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The day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday since it's a major shopping day that retailers depend on to keep themselves "in the black," is rife with deals, especially this year. The average consumer plans to spend about half as much as last year on holiday gifts, retailers are already feeling the pinch, and they're freaked.
So look for deep discounts on always-popular gifts like digital cameras and MP3 players just to get people in the stores, plus price cuts on bigger stuff too. Stores will open crazy-early (Circuit City, Walmart, and Best Buy at 5am. Five. A. M.), but you can find tons of great deals online too.
We'll highlight some of the best deals we've found here, but you can also register your email address on imaginatively named sites like 2008 Black Friday Ads, Black Friday 2008, and BlackFriday.info to be notified of new deals as they are announced. The forums at SlickDeals.net are a jackpot of Black Friday intel, too: Check this Master Index of Black Friday Ads, and even an Excel spreadsheet showing all the deals in sortable columns. (I bow to your nerdery, akelnat!)
Bringing your iPhone or iPod touch on your shopping odyssey? Bookmark the Black Friday Deals Web app to stay updated, and if you need some diversions for the kids as you drag them from store to store to god-forsaken store, grab the free Quizmas app from the App Store. That, and a few candy canes, will have them in the holiday spirit in no time.
AND NOW FOR THE DEALS!
Apple's online store has a teaser ad promising a "special one-day Apple shopping event" on Black Friday, but naturally they won't tell us what it includes. The ad says "iPod, iPhone, and Mac gift ideas," which is completely not helpful at all. Other retailers don't really discount iPods more than a few dollars, but Toys R Us is giving away a $50 iTunes gift card when you buy a $200 16GB iPod nano.
Besides a bunch of PeeCee laptops, Best Buy will be pushing TVs (a 47-inch Insignia 1080p LCD will be $999, and a 50-inch Panasonic Viera 720p plasma for $899), plus cheap DVDs (Entourage seasons for $9.99!) and Blu-ray. Three $10 iTunes Gift Cards for $25, too. If you can't make yourself enter the big blue box, they'll have deals online starting on Thursday too.
If you have a Borders membership card, you get the big deals starting Wednesday. Cheap DVDs and Blu-rays, DVD box sets down to $19.99, plus buy-one-get-one-free on gift wrap and holiday cards. (Seems those sales are in-store only.) Here's a printable coupon for 25% off one item, or use code SLB5539T online.
DVDs and CDs from $2.99, Blu-ray from $8.99, a SanDisk 8GB SDHC card for $19.99, lots of TVs on sale (alone or packaged with Sony Blu-ray players), and an Xbox 360 Arcade with an add-on 20GB hard drive and another wireless controller for $199. They're offering different doorbuster deals every day, so check in here for more.
We love online-only sales. Griffin makes a bunch of cool and handy iPod and iPhone accessories, and you can save 25% with coupon code TURKEY through 11/30. Nice!
If you are lucky or just sharp-clawed you could snag a 20-inch Sylvania LCD TV for $199.99, or a Nintendo DS bundle with a $25 Nintendo gift card for $149.99. They've got a Sony Blu-ray player with 1080p output for $179.99, and the PNY Neon 2GB flash drive for $7.99 is always welcome in a stocking. Save $5 off a $50 purchase with coupon code KWELCOME438, or print this coupon (link is a PDF) for in-store savings.
I've never actually been to a Meijer, but I hear they're awesome. Printable coupons abound for various-priced things. They'll have a GFM 42-inch 1080i plasma HDTV for $499.99, a Sylvania Blu-ray player for $149.99, sales on digital cameras and frames, and I guess I'll never know what I'm missing.
Microsoft Mac Business Unit
Only on Thursday and Friday, you can get Office 2008 for Mac: Special Media Edition for 70% off—that's an instant $350 rebate, available at Apple Stores, BestBuy.com, and Amazon. Holy cats, that's a deep discount. If you wind up snoozing on it, they'll still give you 50% off through the end of the year. If you already have Office, stop by the Mactopia website for free templates for making your own holiday cards, letters, and more.
The kind folks at Newegg, bless them, are actually letting customers vote on what kinds of products will be discounted on Black Friday. They've got a Black Friday Pre-Sale on now, where you'll find a 46-inch Sceptre 1080p LCD TV for $799, rebates on flash drives and RAM, and $10 off Parallels Desktop 3.0 for Mac.
The Shack has some good Web-only deals like the AcomData pureDrive 500GB external drive for $79.99, or the Colby DP758 7-inch wooden digital photo frame with 1GB SD card for $61.99. Go here for more deals or to read your local Radio Shack ad.
Staples will have deals on tons of digital cameras and frames (Omnitech digital frames start at $39.99), memory cards (4GB SDHC for $9.99), printers (HP Officejet 5610 for $39.98), external hard drives (Western Digital My Book Essential 640GB hard drive for $69.99!), flash drives (SanDisk Cruzer 8GB for $12.99, are you kidding?), fun stuff like that. They open at 6am. Oh, and here's a printable coupon for $5 off a purchase of at least $25.
Target's two-day sale will pack lots of goodies, like a Logitech Wireless Notebook Mouse for $9.99, a 40-inch Sony Bravia 1080p LCD TV for $998, and some awesome PlayStation 2 games on sale for $22.
Use coupon code FLWS at checkout and you will save $5 on orders of $25 or more, or $10 on orders of $50 or more. They have tons of geeky toys and clever T-shirts for all your favorite lovable nerds. (Update: We also found a $10 off $30 ThinkGeek purchases coupon at RetailMeNot.com, but I can't say for sure if it works or not.)
Wally World is getting crazy once again. According to a TV ad, Walmart is continuting its tradition of matching any advertised price on an identical item sold at a brick-and-mortar store, even those wacky Black Friday deals. Their doorbusters include a 50-inch Samsung plasma TV for $798, DVDs as low as $2, video games as low as $16, and more. Go here to read your local Walmart ad.
More Random Deals
f.y.e. has a Buy One, Get One Free sale going on. Free shipping on orders over $25. You get an extra 20% off selected holiday DVDs with coupon code HLDY2008DVD.
Gamefly is running a holiday promotion: 55% off the first month of a new membership (it's Netflix for videogames).
If you find yourself at GameStop.com, use coupon code SAVE10 at checkout for $10 off a purchase of $50 or more.
Amazon is offering a free 12-month subscription to Wired if you buy $25 or more in electronics (only products sold by Amazon, not third-party merchants).
Speaking of magazines, Amazon has a sale on magazine subscriptions throughout December. One year of Vogue, $18; two years of Popular Mechanics, $18. (And don't forget the best darn magazine of all.) Keep the gifts coming all year!
Other Black Friday (and Anti-Black Friday) Resources
PriceProtectr: Register your purchase here, and the site will track the price of it and notify you when it drops. Then you can go back to the store with your receipt and often receive a refund for the difference!
Buy Nothing Day: If you need an excuse to sit out your sisters' Red Bull-fueled shopping orgy, show them this website and act all self-righteous about it. (They'll roll their eyes and promptly uninvite you.)
No Christmas Gifts This Year: If your finances this year just don't include gifts at all, this site lets you send customized e-cards to your loved ones offering the gift of time spent together instead.
RetailMeNot.com: If you're doing your shopping online, keep a tab open on this site so you can search it for coupon codes (just type the name of the site you're shopping at into the search box). You can often score codes for things like free shipping, $10 off, or even discounts on certain items.
SlickDeals.net: Invaluable. Start here, search the forums, and you will find hundreds of bargain-hunting ninjas dropping the knowledge on you.
Bargainist.com: We keep this one in our RSS reader for dozens of deals every day.