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Beacon Senior News

How to be a savvy shopper for Black Friday

Nov 02, 2016 03:03PM ● By Adam Cochran

November is here, which means the holiday shopping season has begun. There is no better time of year to get a great deal on gadgets and gizmos for your friends and loved ones—and yourself. The savvy shopper should start planning long before the circulars and email blasts start arriving.

Here are some tech shopping tips, whether you’re buying locally or online.

Do your homework

It takes time to research the perfect gift and the best price. Too many people walk into a local retailer, walk up to a sales associate and say something along the lines of, “My granddaughter says she wants a tablet.”

Most stores with a computer or electronics department carry more than 20 tablets, and some are so poorly made that they are insufficient for even the most basic tasks.

The lowest price is never the best deal when it comes to tech purchases. Similarly, the highest price is not indicative of superior quality.

Retail computer service people are trained salesmen, not necessarily experts. Before asking which laptop you should buy, consider that he or she will most likely sell you what he or she would buy. Technology that fits your exact needs cannot be purchased the way you’d order at a new restaurant.

Don’t buy tech from a clothing or grocery store

Black Friday deals can be great, but there are many deals that you should avoid. Some tech manufacturers use Black Friday as a way of liquidating overstock of a product that flopped via non-traditional sales channels.

Many large clothing/housewares retailers often offer door-buster deals on tablets, GPS systems, headphones and small drones that weren’t selling well in their native retail locations.

Some of these products have known issues with reliability or construction and the traditional retailers have stopped carrying them due to high return rates.

Buying a generic or obscure brand of tech at a clothing or grocery store is an even bigger risk.

Know your prices

Before you spend $400 for a 55-inch, 4K TV on Black Friday, research the price of the specific brand you’re looking at. Shopping by specifications and price alone can cost you a lot of money.

Many companies produce special products exclusively for Black Friday using lower quality parts and fewer quality controls. If you’ve never heard of the brand, avoid it.

Research the item online

Black Friday ads can be found online long before Thanksgiving. If you see a great deal advertised, visit the store and ask which TV, tablet, camera or laptop is being sold.

Most of the door-buster deals won’t list the model number in the ads because the item is actually not marked down as much as it may seem.

Sometimes the $400 4K TV is only $450 with free shipping on Amazon. Just as often, the item is cheaper online.

The old adage “buyer beware” applies today more than ever. Follow these tips and you will not only find better deals, but you will approach the season with the confidence of an educated consumer.