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Shopping tips for a safe, successful Black Friday

FILE (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Even with many stores keeping doors closed last year, the day after Thanksgiving remains a massive day for retail chains, small stores and online shopping across the U.S.

With additional considerations of a global pandemic that has killed more than 775,000 U.S. residents so far, shopping in 2021 can be a little tricky. With many retails locations closed a year ago, a vaccine has given shoppers an option to protect themselves that wasn’t available last year, as in-person options are largely available.

The Better Business Bureau has a list of tips for those planning to shop in person on Black Friday.Stay Safe. Follow CDC guidelines for healthy and safe in-store shopping.

  • Stay Safe. Follow CDC guidelines for healthy and safe in-store shopping.
  • Research deals. Start with a list of items and use sale flyers and promotions to determine which store has the best price. Set a budget and stick with it.
  • Read the fine print. Some retailers may offer an additional discount, but could exclude certain deals or “doorbuster” items. Watch for companies boasting high percentages off; the item may be marked at 75% off, but the original price could be inflated. Carefully check the price tags, small text, and exclusions.
  • Plan your route. Retailers often will release Black Friday flyers weeks ahead of time, so consumers can plan out their shopping spree. Make a map of the stores to visit and what items are at which store. Some retailers only honor sale ads during a certain time frame, or on certain days, and could limit the amount of deeply discounted items available for purchase—affecting the time you should plan to arrive.
  • Read product & retailer reviews. If a deal seems too good to be true, it may well be. Avoid getting scammed by using reputable sites like BBB.org to look into what other customers have experienced. While the cheapest TV might seem like a great deal, its product reviews might indicate it’s not worth it at any price.
  • Know the return policy and warranty information. Pass along any information about returns, exchanges, repairs, and warranties to the person you’re gifting the item to. Gift receipts are an easy way for recipients to return or exchange a gift, but make sure the item is able to be returned before purchasing.
  • Don’t succumb to holiday pressure. Black Friday is notoriously a high-pressure shopping situation, but that can make you more vulnerable to scams, overspending, and purchasing low-quality products. Keep a cool head and remember it’s better to miss a deal than lose your money!
  • Include small, locally owned businesses. Often touted are the misfortunes of Black Friday shopping, but in-person visits can help boost local shops that may not have a large online presence. Even if it isn’t the best deal available, consider stopping by small businesses and don’t focus all your attention on the major retailers.

“Changes such as shipping delays, continued pandemic concerns, hiring challenges and microchip shortages are impacting how people shop this year,” Jane Rupp, President and CEO of Better Business Bureau said. “That makes it even more important to ensure consumers are educated on making the best purchase decisions they can.”

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