So, we’ve spent time helping you find the absolute best deals for this year’s Black Friday. We’ve covered televisions, laptops, digital cameras, GPS units and other items of interest, but we’ve yet to do one very important thing – tell you which deals are so bad that you need to make sure to avoid them. Black Friday is a time where you’ll see many deals out there that are quite good. However, there are others that are deceptive and, if you don’t pay close attention, will end up being a complete rip-off. These are listed in reverse order, with our pick for worst deal appearing at the end.
5. Apple Products (from Apple)
Apple products are always a very in-demand item around the Holidays. Every year people get excited about the possibilities of Apple's official Black Friday sale and it always disappoints. The past couple years Apple's sales have been almost negligible, often times, not even large enough to offset tax. This isn't to say you shouldn't to buy an Apple product on Black Friday, just don't expect much from Apple directly. Apple resellers are, once again, going to have to make up the slack by offering gift-cards along with Apple products.
For instance, Walmart
are giving you a free $50 gift-card with the purchase of an iPod Touch. MacMall and MicroCenter are also both well known for their Black Friday ads which handily beat any of the official Apple sales.
At first glance, this item seems to be a steal. It is a really cheap netbook, and some might believe that means it has to be worth picking up. After all, it IS cheaper than what we listed over in the laptop article, right? How could we be as crass and careless as to leave this out? Well, that's because this doesn't qualify as a deal whatsoever, and is going to be an issue for any consumer who picks it up. You can get a real quality netbook for $149 from Best Buy, as opposed to getting what amounts to an imposter here.
So, what makes this one so horrible? Its most glaring issue is that it runs on Windows CE. That's right, it runs an ancient OS that still defaults to showing you mobile versions of websites. You also won't be able to install any normal programs on this netbook, as most of these will not be catered to run on CE. Since the Sylvania netbook is being sold at a store that won’t likely generate tons of traffic on Black Friday, this may be CVS’s attempt at getting some retail attention for what looks like a great price.
Remember, folks – cheap doesn't always make it a good deal, and this netbook serves as a testament to that. Please do not believe the hype.
Considering Augen "accidentally" used a pirated version of the market app when they initially released an Android tablet a few months back and reviews of that tablet were far from spectacular, I'd recommend steering very clear from the item. It isn't worth the trouble nor the cost. It would have to be half its asking price to make it worth considering. I could spend an entire article going into all the problems this tablet has, but I'll spare you the torture. Just...skip this.
I am sure many well-meaning parents are going to go to CVS and think they've hit the jackpot -- a Nintendo Wii for $19.99? No, my dear readers, this is not a deal. This phenomenon is common in Japan, with many popular game systems having knockoffs with very similar names and looks, in an effort to get unwitting consumers to drop 20 dollars on the worthless pieces of plastic. This is definitely one example. Don't be fooled by the "60 games" mention, or the looks. This is not something you want to buy for your kids. Trust us on this one.
You just bought a brand new HDTV and Blu-ray player, but now the helpful salesman is trying to get you to purchase a $40 HDMI cable. How can 12' of wire be worth $40 ($3/ft)? It isn't. Utilize a site like Monoprice.com who has the same quality 6' HDMI cables for $3 and 10' HDMI cables for $4.25
. Not all retailers are as guilty of this, but many cables are ridiculously marked up above cost to make up for the slim margins on the big-name items that require the cables.
Definitely make sure to avoid, at all costs, this Monster TV Accessory Bundle for $199
which features an 8' HDMI cable ($5), Surge Protector ($20) and a cleaning kit (microfiber towel and water - $5).
Hopefully this buying guide shows you an important lesson: while Black Friday offers the promise of great deals, do not assume that this is always the case.
Be sure to check on items you plan on purchasing to see if a price is really as much of a steal as it seems. As these examples show, retailers can sometimes trick you into thinking that everything is on sale in the hopes of getting you to spend more freely on Black Friday. Some shoppers may feel a need to buy as much as they can based on the belief that Black Friday is known as the best shopping day of the year, but please don’t let this happen to you.
There are plenty of deals to be had if you spend smart, so keep that in mind as you start to compile a shopping list in preparation for Black Friday.