Black Friday blows up bigger this year

Posted: November 22, 2013

SHOPAHOLICS love Black Friday. But this year, the annual holiday sales spree really should be renamed Black November! Numerous 25- to 60-percent-off, price-slashing events have been initiated by chains and product makers. And a supersized salvo of sales will obsess millions of bargain hunters on Thanksgiving night.

Blame (or thank) online mega-sellers like Amazon.com and Overstock.com. Last year, they turned up the heat with flash sales starting the moment the clock struck midnight on Thanksgiving. They kept the bargains coming through to Cyber Monday - and will start this Sunday for 2013.

This year, as a survival tactic, many retail stores will reluctantly open and start their nutty, "door busting" Black Friday sales on Thursday, effectively becoming the Grinch that stole Thanksgiving. (Employees may earn overtime pay and free eats, though.)

_ Black Friday's sellathon is Walmart's Super Bowl, proclaimed CEO Bill Simon recently - a game it can't afford to lose. Get the chain's earliest super deals at 6 and 8 p.m. on Thursday, with more in store for Friday at 8 a.m.

Customers in line on Thanksgiving night will get wrist bands for the hottest items (PlayStation 4 and Xbox One game systems) to prevent riots. And they'll be guaranteed access to select items for pickup that night or before Christmas, including: a Vizio 60-inch smart LED TV for $688 (supersized 70-inch version, $998); Xbox 360 and PS3 games like "Call of Duty: Ghosts" and "Grand Theft Auto V" for $34 to $40; an RCA-branded, 7-inch dual-core tablet for $49; and house-rockin' Sony stereo soundbar with wired sub for $98.

_ Staples opens Thursday from 8 p.m. to midnight wherever local laws allow for "earlier than ever access" to Black Friday deals. Return for more at 6 a.m. Friday. (Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico have laws against messing with the holidays.)

Door busters at Staples will include: a Motorola H730 Bluetooth headset for $19.99; a Brother HL-2240 monochrome laser printer for $49.99; and a Canon PowerShot A1400 digital camera for $69.99.

Staples' elves will give stuff away for free, too - like reams of printer paper - as thanks for just stopping by.

_ Best Buy opens at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving - six hours earlier than last year - then rocks around the clock until 10 p.m. on Black Friday. As recently as 2011, the big-box electronics store kept the lights off and doors locked for the holiday, reopening at 5 a.m. Black Friday.

Sweet come-ons include: a 39-inch Insignia LED TV for $169.99; a Kindle Fire HD 7-inch tablet for $99.99; an Asus 15-inch Touchscreen laptop with Windows 8 for $249; and a 25 percent discount on Dyson vacuum cleaners. ( Target's upstaging that with a super-swell Dyson DC35 stick vac at $199 - a 40 percent discount - as a limited-stock, 8 p.m. Thursday doorbuster.)

_ Even the lofty Apple brand will get down and dirty in the Black Friday fray. For Thanksgiving night shoppers, Walmart is tossing in a $100 gift card with a first-generation 16 GB iPad mini priced at $299, effectively implementing a one-third discount.

Best Buy will slash $100 off the price of a 16 GB iPad 2, another oldie but goody model. That $299 special will be valid Thanksgiving Day through Nov. 30, suggesting that there are plenty to go around.


Blog: philly.com/GizmoGuy

Online: ph.ly/Tech

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