Tag Archives: Toys R Us

Survival guide to Black Friday week

Black Friday shoppers rush into Best Buy 2010

The much anticipated Thanksgiving week has arrived. Get the aspirin ready if you’re travelling or planning to shop. Put the scale away and get the beer ready if you’re planning to be lazy and watch some football and eat. Don’t expect the hype over the shopping season to end next week. There’s a lot at stake this year for retailers, so  there will be sales throughout the season.

While we typically think of Black Friday as the shopping day after Thanksgiving, the unofficial holiday is getting redefined. Call the new shopping deals on Thursday whatever you want — Gray Thursday, Black Friday Creep, or Black Thursday.  No matter what you call all these deals, here’s a shopping survival guide:

1. Black Friday is really a week or month-long tradition
Much of the focus is on the Thanksgiving Day sales, but really they start Monday. Many retailers will tempt you with deals leading up to Black Friday aka Thanksgiving, so be on the lookout.

2. Don’t just line up – log in
Just as many amazing deals will be offered online as in the store. If you’re like me and hate the crowds and lines, just log into your computer. Start on Monday and keep looking. The deals online will last throughout the season, but they’ll be big especially this next week culminating with Cyber Monday a week from today.  Don’t forget to check Thanksgiving morning. That’s when many dealhounds grab their discounts.

If you shop online, log into Ebates first so you can earn cash while shopping. Click here to read more about earning money while you shop

3. Expect surprises at Walmart
Protests are planned at more than 1,000 Walmart stores. While it doesn’t appear any are planned in Cleveland at this time, that could change. There is one planned in Cincinnati.

Even if there’s not an organized protest, there may be chaos in the aisles. That’s another tactic being used by some protesters.

I don’t expect massive disruptions across the board, but the protests seem to be gaining momentum so I think there will be some disruption to service at some stores. I don’t think you need to rearrange your shopping plans because of this, but just expect a surprise or two at Walmart. Who knows what’s going to happen.

4. Skip Gray Thursday shopping and shop early Friday morning
I think the turnout for Gray Thursday shopping will be bigger than ever. It’s much easier for customers to shop at 8 PM rather than 4 AM. With the Thanksgiving night shopping, nobody is fighting the alarm clock. People typically relax and eat on Thanksgiving, so by 8 PM people will want to do something and get away from the relatives. I expect big lines on Turkey night and people will shop til they drop.

By 2 or 3 AM, I think the shopping will taper off as people get tired and go home to sleep having spent thousands of dollars already. I think the best time to shop will be between 3 AM and 10 AM. If you don’t want to get up in the middle of the night, hit the stores at 7 AM. That’s a reasonable hour. You’ll have at least three hours to yourself to put a dent in your shopping.

Of course, if you wait you miss out on the doorbusters. Some stores are not even opening until 5 or 6 AM on Black Friday so you may still cash in on deals depending on what you are looking for this holiday.

5. Avoid Best Buy and Walmart if you don’t like lines
A sleeper in all of this holiday mayhem may be Target. The store opens an hour after Toys “R” Us and Walmart which may keep the lines short. Typically, I don’t see people lining up at this store. I think that will be the same this year because shopping begins an hour earlier at other retailers. People will be waiting in line or grabbing their deals at Walmart and Toys “R” Us when Target opens meaning it could provide a stress free shopping experience for you.

Holiday shopping procrastinators may save more on toys

Courtesy: Toys “R” Us

When to buy your holiday gifts? We have one friend who is done with her Christmas shopping. Others will start and finish it on Black Friday. Could it pay off to push back your shopping? Dealnews analyzed the top toys from last year and their sale prices. The site found procrastination may pay off.

This weekend, the holiday marketing begins. The Great Big Toys “R” Us Book will be released this weekend offering savings from October 28 through November 21st. The book showcases 1,100 playthings, and Toys “R” Us advertises more than $8,000 in savings. So, should you buy now?

The deal site went through records from last year, looking at when the top toys went on sale, to predict buying trends for this year. The big takeaway – forget toy shopping before or on Black Friday. To get the best price, wait until the last minute.

Last year, dealnews said toys hit their lowest prices during the two weeks leading up to Christmas. Air Swimmers dropped 50% in price, Lalaloopsy Silly Hiar dropped 63%, and Let’s Rock Elmo fell 57%.

Waiting may help you save, or it may be the reason you lose out. Inventory dwindles the closer you get to the holiday. Sometimes hot toys simply don’t last.

I’ll never forget the stories my parents told me about the Cabbage Patch Kid I wanted decades ago. They had to go to the back door of Toys “R” Us with a brown bag to get the doll. The brown bag was so they wouldn’t get robbed. We’ve seen this craziness a few times since then on other hot toys. A lot of people question whether the shortage is on purpose, to drive up promotion of the hot toy. There doesn’t seem to be that type of hype or shortage for a product this year, but inventory could still drop the longer you wait. Click here for the Top 15 hottest toys by Toys R Us.

Dealnews wrote, “Deal-hunting is not for the weak! To get the best deals, you’re going to have to sweat a little! This is the price we all pay for getting lowest-ever prices!”

If you don’t want to sweat it, December is usually a safe time to buy your toys for a reasonable price. Wait until mid-December and you may just snag an amazing deal.

Some items, though, simply won’t drop. Dealnews said the LeapFrog LeapPad stayed at $100 all season last year.

So, ignore the sales pitches you’ll hear in the weeks leading up to Black Friday, and on Black Friday. December will be here in about a month. If you wait, you may cash in on savings.

Ho ho ho instead of trick or treat? Stores want you to start your holiday shopping

Black Friday shoppers rush into Best Buy 2010

The holiday shopping season doesn’t officially kick off for two more months, but it’s already starting for retailers. Christmas items are appearing in stores, and we’re learning the different strategies to get customers in the door.

Toys”R”Us says it will offer exclusive merchandise like Moshi Monsters and The Trash Pack. The toy store will introduce its first-ever catalog featuring merchandise only sold at Toys”R”Us. It will be 44 pages long with 350 items in it.

Target launched Cyber Monday sales in September.

While it’s typical for stores to put the Christmas decorations up before the ghosts and goblins are stored away or even bought, Northeast Ohio sees decorations before other parts of the country.

For a NewsChannel 5 story, Strongsville Home Depot employee Tim Baker said, “All marketing research and any of the statistics from sales, etc. are going to show you where the populations are that buy. We’re in a very good market. We respond to it.”

I expect the real Black Friday ads will start leaking by the end of October. Whether you like it or not, the holidays are around the corner and stores are willing to do anything to get you to buy.

Make sure you look beyond the marketing hype, and make sure you’re truly getting a good deal. Compare prices on sites like PriceGrabber to see if a deal is as good as it sounds.