Black Friday 2009

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10 Fascinating Facts about Black Friday

Like it or not, it's coming soon. Black Friday is only days away, and the 2009 edition of Busiest Shopping Day of the Year will boast s

ome impressive bargains. Here are ten things you should know:

Netbook and laptop deals are hot. Leaked Black Friday ads show impressive door-buster bargains from big box retailers. Examples from BlackFriday.info include:

  • $400 Toshiba 16-inch laptop (Intel Core 2 Duo chip, 3GB RAM, 250GB hard drive) from Best Buy
  • $250 Acer 11.6-inch netbook (Intel Atom Z520, 2GB RAM, 250GB hard drive) from Radio Shack
  • $380 Acer Aspire 15.6-inch laptop (AMD Athlon X2 Dual-Core L310, 4GB RAM, 320GB hard drive from Office Depot

Of course, stores will have limited quantities of these loss leaders. Are you an early bird?

Wal-Mart will stay open 24 hours. The deals may start at 5 a.m., but the world's biggest retailer will open hours before that. After last year's tragic trampling death of a Wal-Mart employee in Long Island, New York, the world's biggest retailer will open very early to ease crowds.

The bad economy may lure more shoppers. Unemployment rates are the highest they've been in nearly three decades, and retailers are worried that consumers will be frugal for the holidays. As a result, there may be more competition for those $299 laptops and $99 Blu-ray players on Black Friday.

$3 appliances at Target. What costs less than that venti mocha you're drinking outside Target at 4 a.m.? How about a new coffeemaker? Target is practically giving away some Chefmate appliances, including toasters, and coffee and sandwich makers. Somewhere, George Foreman is crying.

Social networks for screaming buys. Why scour newspaper flyers and discount sites for the hottest deals? Many major retailers now use social media sites to trumpet their doorbusters. Staples, for instance, is using Facebook and Twitter to get the word out.

HDTVs have gotten really cheap. It's no secret that tech gear always gets less expensive and more powerful, but high-def TVs are looking particularly economical this season. Examples from Black Friday Ads include a $663 Sony 40-inch LCD 1080p HDTV from Best Buy; and a $590 Toshiba 40-in 1080p LCD set from Sears. (Caveat: These aren't the latest models. The Sony set, for instance, has a 60Hz refresh rate, which isn't the best for sports and other fast action. Newer models have 120Hz and 240Hz refresh rates.)

Yes, the desktop really is dead. You'll find a smattering of deals on desktop PCs, but the real action is with netbooks and laptops. Come to think of it, desktops have been collecting dust on store shelves for some time now.

There's an app for that. Thanks to shopping site dealnews, iPhone users can download a free app to browse Black Friday ads from top retailers. And once Black Friday ends, the dealnews app will list Cyber Monday sales too.

Even Macs are on sale. Apple typically doesn't duke it out with the Windows PC boys in the bargain basement. But that doesn't mean that Mac fans won't find deals. Best Buy will give a $150 gift card to shoppers who buy a $1000 MacBook (13.3-inch display).   MacMall and other retailers have Apple deals too.

Black Friday has already begun. It started in early November, in fact, as JCPenney, Sears, Target, and Wal-Mart all kicked off Black Friday-style specials, both online and in their brick-and-mortar stores. Indeed, Black Friday is no longer a single day of discounts, but rather a month-long extravaganza of consumerist frenzy.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci via Twitter (@jbertolucci) or at jbertolucci.blogspot.com.

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