Are Black Friday deals worth you getting up early?

For the first time ever, Michael and I are actually planning to get up early on Friday morning and head to Wal-Mart to shop.  (I’m not planning to shower, so if you see me, don’t judge my hair!)

With the economy tight, we are working every coupon, every sale, every two-for-one deal  we can find.

We saw the scanned in Black Friday Wal-Mart circular online, and it seems like it’s worth our while to get up early and check things out — video games from $7 to $25, two board games for $9, and IPod Touch for $195, festive holiday pajamas for $3. (Check out Rana Cash’s Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog for more deals. Here are more Black Friday deals.)

I’m paranoid that these deals will be the best of the season. I want to buy what’s on our list there if it’s on sale and then after that I will feel comfortable buying other places for prices that seem good.

It’s tough for parents to head out super early with kids in the house – either mom goes alone (which is no fun) or you have to find a babysitter. What babysitter is showing up at 5 in the morning?  We are lucky this year because Michael’s brother is visiting so we can just slip out and still have an adult sleeping in the house.

For us the tight economy makes us want to participate in Black Friday deals, but according to a recent AJC story by Nedra Rhone that’s not true for everyone.:

“Consumer participation in Black Friday has declined slightly but steadily over the past four years, from 26 percent in 2005 to 20 percent in 2008, according to a holiday poll from Consumer Reports National Research Center. Part of that decrease can be attributed to the economy, but also to an increase in consumer savvy, experts say. Shoppers know they no longer have to battle crowds to get the same deals they can get online or later in the season”.

“In the hope of boosting overall holiday sales, some retailers have opted to offer shoppers the same blowout bargains weeks in advance of Black Friday.”

I’ve been shopping and I know some stores are running some good sales (a la Justice – 40 percent off of everything!), but I don’t feel like I’ve seen the best deals on toys yet.

So how are you working it? Do you feel like you have to participate in Black Friday to get the best deals?  Are the Black Friday deals still good enough to get you out of bed? Are you finding enough good deals without waking up early? Where are you finding the best deals? Are you shopping online to avoid crowds?

(Check in tomorrow for a blog with links to family activities for the holiday and weekend. I’ve got link after link of holiday crafts and games to keep the little ones busy while you cook!! Also have links to movie listings and events outside the home good for kids. I may go ahead and post it later today. The crafts are really cute!)

44 comments Add your comment


November 25th, 2009
9:08 am

…don’t think I would have put the line about not showering out there in a public forum – you must really be a skank!


November 25th, 2009
9:08 am

…is that fish I smell?


November 25th, 2009
9:12 am

If you are going to Walmart and are planning on arriving at 5am you are in for a BIG surprise if you think you will be able to find those items you mention. The line begins forming at about 1am, so unless nobody else wants those items (yeah, right) then by 5am you will be SOOL. Just a little heads-up since you say you have never been up for one of these Black Friday sales!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 25th, 2009
9:14 am

Well we may not find anything then because I’m definitely now waiting any where nor showing up anywhere before 5 a.m. hmmm all my plans may be foiled!

EWW — I don’t know what you’re doing but I never smell bad even if I don’t shower — what’s going on at your house??

From MSN...

November 25th, 2009
9:18 am

Don’t camp out unless you have to…

You don’t have to wait in the freezing cold at 3 a.m. to score great deals this year. Many “door-buster” specials will be available online Friday morning and in many cases on Thanksgiving, says Dan de Grandpre, the CEO of Dealnews.

“It’s as good as Black Friday, and the competition to get (the deals) is far less,” he says. There’s no grabbing, pushing or trampling involved.

If you’re really worried about an item running out, you can shop online in your pajamas at 12:01 a.m. on Turkey Day at many retailers — and then go back to bed.

Of course, some door-busters will be found only in the stores. If your heart is set on one, you’d better join the 3 a.m. line. Some stores, such as Best Buy, hand out first-in-line vouchers, so those folks are guaranteed to snag the hottest deals.

To avoid the stampedes of years past, Wal-Mart will open its stores overnight on Thanksgiving, though some deals won’t be available until early Friday morning.


November 25th, 2009
9:19 am

No Black Friday for me, even though I live 4 miles from the Mall of GA. I have been in crowds for the past 7 weeks of travel and relish staying home.

I saw that Kohl’s is opening at 4:00 a.m.? WHAT?

To me, nothing is worth the hassle of the crowds this Friday. We are not going all out with gifts this year. I KNOW there are lots of folks who love the madness, as it gets them in the spirit!

Theresa…watch out at Wal Mart…remembering the trampling thing last year? Is that why you are not showering…maybe folks will keep their distance…just teasing you!

I do love a bargain and I will say that I enjoyed the BOGO offers at a leisurely pace on Monday and Publix. I spent $149.00 and saved $100.00 ( my total was $249.00) with the BOGOs, sale items and my $20 worth of coupons. If we need anything today, I will send my husband as he loves the energy of the crowds!

Happy Thanksgiving all!


November 25th, 2009
9:35 am

Theresa…did we ever get after pictures of your kitchen??


November 25th, 2009
9:39 am

I really hate the trend of stores opening earlier to try to get more sales. Some of the larger Wal-Mart stores will be open beginning at 6:00PM on Thanksgiving Day. That is enough reason for me NOT to go there. The employees deserve to be able to spend the entire day with their families. Everyone knows that if you work in retail you will work constantly until New Year’s so there is no reason to take Thanksgiving Day away from the employees.

Okay, I am off my soap box now. Previously I have gone to the Black Friday sales. My sisters and I enjoyed getting up early and after a couple of hours having breakfast before heading home. Every Black Friday circular I read had a disclaimer showing a minimum of 3 or 5 of the really popular items per store. So, it is not worth it for me. I have found killer deals the past week so I won’t venture out this year. I found great deals at Toys R Us and Best Buy so I have already grabbed my big ticket items already.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! If you are traveling, I pray you have a safe journey.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 25th, 2009
10:13 am

Really —We just finished everything last week — two big weeks and then part of last week. Because I am such a terrible photo taker I think the AJC is going to come out and shoot all the results and then we’ll show before and after. We took out a bunch of wallpaper also and replaced a bunch of lights to update the house. So we’re going to show all that too. I think we’re going to shoot in about a week so hopefully in two weeks we can have it all up. I’m also planning on listing how much each section cost — such as electrician, appliances, paint and then also list the sources we used. So hopefully it will be helpful to others thinking about updating. So stay tuned for those.


November 25th, 2009
10:17 am

I will be perusing the circulars to see if WalMart (this is the ONLY time I’m considering going there), Target or Toys R Us has anything we’re getting our kids for Christmas that is on such an incredible sale it’s worth it. My hubby and youngest are traveling to see family over the holiday, so I can drop my oldest off with my MIL early if I decide I must go. Two years ago I did the 7 AM doorbuster at Toys R Us, and it WAS NOT crowded. It was actually really pleasant. We were getting the whole Thomas Train set and table for our child, and they had buy one train get one free between 7 and 9 AM -it was worth it since they cost around $14 -$20 a piece. I’m really hoping what I need will be on a good sale there and not WalMart.

Happy Thanksgiving!


November 25th, 2009
10:23 am

We always do BF doorbusters, but never Wal-Mart. Lower prices sometimes show up sporadically after the big hurrah, but it’s our opportunity to knock out most of our shopping in one morning. Plus, it’s an adrenaline rush for us. =)


November 25th, 2009
10:30 am

We did Black Friday once — just for the cultural experience :-) I’ve found that the savings are often just as solid if you do some judicious shopping on-line. Otherwise, there is NO WAY I’m going to be crawling around WalMart in the wee hours of the morning. There are the hard-cores that get there the night before and camp out in their little campers in the parking lot, taking turns with their family standing on line. Who can (or would want to) compete with that? The other poster was right — the line is around the building by the time the doors open. We got there an hour early, and waiting 20 minutes just to get in the door.

Sorry, but that’s not my idea of a good time. If you like feeling like cattle being led to the slaughter — have at it! :-)


November 25th, 2009
10:38 am

Many retailers are trying to get shoppers to come in before the BF rush. Toys R Us has the deal of the day during the two weeks prior to BF and they have had excellent deals. I got a Nintendo DS bundle, which included the console, a new game (and not one of the older games) plus the starter kit (carrying case, 3 styluses, and 4 game cases, plus a screen protector) for $135. This week, the bundle is $154 which is still a good deal. The game console itself is usually $129 so that was a great deal. I also got one of the remote control trucks (the big one) for $24.99 because the deal of the day was $25 off any remote control car. Best Buy had the DJ Hero bundle set for $109 so I picked that up too.


November 25th, 2009
10:51 am

Watch out for WalMart. The stores will be open Thanksgiving evening without closing prior to the Black Friday rush. They’re allowing folks to actually camp out in the store next to the items that will be on sale.

Like if they have 4 of the 50″ TVs for $600, you can camp out next to it until the sale takes effect at 5 the next morning. There will be folks camped out ALL OVER THE STORE.

I have always heard, Theresa...

November 25th, 2009
10:57 am

…that by the time one begins to smell herself that others have been smelling her for days!


November 25th, 2009
11:08 am

Another reason why I avoid the crowds is because I LIVED the crowds during the 7 years I worked at Wal Mart from a 16 year old until I started teaching.

Is it just me or does anyone else cringe at the messes folks make and how no one cleans up after themselves in the discount stores? I love to shop at Ross. I have been told that the one here in Gwinnett at Discover Mills has the highest sales store in the chain ( by other employees at several Ross stores). To me, that store is a MESS! I have been to Ross stores across the country that are neat and clean.

One quick question…just wondering…have those who love the hype of Black Friday ever worked retail during the holidays? I still have flashbacks ( when I am in a messy store) that stick with me from 30 years ago…working at Wal Mart and cleaning up…then, we closed at midnight and were often there until 2:00 a.m. tidying up messes!


November 25th, 2009
11:11 am

“either mom goes alone (which is no fun)” HUH? I LOVE going shopping alone. My (ex) used to keep the kids on BF while my SIL and I got up at 3AM to hit the stores. I loved that!!!!

I love BF sales, but I just got a huge bill (school tuition)that I need paid by 12/7 SO! I will be looking carefully at what I can really spend. I have already picked up some things here and there.

Actually with the kids gone for Christmas (Dad’s turn), I am thinking about doing my shopping on 12/26. I should be able to get up early and shop — alone — and get some good deals. Even my folks will get their gift from me and the kids after Christmas. We are going to do the full get up in the morning sha-bang with the kids after they get back from their visit.

Geez, FCM...HUH...

November 25th, 2009
11:31 am

…”I LOVE going shopping alone. My (ex) used to keep the kids on BF while my SIL and I got up at 3AM to hit the stores. I loved that!!!!

That is not exactly shopping ALONE!


November 25th, 2009
11:33 am

I would try the online route for the things that are on sale. Check out E-bates for even bigger savings and cash back. I love the shop ’til you drop thing and love Christmas shopping, but the crowds and rudeness of Black Friday depress me. I am happy to wait until later. I have usually been able to find the same deals (or very close) in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
If you do go, good luck and be careful! I look forward to a report on your experience.


November 25th, 2009
11:58 am

I no longer shop on Black Friday because of all the craziness. It used to be fun, but now people are just plain rude. I usually try to get most of my shopping (at least for the hard to get items) before Thanksgiving. My son wanted many of the “top 10″ toys this season. I’ve already bought his entire list, and the gifts of all the children on my list. Christmas shouldn’t be a hassle or headache.


November 25th, 2009
12:12 pm

I’ll be camping out for my laptop and 46″ LED TV, as well as the extra 8 flyers because I am entitled to 10 and i’ll be selling the rest from anywhere from $10-50 a piece, So my time outside will be spent making money from the lazy people who didn’t want to camp out in the cold :) I win!


November 25th, 2009
12:13 pm

I shop alone now. I shopped with SIL back then.

I do love shopping alone.


November 25th, 2009
12:13 pm

Unless your a Gay Man or Female, I pretty much would rather leave you at home or in electronics than shop with you.


November 25th, 2009
12:20 pm

I dont think its worth camping out in the freezing cold and dealing with stampedes of crazy shoppers to save a measly $20 to $100 dollars. I’d rather pay more or shop online. not worth the trouble. Plus the doobusters always run out – its a marketing ploy.


November 25th, 2009
12:39 pm

Please, people. Remember the real reason for Christmas. It’s not about material stuff. Whose marketing ploy are we really following?


November 25th, 2009
12:53 pm

Faith remember that there is the secular and theological sides to the Christmas holiday. I see no reason why you should not enjoy both.


November 25th, 2009
1:25 pm

Yes, let’s remember the real reason for Christmas: to encourage the Christians and other religions to get along in the Roman Empire! Huzzah!


November 25th, 2009
1:26 pm

I’m with FCM on shopping alone. I can tolerate shopping with the hubby or with one of my two sisters. But I prefer to go myself, at my own pace, zooming through the stores. I find my MIL, SIL and my other sister are too slow for me. They want it to be a social event, and I am NOT a social shopper. My husband gets that, though, and he shops pretty much the same way – so that works. Last year since we had an infant, I actually did a lot of shopping alone on Friday nights (son was in bed and hubby was working on stuff at the house) in the weeks before BF; stores were running pre-BF sales. Then, we did minimal shopping on the “big” day.

And no, MJG, I have not worked retail during the holidays. Technically, I did – but not really. I worked at a small music store (as in musical instruments and sheet music) in high school, and our busy season was Aug-Sept, not Nov-Dec. That store was pretty dead on BF.


November 25th, 2009
1:28 pm

I’m all about Black Monday — shopping online during lunch break. If you check out the Monday deals on Amazon, etc — I doubt you’ll end up paying much more than Wal-mart’s Friday deal. Think about it — at best, you get up, fight crowds, spend an exhausting day to save maybe $100 (likely less, or even worse, you go through all that and the things you want sell out before you grab them). Or you can enjoy a day off with your kids. If the weather’s nice, hit a park instead of a mall, take a picnic of Thanksgiving leftovers, relax and have fun.


November 25th, 2009
1:45 pm

There is no way I would even think about it. I hate all the rush. A couple years ago I was going fishing on “Black Friday” and needed some tackle. I forgot it was “black friday” and when I pulled into walmart and saw the crowd, I just turned around and went to a bar instead.

I go to a book store about a week before christmas and buy everyone a book. Then I go to a small jewelry store and buy my wife some shiney rocks that i see as a complete waste of money, but she likes them.

Done in an hour.


November 25th, 2009
1:59 pm

@ Christina…no I do not think a music store COULD get as messy as the TOY department at Wal Mart…hahah! I have never worked at one, so I do not know!

I remember going down an entire toy aisle to straighten, then after working through the next aisle glancing back and seeing the aisle looking like someone pointed a giant leaf blower at everything, with toys all over the aisle and in the floor.

I also remember standing in the check out aisle ( for hours) checking out customers who were in a frantic rush for hours….this when cashiers actually knew how to make change
( without looking at the register) and count it back if the total was $42.76 and someone gave you $50.01.


November 25th, 2009
2:11 pm

MJG I worked for the Disney Store for 5 years among other places in retail on my resume. I worked BF with no complaint and thrilled with the fast pace of the day, but when I worked retail my favorite was to work Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve shoppers are the most peaceful shoppers ever.


November 25th, 2009
2:27 pm

I’m not taking a shower tomorrow morning either That doesn’t make anyone a skank, dumbo. It’s called showering the night before…


November 25th, 2009
2:29 pm

Wow…I ran this by my son ( who worked retail) and his memories and mine are nothing to do with peace….LOL!

I guess the more upscale stores might be pleasant…I have no experience in that arena~


November 25th, 2009
2:36 pm

Theresa I went to Walmart on Black Friday last year, if you get there an hour early before the store opens trust me you will get everything you want except the big ticket items, so I suggest do go, you may not get the IPOD Touch. Looks for deals not it online.

The American People

November 25th, 2009
2:50 pm

The answer is no, I will pay more to avoid the crowds and madness. “Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Coal-powered plants, you know, natural gas, you name it, whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.” – Barack Obama.

Speaking Up

November 25th, 2009
3:11 pm

@ The American People: Did you see the photos of the White House State Dinner? If you can get over tossing your cookies because they show Pelosi…there is a photo of Obama and the Honoree toasting the promising (growing?) relationship with India. Now if OUR economy is to get better when jobless rates go down, why are we promoting the relationship with India, which has seen many of our (better paying) jobs migrate or their people come here?

Not sure about Black Friday, what kind of sales do they have to counter act the economy being down and people being broke. If you have $0 to spend than no sale encourages you to buy.

Let's see Sarah...

November 25th, 2009
4:29 pm

…a woman decides to go shopping the next day so she says I will shower the night before so I won’t have to shower in the morning. Then, she and her husband/boyfriend/girlfriend decide to get amorous before going to sleep, but after going to bed and after taking said shower. Then, upon completion of the playtime she falls asleep. She gets up the next morning and goes out without showering – tell me what you would call that!? Maybe not skanky, but definitely not cleanliness personified!


November 25th, 2009
4:51 pm

Not just no, but hell no! None of that Black Friday shopping is worth it for me.


November 25th, 2009
6:53 pm

Lose sleep to shop. NO! Making employees work on Thanksgiving and making them get up at 4 AM on Friday is asinine. I will not shop on Thanksgiving or at dawn. Maybe that’s why they call it “Black Friday,” since the money-grubbers opne befroe sunlight.

regular poster incognito

November 25th, 2009
7:29 pm

andrea nice thought but no matter what time stores open the employees dont get the day off….and most walmarts are open 24/7 closed only on christmas…and walmart is gonna be very different this year..each item will be monitored by an employee so if there are several things you want its better to go with friends and each go to one section…there are also great online discounts and will be also on monday…i think monday is supposed to be the ‘black friday’ of online shopping…i am personally not doing any shopping because i have to work…i dont do that 5 am thing anyway…no way..never have never will…i know people who absolutely love it even if they dont get what they want…its just fun for them…


November 26th, 2009
11:30 pm

We shopped online today. My mom got pjs for all five of her grandkids, 6 pairs of socks and three (or four) t-shirts for about $42. And, it’ll all be mailed right to her doorstep in a week. Gotta love the internet!

There is nothing that I (or my kids) need badly enough for me to get out in the traffic and the people to fight for a deal. Sorry. Just not me.


November 27th, 2009
2:13 am

No way is it worth it to wake up early or fight the crowds for the deals. The same, or better, deals can be found online all day tomorrow and even through Monday. Use a coupon site like to save even more.


November 27th, 2009
1:35 pm

Lori has bought EVERYTHING on her son’s Christmas list?

Seriously spoiling that kid and turning him into a brat!