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Tech expert Mark Tebbe on how to maximize your Black Friday

Mark Tebbe

Mark Tebbe

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Updated: December 17, 2013 3:28PM

Tomorrow is the day commonly known as “Black Friday,” a term originally coined nearly 50 years ago by the Philadelphia Police Dept. to describe the official opening of the Christmas shopping season, which brought massive traffic jams as well as overcrowded sidewalks to the city’s downtown stores. And because of this year’s late Thanksgiving and particularly hopeful retailers, it’s a chance for you to get some great technology buys for the holidays.

This year, we have the shortest shopping season in more than a decade: just 26 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which is six days less than last year. Making matters worse for retail stores is the reality that there are only four shopping weekends this year (versus five last year). As such, retailers are getting very aggressive with their offerings to entice shoppers. As many attentive consumers already know, stores start opening today to steal an extra shopping day back from the calendar. And to convince shoppers to skip out on family turkey day this year (doors open at 7 p.m.), they’re offering some amazing “door-buster deals.” Here are some that
I recommend taking advantage of:

† The usual tech-lover draws such as TVs, game consoles and home electronics. There will be significant price drops in TV components, meaning now may be a good time to upgrade your TV. I’ve seen some ads showing 50-inch LED HDTVs for only $229 (Target’s Element TV) and 60-inch HDTVs for $688 (Walmart’s Visio TV), which is literally hundreds of dollars less than what these products were selling for five months ago. iPhone 5Cs for $45 ($54 off the original price) also will be a big in-store draw at Walmart.

† This year, online retailers are timing their Black Friday sales to coincide with the ending of the physical stores’ door-buster ending times, normally around 10 a.m. Given the recent launch of both the PS4 and the Xbox One, we’ll likely see some teasers on both consoles. But I’m expecting several retailers to combine last year’s game consoles, the PS3 and Xbox360, with some extra items — such as a few games or an extra controller bundle — to attract shoppers to the store and to leverage historical games to entertain new gamers.

† It’s likely that stores also will offer amazing deals on easy-to-ship items such as kitchen accessories, tech gadgets, kids’ toys and cameras. You’ll be able to pick up a $1,599 Nikon D7000 camera kit for $799 at Best Buy, or a Google-certified 8-inch tablet for $79 (from $199) at Kohl’s.

So feel free to leverage this retailer-challenging calendar fluke to update your technology needs. But don’t spend it all tomorrow — Cyber Monday promoters promise to have some great deals to ensure that it remains the top sales day of the year.

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