Why wait for Black Friday? Deals you can get right now.

Terms like 'Black Friday' and 'Cyber Monday' are getting outmoded as retailers offer specials earlier than Thanksgiving. JoS. A. Bank, for one, has a sale that runs through Wednesday.

Scott Shaw/The Plain Dealer/AP
Tony Avitar sits in his tent outside the Best Buy store in Cuyahoga Fall, Ohio, Monday. He set up the tent for Black Friday sales last Thursday to snag the early deals at the store. This is his ninth year camping out.

It's official: With Black Friday just around the corner, retailers are falling over themselves to attract your attention – and to distract you from things like work, family, and football.

The consumerist frenzy known as the holiday shopping season is already in full swing.

But for US shoppers, the bargain-hunt map is a bit fuzzy. Do the best opportunities lie in wait at stores this Friday, or online? More to the point, do the terms "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" mean much anymore?

Those labels, while they still carry some meaning, are no longer to be taken too literally. Yes, there'll be some very reduced price tags awaiting early-morning shoppers on Friday. And yes, lots of consumers will use their work computers for some personal shopping Monday, even as they're getting back to their day jobs.

But the blurring lines of these concepts is also more apparent than ever this year. Talk of "Black Thursday" and "Cyber Weekend" hints at the fading of sharp distinctions. Big-name stores like Wal-Mart are pushing to lure customers on Thanksgiving night, and many have sales running early in the week.

Often, the bargain you can find in a store will be matched online, with free shipping to boot.

Technology adds to the mix: Smart-phone apps allow consumers to quickly compare in-store and online prices.

“In-store sales at major retailers this week will be significantly influenced by mobile applications,” marketing expert Kenneth Wisnefski said in a statement released this week by the company he founded, WebiMax.

The mobile apps, by the way, include Amazon’s Price Check, which allows you to scan a bar code in a store and then view prices for the same product online, or to read online product reviews before buying.

Bottom line: By all means, go out and shop on Friday if you want, but don't neglect the opportunities that may be at your fingertips or in stores from now forward.

Some examples:

• Menswear purveyor JoS. A. Bank has a "3 days only!" sale that runs through Wednesday, with 60 percent off suits, sport coats, and outerwear, and "40 percent off everything else online."

• Similarly, electronics retailer Newegg has a "Pre-Black Friday Frenzy." The online store offers price matching, and it pledges that you'll be shopping "at prices that won't drop lower on Black Friday." How's that for an eager sales pitch?

Sam's Club held a two-hour "Exclusive VIP Member Event" Sunday, for Business and Business Plus members, according to BFAds.net, a tracker of Black Friday deals.

• If you want a pair of black sunglasses (or another color) before Friday, the Oakley Vault has offered up to 65 percent off in its Pre-Black Friday Sale, according to the website Dealnews.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Why wait for Black Friday? Deals you can get right now.
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today