The only reason you shouldn’t buy electronics on Black Friday

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

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You might find yourself deeply disappointed if you do.

Key points

  • It’s common to see discounted electronics on Black Friday.
  • The items you see for sale may not be the items you think they are.
  • You may be getting a lower-quality model of that TV or other electronic device, made for Black Friday sales.

There’s a reason so many consumers save their money and bank their entire credit card for Black Friday. This is when retailers tend to land the biggest deals of the year, from toys and clothing to housewares and appliances. And so many consumers are waiting to make their personal and vacation purchases until then.

It’s also common to see a range of electronics heavily discounted on Black Friday. You can sell items like laptops, TVs, and gaming systems for much less than they normally sell for. But while consumers often wait until Black Friday to stock up on electronics, you might want to buy yours at another time of year for a big reason.

Are you receiving the item you expect to get?

If you see a popular children’s toy that normally sells for $30 on sale for $20 during Black Friday, you’re not taking a very big risk buying it. Chances are this toy is the same release you’d see outside of Black Friday.

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

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

When you see a TV, for example, that normally sells for $1,200 on sale for $800 during Black Friday, chances are you’re not getting the standard model, but rather a theoretically comparable derivative model. , but made with inferior components that are more likely to break down over time. In fact, retailers usually have electronics specially made for Black Friday sales. These items may be of lower quality and not worth your money.

How can you tell? There is an easy way: look at the model or serial number.

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

Don’t fall into a common trap

Retailers are not there to intentionally lose money. Of course, some retailers do Deep discounts on a number of limited quantity items to entice customers on Black Friday. But if any given retailer took a hit of $400 or $500 off every high-end TV or laptop it sells on Black Friday, that wouldn’t be a very good deal.

But rest assured, retailers are not taking this hit. Instead, they pay less for lesser quality electronics and charge a price that still benefits them financially. And it is in your interest not to fall victim to this trap.

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

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