Friday, November 16, 2012

Black Friday, tips to find the deals

The Holiday Season is approaching rapidly, which means that many of us are getting ready to do some serious shopping. Whether you're a Black Friday veteran or novice, Carnegie-Stout has tips and tools to help you plan your attack, but, fair warning, the library will be closed on Thanksgiving and the 23rd so our staff can enjoy the holiday with family.
Never fear though! The number one tip to prepare for Black Friday is to plan ahead (number three: fanny packs, warning! link contains swears). You want to have a shopping list, know where the best bargains are, and when the stores open.

While I've always been a fan of sorting through all the ads in the Thursday paper after stuffing myself with turkey, the internet means that you could've started your planning last week. Luckily this also means you don't have to go from store website to store website, but can find all the Black Friday ads in one place. You still might need to visit the store's pages to verify the local opening hours, but at least you can check if there any deals worth showing up at six a.m. first.

Websites that collect Black Friday Advertisements:

Websites that compare prices at various retailers:

But maybe you're on the hunt for some particular item, rather than just looking for the best door busters. Wading through dozens of circulars to find which stores have the sales you need, even electronically, can be a headache. If you know exactly what you want, a site that compares prices can be useful, but best bargain doesn't always mean best. First you'll want to compare televisions or blenders or leaf blowers to find which brands and models will do what you need them to.

This is when you should check Consumer Reports (they also have price comparisons). You might be familiar with Consumer Reports from their annual buying guide or their monthly publications, and both are available at Carnegie-Stout. But did you know that Carnegie-Stout also has access to Consumer Reports' online site?

You can find Consumer Reports in our list of Library Research Databases by clicking here. If you are at home you will be asked to enter your library barcode and PIN, but everyone can search their Buying Guides and Recommendations from a computer inside the library. You can even print off your findings for ten cents a page (black & white).

If you're not able to access Consumer Reports from home, and Carnegie-Stout isn't open, you can still read some of their advice at You can also turn to the product reviews on personal blogs, websites like Amazon (although these are not always trustworthy), or from a trusted friend or neighbor. Alternatively, you can take a look at the product reviews offered by:
Good Housekeeping (we have the magazine to flip through too)
CNET (technology and electronics)

And because librarians are most often asked to help select and operate eReaders, the first place you should check is OverDrive's list of compatible devices. This will tell you if your new eReader will play nicely with our eBooks. And if you're the lucky recipient of a shiny new eReader this holiday season, we'll be here to help you learn how to check out and download those eBooks.

Reviews and comparisons of eReaders:
Consumer Reports (you may need to go through the library's website to see all information)
Good Housekeeping

And if all this is too much for you, remember, you can always stay home and celebrate Buy Nothing Day instead.

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