You've been eyeing that HDTV that's being marked down to just $299 on Black Friday, but odds are it won't be there. Most of the best deals are in very limited supply. Check the fine print in the Black Friday store ads; you'll often see that only a handful of the hot items are available at each store. Maybe it's not worth the hassle.
Once you've waited in line for hours, you are going to buy something, even if the things on your list aren't available. Most often, you'll end up with a cool gadget or a new outfit for yourself that you don't really need, rather than the coveted gifts you intended to buy on Black Friday.
The stores are banking that you'll assume the prices are at rock-bottom and won't do any further research. Though a 40- or 50-percent discount is good, many items are discounted that much during regular sales all year long. Check out the Black Friday ads and do your homework. Research online and find out if the price is really the best you can find. You might be able to get the same merchandise at the same price (or lower) at Amazon.com or Wal-Mart every day.
Shopping on Black Friday is generally very time-consuming and hectic. You not only have to get up really early and wait in line, but you also have deal with the crowds. Many Black Friday deals will also be available online on Cyber Monday, when you can try your luck in warmth and comfort. With just a few clicks of the mouse, you could get the same deals.
Many stores change their return policies for Black Friday bargains. Some limit the type of merchandise you can return, eliminating categories such as jewelry and electronics; others shorten the time frame for full refunds. Check out DailyFinance's breakdown of Black Friday return policies.
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