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Don’t be a jive turkey on Black Friday

Landan Garcia, Copy Desk Chief - November 14, 2012

Black Friday is coming to the big screen. Or maybe it’s the other way around.
Since 2005, Black Friday has held the official title of “busiest shopping day of the year.” It falls on the day after Thanksgiving, and serves as the official transition between Turkey Day and Christmas, and embodies the best and worst of capitalism as we know it.

Bag people, scary hobos and tightwad businessmen alike join together and burn the midnight oil to get the best deals of the year from retailers as soon as they open their doors. At most stores, this occurs at about 4 a.m.

While not an official holiday, many employers give their employees the day off in order to make purchases. The actual origin of Black Friday’s name is shrouded in mystery—some sources claim it refers to an increase in traffic during the holidays, while others say it refers to retailers “recording their losses in red ink and gains in black.”

Much like the name of the holiday, many name brands of the televisions on sale are shrouded in mystery as well. Should you buy that 46-inch television of a questionable brand for only $300? More importantly, should you trample the 12-year-old next to you for it?

Black Friday veterans will be quick to tell you that an HD television is the one item you particularly want to pick up during this sales period. This shopping holiday offers the lowest prices of the year on new TVs, with the second best time being during Super Bowl season.

Many retailers use televisions as part of a “loss leader” strategy to bring customers in, hoping they’ll embrace the “spend more to save more” mindset and purchase other items as well.

Most college students place a great deal of importance on their TV. It is the center of their dorm experience, an escape from snowy cow pasture scenery and blustery spring days.

It is a well-known fact that you tend to get what you pay for. Some manufacturers, such as Honeywell, have faced bankruptcy scares in the past. Other lesser-known brands have been notorious for not offering product replacements, so if something happens, you may end up pooling your ramen money for a reliable brand down the road. Do your research.
One other thing to research is the hertz and pixel rating of the television.

If you’re all about BluRay, you’ll probably want to spend the extra money on a 1080p instead of settling for the 720p. Hertz, abbreviated hz, can benefit the motion response time for LCD TVs. Most discount LCD televisions only feature a 60hz refresh rate, which might be a factor if you’re all about sports games.

While numbers matter, picture quality ultimately comes down to preference. Visit an electronics store beforehand, making a mental note of television brands and specs.

Ads typically come out and can be found in the mail on Thanksgiving, but many great deals can already be researched online. If you’re the kind of person who gets excited enough to attend a midnight showing of Harry Potter, then Black Friday is probably for you.

One winning strategy is to send groups of friends to wait in line at different stores, then use cell phones as walkie-talkies to share details about the most heavily discounted technology. Be wary that some stores charge 10-15 percent restocking fees for tech products, so only buy what you need.

Be sure to dress warm, too. It is winter, after all.

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