Where can I get Black Friday deals? - Your questions answered
Get ready! Black Friday could be your big chance to slash the cost of the Christmas shopping list, writes Louise McBride
Tomorrow is set to be one of the busiest - and most chaotic - shopping days of the year.
On November 27 - Black Friday - many retailers will cut the prices of their stock to kick-start the Christmas shopping season.
The shopping frenzy that ensues has often led to brawls in the middle of stores. Tug-of-wars over cut-price TV's broke out in a Northern Ireland supermarket last year. Riots broke out in some British stores as customers battled for bargains. In the US a couple of years ago, police pepper-sprayed a man who was fighting with another shopper over a television.
On top of this, the websites of a number of major retailers crashed last year because they couldn't cope with the numbers shopping online.
Black Friday first started in the US in the mid-2000s and has since spread to Ireland and Britain. It marks the beginning of four days of shopping bargains because it has morphed into a shopping weekend and is also followed by Cyber Monday - when new internet-only deals are often offered.
"Two years ago, Black Friday wasn't that big at all in Ireland," said David Fitzsimons, of the retail lobby group, Retail Excellence Ireland. "Last year, it took us all by surprise. There was a huge increase in footfall in stores. It's a multi-billion euro weekend for Irish retailers."
Some shops are even running sales before Black Friday kicks off. "We are starting our Black Friday sale at 10am on Monday, November 23 - rather than waiting until the Friday," said a spokeswoman for Harvey Norman.
Amazon has already started its countdown to Black Friday by offering more deals as the day draws closer. HMV is also offering pre-Black Friday bargains. Earlier this month, Argos launched 'Red, White and Blue' Fridays in the run-up to Black Friday. Under this promotion, shoppers have been able to get money off laptops, TVs and tablets.
Where can I get Black Friday deals?
Most of the big supermarkets and department, furniture and electronic stores offer Black Friday promotions. So too do online retailers such as Amazon. A number of airlines, hotels and travel agents have even offered deals to coincide with the day.
Some of the Irish stores taking part include Brown Thomas, BT2, Lidl, Boots, Harvey Norman, Argos, Tesco, Currys, PC World and Arnotts.
What deals will be up for grabs?
Here are some of the deals which will be available on Black Friday.
A 32-inch Samsung TV for €270, a Canon digital camera with camera case for €300, and a Toshiba laptop for €200 will be among Lidl's Black Friday offers. It's worth noting that only the laptop - a Toshiba Cloudbook - will be reduced in price. The laptop will be priced at €199.99 on Black Friday - down from €279.99.
Remember, Cloudbooks are designed to encourage you to store most of your work on the internet - so the storage capacity of the laptop itself is limited. This Toshiba Cloudbook comes with 100 gigabytes of free Cloud storage - but that storage allowance expires after two years.
The 32-inch TV is Samsung's J4100 HD Ready model. You could easily pay between €300 and €350 for that model elsewhere, so at €270, it is reasonably priced. The camera is the Canon Powershot SX530HS. You could easily pay €350 or more for that camera elsewhere, depending on the retailer.
Lidl will also have a number of deals on kitchen appliances, including the Ariete juicer, which will be priced at €19.99 - down from its normal price of €34.99; and a Silvercrest sorbet maker for €14.99 - half its normal price.
You can get 20pc off Brown Thomas's autumn-winter range of womenswear, menswear, childrenswear, shoes, accessories, lingerie, jewellery and homeware.
Brown Thomas is also offering 10pc off many electrical goods. These discounts, which are also available in BT2 stores, will run for the whole Black Friday weekend. The deals are available in store and online at www.brownthomas.com.
Some of the Black Friday deals which will be available both in-store and online with Boots include Elizabeth Arden's New York Beauty Must Have gift set, which will have its price cut from €78 to €30; while the Babyliss Curl Secret Diamond gift set will be priced at €173.30 - down from Boots' normal price of 259.99.
From tomorrow, Harvey Norman will be offering as much as 50pc off the price of bedframes and bedroom furniture; up to 40pc off leather sofas and TV's; up to 30pc off Irish-made memory foam mattresses; up to 25pc off washing machines and computers; and up to 20pc off coffee machines.
There will be a five-day sale at Tesco Mobile kicking off on Black Friday. "That sale will include a number of offers, including the Sony Xperia Z3 - which will be reduced from €129.99 to €49.99," said a spokeswoman for Tesco Mobile.
Be sure you can commit to any mobile phone plan that comes with such a deal. The plan under the Sony Xperia Z3 deal, for example, costs €30 a month and there is a two-year contract.
Travel agent Sunway is offering a number of deals on Black Friday, including a seven-night winter stay in Fuerteventura for €349 per person - down from €564 per person.
That deal, which is based on two adults sharing, includes flights, airport transfers and accommodation in two-star self-catering apartments. Sunway will also offer seven-nights in Lanzarote and Menorca in May for €379 per person sharing.
Sunway will also have deals for New York, Orlando and Las Vegas. The New York deal, priced at €665 per person and based on two adults sharing, includes flights and three nights in the Edison Hotel in late January.
Although Aldi is not taking part in Black Friday, it has a number of gadget deals running on November 26 - a day it has dubbed 'Tech Thursday'.
These deals include a 48-inch 4K Ultra HD Bauhn TV for €500 - you can expect to pay at least €1,000 for a similar TV (albeit of a different make) in other retailers.
Aldi is also offering an Android smartphone (Medion Life E4506) for €90, bluetooth headphones for €30, and a portable dvd player for €60.
Don't fall for bum deals
Just because a deal has been tagged a 'Black Friday' offer doesn't mean it is a good one. The more limited a deal is, the more likely it is to be good.
So keep an eye out for promotions where 10 or so items, such as TVs or cameras, are advertised at a knock-down price, as these are more likely to be better deals than unlimited offers.
The challenge, of course, will be to get your hands on a limited deal without queuing overnight or getting into a brawl in your local supermarket.
Even if you're interested in a Black Friday deal, check the price of the item in a couple of other stores. It is also worth finding out what the store normally charges. You could find that the item hasn't been reduced at all. You might also find that item cheaper in another store that isn't taking part in Black Friday. So shop around and don't impulse buy.
Ask yourself how good the product is that you're thinking of snapping up. A 'bargain' laptop might not be such a bargain if you don't have enough storage on the laptop to install all the applications you need, store all your files - or play certain computer games. (Some computer games can use gigabytes of storage). Buy reputable and well-known brands rather than a brand you have never heard of before.
Those heading to the websites of US retailers on Black Friday shouldn't get hoodwinked by old offers.
About one in 10 Black Friday deals in the US are rehashed from 2014, according to the US personal finance website WalletHub.
Remember, you still have the same consumer rights on Black Friday as you do at any other time of the year.
"So, if you buy an item and it turns out to be faulty, you are entitled to a repair, replacement or refund, depending on what the fault is," said a spokeswoman for the consumer watchdog, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
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