The only reason you shouldn’t be shopping for electronics on Black Friday

A man stands in front of a wall of televisions in an electronics store.

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You might be bitterly disappointed if you do.


Important points

  • It’s common to see discounted electronics on Black Friday.
  • The items you see on sale may not be what you think they are.
  • You may receive an inferior model of that particular TV or other electronic device made for the Black Friday sale.

There’s a reason so many consumers save their money and put everything in the bank Credit Card Cashback for Black Friday. That’s when retailers typically make the biggest deals of the year, from toys to apparel to home goods and appliances. And so many consumers are waiting to share their personal and holiday shopping until then.

It’s also common to see a range of electronics items heavily discounted Black Friday. You could get items like laptops, TVs, and gaming systems at a much lower price than they would normally cost at retail. But while consumers often wait until Black Friday to stock up on electronics, you might want to buy yours at a different time of the year for an important reason.

Are you getting the item you think you’re getting?

If you see a popular children’s toy that normally retails for $30 is on sale for $20 during Black Friday, you’re not taking a very big risk with your purchase. Chances are this toy is the same version you would see outside of Black Friday.

However, the same cannot necessarily be said when talking about electronics.

Have you ever wondered how retailers can afford to slash the price of electronics by hundreds of dollars without losing money? That’s because they don’t give you the same more expensive item that you would normally see on the shelves.

For example, if you see a TV that normally retails for $1,200 and is on sale for $800 during Black Friday, there’s a good chance you’re not getting the standard model, but a derivative model, which in theory comparable, but is made with inferior components that are more likely to break down over time. In fact, retailers often have electronics made specifically for the Black Friday sale purpose. These items may be of lower quality and not worth your money.

How do you know? There’s an easy way – look at the model or serial number.

Let’s say a certain company sells a 52-inch TV with model number OLED5450. If you see a 52-inch OLED TV from the same company advertised at a much lower price than usual on Black Friday, see if it has the same serial number. If it’s a different one, you can be pretty sure it’s not the same TV you’d normally find in stock.

Don’t fall into an ordinary trap

Retailers are not in the business of losing money voluntarily. Granted, some retailers do Deeply discount a select number of items in limited quantities to draw shoppers out the door on Black Friday. But if a particular retailer had to pocket $400 or $500 for every high-end TV or laptop it sells on Black Friday, that wouldn’t be a very good deal.

But rest assured, retailers won’t have to take that hit. Instead, they pay less for inferior electronics and charge a price that still benefits them financially. And it’s in your best interest not to fall into that trap.

If you are If you’re shopping for electronics on Black Friday, do your research and make sure the item you’re buying isn’t just a limited edition with inferior components. You might be better off spending $1,200 on a TV that lasts eight years than an $800 Black Friday special that lasts half as long.

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