Black Friday deals can be amazing, but some of them just aren’t what they’re cracked up to be. If you shop smart, however, you can find “hidden” deals on Black Friday that are better than the deals advertised in the flyer. It can be overwhelming to shop with Black Friday crowds, but you’ve gotta stay aware of your surroundings if you want to find what you’re looking for. Here’s a quick guide on how to find unexpected deals, “hidden” items, and chances to get cash back when you go shopping on Black Friday.
1. Don’t Limit Yourself to ‘Deals’ in the Black Friday Ads
Here’s one way to find an unexpected deal. Hunt for “open box” items, which are either in-store demo models or customer returns. The savings on these items can be huge, and they aren’t the kind of deals that get advertised in a Black Friday flyer.
While an open box item may not be the prettiest thing to wrap, you can always set up the item (like a new TV or stereo system) on Christmas morning for a great surprise. The savings on these open box goodies can be much lower than advertised Black Friday specials for similar items.
2. Look for That Special Black Friday Deal Off the Shelves
Another tactic you can use to find “hidden” treasure in a store is checking out the “go-backs.” Also called “reshop” carts, go-backs are the carts that get abandoned by other shoppers. If you can’t find that awesome doorbuster you came in for, ask one of the store employees to check the go-back carts for that special item.
You might get lucky and find that someone abandoned a cart with that one must-have item on your Black Friday list. Keep your eyes peeled for abandoned carts (but never grab something out of an unattended cart without an employee to give you the go-ahead.)
3. Remember to Leverage Store Price Matching Policies
Finally, keep your eyes on the shelf tags, and on your receipt. Some retailers offer price matching after Black Friday. If you buy an item, and see that same item sold in their store or at a competitor for less within a certain time period, you can sometimes get cash or store credit for the difference. Walmart.com generally offers just such a price adjustment on request, with seven days being the amount of time you have to request an adjustment after ordering. Other retailers may give you 14 days, or even 30 days to claim a price match. Some retailers will only price match to local competitors, though some will price match to Amazon.com if you ask.
However, some retailers do not extend their normal price matching policies to Black Friday deals. Ask your local store manager or cashier what the store’s specific policies are for Black Friday price matching to be sure of the best deal. You should also note that if you’re planning to return a Black Friday purchase, you may not be able to return multiple items, and there may be additional restrictions on your refund.
4. Don’t Shop Black Friday: Shop Thanksgiving or Cyber Monday Instead
Black Friday deals are often not as good as the deals you’ll get on Thanksgiving or Cyber Monday. If you’re willing to leave the comfort of your home after Thanksgiving dinner, you can find smaller crowds and bigger bargains. CNBC recently noted that Thanksgiving shoppers who buy items online see an average discount of 24 percent.
Last year, Lifehacker noted that Cyber Monday was the best day to find deals on certain types of items, such as clothing and shoes. Thanksgiving, they pointed out, was the best time to buy items like smartphones and TVs.
Depending on what you plan to buy, you might be better off shopping Thanksgiving or Cyber Monday, rather than braving the Black Friday crowds.
5. When All Else Fails, Ask Nicely for a Discount
One final word of advice: It doesn’t cost you anything to ask for additional discounts. Don’t hesitate to ask to talk to a manager about making an exception to their price matching policies on Black Friday. If you happen to be the last person lucky enough to get a Black Friday sale item, and its box is damaged in some way, you can also try asking for an additional discount.
Black Friday is all about the customer, and retailers are aware that one irate tweet (or one gushing Facebook post) can go viral and influence where other customers do their shopping. In most cases, store managers are going to go out of their way to keep customers happy on Black Friday. It’s amazing what asking nicely can do when you’re trying to score the best Black Friday deals.