Black Friday tips: How to snag door-buster deals

At least half of all Americans have started their holiday shopping already. The big retailers have taken notice, with some opening their doors Thursday night to kick off Black Friday deals. NBC's Janet Shamlian reports.

Is Black Friday the best day to shop for bargains? It is for some items, but not everything. If you do your homework, you can save a bundle. 

LIVE CHAT: Get Black Friday tips from a pro! Chat with Herb Weisbaum today at 12:30 p.m. ET

“Some of the deals are shockingly good,” said Edgar Dworsky, founder of, who’s been analyzing Black Friday deals since 2004. 

A few examples of some unbeatable Black Friday savings: 

  • A Vizio 60” LED Smart TV on sale at Wal-Mart for $688, about $300 less than you can buy it anywhere else.
  • The top-rated Samsung Galaxy SIII smartphone is less than a dollar ($0.96) at Sam’s Club, $200 off the regular price. 
  • A 13-piece hard anodized cookware set at JC Penney for $100, that’s half price. 

But Dworsky cautions that only a few of the items advertised in the Black Friday circulars are what would be considered true door busters. And in many cases, those are limited to just a few per store. 

“Sears, for example, now has hundreds of door busters. Believe me, they’re not all great deals,” Dworsky told me. “But if you’re careful and you compare prices ahead of time, you’ll be able to recognize which are the bona fide door busters where you’re saving 50 percent.” 

Who has the best deals? Jon Vincent at picks Wal-Mart, Kohl’s and Best Buy. He calls the Black Friday ads for Target a disappointment. Dworsky agrees. 

“In the past, Target has been very good,” he said. “This year Target is not so good, except for an Xbox 360 with Kinect for $199.” 

How to snag the deals you want 
You need a plan to be a successful Black Friday shopper. Consumer World put together a list of tips to bag a bargain on Black Friday.

Here’s how to start:

What about something you want that’s not on sale Black Friday? 

“We recommend waiting until Cyber Monday because sometimes there will be a coupon you can use online,” said Vincent at “If not, just check the weekly circulars and see if the item is put on sale before Christmas.”

Herb Weisbaum is The ConsumerMan. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter or visit The ConsumerMan website.

From Florida to California, Black Friday fever has taken hold earlier than ever as dedicated shoppers camp out in front of major retailers, several of which are expected to open their doors on Thanksgiving Day. NBC's Diana Alvear reports.

Discuss this post

How many Vizios and X-Box's will they have at that price?

  • 2 votes
Reply#1 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:51 AM EST

Sam's Club says they have 10 TVs at that price.

  • 1 vote
#1.1 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:14 AM EST

I went shopping on Black Friday once. I got the computer. Now, decades after the computer is obsolete, I can't even remember how much I paid or saved on it. It sits in the closet waiting to be recycled. I stay home with my family on Black Friday.

  • 6 votes
Reply#2 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:06 AM EST

Good for you! I don't care how good the deals are; you couldn't pay me a million dollars to go shopping on Black Friday.

    #2.1 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:22 AM EST

    A Galaxy SIII for how much? You kind of glossed over that one. Need more info.

      Reply#3 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:36 AM EST

      The info you seek have to sign a two year contract..and that contract has to be signed in the store when you buy it..Think its Sams club.

      Then you get it for 96 cent!

      • 2 votes
      #3.1 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:20 PM EST

      Where I work, it's $99.99 with a new contract or upgrade (still 100 bucks off)

      and the S2 is 49.99 with a new contract and free with an upgrade.

      then we have to push attachments, service plans, cases, chargers, screen protectors and batteries...DEAR GOD how much corporate wants us to push batteries!

        #3.2 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:42 AM EST

        Don't forget PriceBlink (recently featured in Parade Magazine) -- add it to your browser and when you're shopping it will automatically search 5,000 stores for lower prices on the product you're viewing. Get it free at

          Reply#4 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:30 AM EST

          Great idea, adding spyware to my computer to collect my keystrokes.

            #4.1 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:26 PM EST

            Reason you see some really great deals is because..the stores have limited stock on them..example: that 60 inch TV..some Walmarts don't even carry that size and others have about ten in stock ( have to be in front of the line to get one at the low price). Always do a search on the store where your going to shop for a item..and see if its available ( I notice my Walmart store states- they don't carry it the 60 inch TV at all).

            The stores aren't dummies..they price a few items very low and have only a few in stock..since a sale item they don't give out rain checks for it..its just a way to get people into the stores!!!

            Have a happy holiday folks.

              Reply#5 - Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:37 PM EST

              All of the Walmart stores will be carrying that product for Black Friday if they advertise it. All of them. They may not normally carry it but if it's an advertised deal for that day, they will have them. I couldn't tell you how many but it's usually a minimum of 5 or 10 per store.

                #5.1 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:16 AM EST

                ^ Exactly

                Why bother going for such a great deal if you HAVE to be 5th to 10th in line to buy the damn thing?

                The store I work at is required to only have a minimum of two, yes, two of each items in the sales paper. We also happen to be right next to a Walmart. So the people are going to flood over looking for the semi same deal on a product that we either don't carry, or ran out of an hour before they got there.

                Much easier just to stay home on Black friday and wait for cyber Monday.

                • 1 vote
                #5.2 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:42 PM EST

                Are you can just not shop at all. There is nothing that is on sale on Friday (or any other day) that your really need. The only thing Black Friday does is put you more in debt. If you want to get out of debt, stop digging the hole deeper. Spend some time with friends and family, you'll be surprised at how much more you'll enjoy the holidays.

                • 5 votes
                Reply#6 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:16 AM EST

                that depends. I promised someone who did me a huge favor that I would replace his computer as payment. Yeah for me saving the $100 on the one I have picked out that's on sale is worth it. But after I get the one Item, I'm going directly home.

                  #6.1 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:54 AM EST

                  tbh, the Packard Bell they sell at Wal-Mart and the like isn't all that great. I'd rather go online, buy the parts, and build the computer myself. Sites like pricewatch. com and the like can result in better savings, and no sales tax (depending on the state you live in), and if one can build their own desktops, it can be a lot better then, well...

                  But and this said, there is absolutely no sale, no deal, no anything, that is worth the personal hassel and headaches of having to deal with pushy obnoxious individuals (like those last year who pushed elderly people out of the way for a TV set then bragged about it), smelling the odor of people who would have stood in line for 2 weeks without bathing or stepping out of line to go to the bathroom, and all the other hubub. The retailers mise well throw a steak into the modern day equivalent to the Roman's arena, put a bunch of homeless people in there, and watch them all fight over who gets to eat. Not interested in dealing with that. And certainly not on the idea of a bargain they're trying to get people up on a frenzy over, so they can milk over and rape the finances of the country even as the demand side of the economy is further destroyed by the sort of wages Wal-Mart divys out while doing all of this...

                  • 2 votes
                  #6.2 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:55 AM EST

                  Hey Bobmck , Samsung Galaxy S III at Sam's club for $.01. That one is new to me, everyone else has it for $49.99. I have been reading in March 2013 the Galaxy 4 will be out. The past two months the price has dropped to $149.99 and Best Buy has been selling it for $99.99 every weekend. Sounds like there trying to move them. I would wait four months, of course it will be $200 for the new model.

                    Reply#7 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:50 AM EST

                    Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!

                      Reply#8 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:28 AM EST

                      My shopping is all done, all on the internet. No mess, no fuss.

                      • 1 vote
                      Reply#9 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:02 AM EST

                      everyone should be concerned with not just shopping but what kind of food we have in our super markets ; we need to stop selling it for consumption by people or animals; check this out you be amazed what GMO is

                        Reply#10 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:47 AM EST

                        Maybe get a job instead of lining up for days to save $50?

                        • 2 votes
                        Reply#11 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:54 AM EST

                        Not worth the trouble to me. Better to wait than fight the crowds. It's unfair to employees to begin it on Thanksgiving.

                        • 3 votes
                        Reply#13 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:39 AM EST

                        Retailers have ruined the fun of Black Friday. Thursday night...really.... I will stay home and enjoy food/family/football and do all my shopping at my leisure. Saving $50 is not worth skipping Thanksgiving.

                        • 4 votes
                        Reply#14 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:56 AM EST

                        More like, black friday has ruined the fun of Thanksgiving, and helped to turn the holidays into a real trial, aka test of one's patience and wits. Who in their right mind, would want to head out to head out and deal with the agravation of this all, rather then sit down and have a decent meal, on what was an actual holiday for far longer then these retailers were around to create this artificial one?

                        • 3 votes
                        #14.1 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:00 AM EST

                        It could be most people do not care about the stores and their national press generated faux excitement of Seasonal spending for the Winter Solstice. In this tuff economy, that has been going since August 2008, almost everyday of the year has been a gift for many people who take care of older children or help relatives. Why do you need a HD TV when you already have three? Why do you need this stuff they are hawking? Stay home and watch football or sports in between the car commercials.

                        • 4 votes
                        Reply#15 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:44 AM EST

                        In our city, people started CAMPING out at the stores to get the best deals. Of course it would be nice not to have a job and be able to afford these expensive things. WELFARE IS TOO O O GENEROUS in this country.

                          #15.1 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:30 AM EST

                          better to just stay home then to spend money, that you WILL need later, on yet more electronic toys that you dont really need in the first place.

                          • 2 votes
                          Reply#16 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:15 AM EST

                          I guess MSN does not want conversation on the Hostess Twinkie closing. Give it up to the unions to obstruct negotiations, rather have everyone lose their jobs! Maybe the Obamas are behind this, after all they consider them as "bad for your health. More gov't intervention into your life.

                            Reply#17 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:18 AM EST

                            Did you know Hostess is handing out massive bonuses to executives as a reward for closing the company?

                            • 1 vote
                            #17.1 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:25 PM EST

                            Black Friday = idiots chasing a false economy.

                            • 2 votes
                            Reply#18 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:19 AM EST

                            I believe they started this "Black Friday" after 9/11 to stir the economy. Companies always had sales before black friday, but without all fanfare from the media. Now they are opening on Thanksgiving......destroying another holiday for America. The liberals are chipping away at all morales and patriotic ideas in this country.

                              Reply#19 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:26 AM EST

                              I'll be working on Black Friday at Sears. The stores open at 8:00pm and yes, there are great deals to be had. Not saying that because I work there, it really is true. There will be a ton of deals on small items and large electronics.

                                Reply#20 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:33 AM EST

                                It is hard to pick something when you have two of everything already.

                                Back in the 1980's when I first started working in sales, selling to chain store warehouse buyer's, several had signs up saying what good is 6 free with 6 when you have 24 in the warehouse?

                                  #20.1 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:01 AM EST

                                  I might buy some things if I can do it online.

                                  But waiting outside a store in the dark, no.

                                  • 2 votes
                                  Reply#22 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:11 AM EST
                                  Comment author avatarRich Gustafsonvia Facebook

                                  You can also get discount coupons for many online retailers.
                                  I use Coupon Corner

                                    Reply#23 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:13 AM EST

                                    People started camping out at the Best Buy here last weekend. Silly. Oh, and just because people are camping out doesn't mean they don't have jobs. A lot of them took time off work for this, or already have the time off because of the holiday. So many hateful people spewing forth garbage. If you don't like black friday then fine, dont participate. I personally choose to abstain as material goods are never worth that kind of stress. No matter what great deals you think you may be getting. :) I hope everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving if they choose to celebrate it!

                                    • 1 vote
                                    Reply#24 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:54 PM EST

                                    Sorry! I don't plan on "Busting any doors!!" Never have, never will. Have never felt that desperate for a "Bargain"!

                                      Reply#25 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:31 PM EST

                                      The best way to get a door buster at the company thats selling it, put one of the items at the corner of the warehouse where nobody can see it, and have a "friend" ready to pick it up for checkout. Then pay him a small fee.

                                        Reply#26 - Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:22 PM EST
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