

I wonder if the higher Black Friday prices on my TV was an aberration based on the strong sales for this particular product and/or the relatively strong economy in Western Washington, or if this was some sort of national trend that deeper discounts were actually available before Black Friday, and what that might mean for Christmas and after Christmas prices.

I hope you’ll do a column on whether the forecasts were accurate and what that suggests for the rest of the holiday season.


Michael R.
Seattle, WA

I'll check around for answers. Meanwhile, I'm asking others to please leave a comment or write to me with feedback about your Black Friday/Cyber Monday experience.

Here's a roundup of what other folks are saying about early holiday shopping:

From Boston Gal's Open Wallet: My Black Friday Adventure

I wanted to get my parents a laptop computer and after watching the sales leading up to black friday I realized some great deals would be available this year. My guess was right....

From Generation X Finance: A List of Some 2007 Cyber Monday Sales

This year, plenty of online retailers are offering some good Cyber Monday sales, so if you enjoy shopping online, Monday might be a good day to do it. So, here is list of some of the online Cyber Monday sales that I’ve come across. Obviously, some deals are better than others, but these are just some that I’ve noticed this weekend. If you know of any other good deals, please let others know in the comments.

From Seeking Alpha: LCD TV Black Friday Sales Reported Solid

From Mapgirl's Fiscal Challenge: Holiday Weekend Spending Report

From We're In Debt: Day 573: Did You Shop Black Friday Sales?


The Frugal Duchess Booktique
The Frugal Duchess of Beauty Store

Book Shop of Fear
The Poetry & Drama Queen
Frugal Jazz & Blues
Frugal Comic Book Connection


Him and Her said...

We shopped this Black Friday and had a pleasant experience doing so.

Sharon Harvey Rosenberg said...

Thanks so much for the comment.
I visted your blog and liked your piece.


mapgirl said...

Thanks for the link Sharon. Sometimes avoiding the gluttony of Christmas shopping is the best thing you can do on Black Friday. Just relax with a nice cuppa. (Even if it's Starbucks!)

Sharon Harvey Rosenberg said...


I agree with you. On Sunday when we were leaving my parents' home, part of my family ran into Target.

I avoided temptation totally by getting a tall latte ($2.90) from Starbucks. That was a cheaper option.

Thanks for your comment. I really enjoyed your post.

Marcus Aurelius said...

I think what some are observing is a mix of different strategies on the store's part.

First they deeply discount some items. That is the lure to bring you in. Quite frequently one item I observe on good sale during this time are things like memory chips (SD cards & the like) or super cheap DVD players. Those bring in the customers. However, how much profit is made on a SD card? Even if they are normally marked up like crazy I do not see them being huge money makers.

However, other items are marked up. People come in and the psychology is that this is "Black Friday" everything must be on super deep discount and as a person walks by the HDTV section they get hit by impulse and walk out with a price-increased HDTV.

Dude comes in to buy a bunch of $19 SD cards marked down to $12 and then impulsively buys an HDTV marked up from a regular prices of $1,295 to $1,495. Unless dude has done his research (and what does impulse mean?) he lost. The store just made up the $7 loss on SD Cards by a bundle.

This is why folks like Sharon always advise to bring in a list and stick to it when shopping.

Sharon Harvey Rosenberg said...

Hi Marcus:

Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment.

You are right about the loss-leaders.

I saved a lot by skipping all of the sales.

I appreciate your comments very much. Take Care!