The Truth about Black Friday Sales
Last Update: 10/1/2018
The truth about Black Friday? Black Friday has morphed into Black November, and retailers - both traditional and online, begin running their Black Friday deals on November 1st. That’s right - as soon as you finally hit the bed after a fright filled night of collecting candy from your neighbors, retailers are gearing up to relieve you of your holiday shopping budgets. With dilution of the term Black Friday, the best sales are saved for the day itself.
Be sure to look at our Black Friday Ad Scans and Deals Page
Questioning Black Friday
Still, many shoppers assume every Black Friday deal is awesome; but is the listed merchandise truly a hot deal?
- Should you wake up early and battle the throngs of consumers standing in line at your favorite store?
- Are these sales really limited time deals, or can better pricing be had at other times?
To answer these questions, we dug deep into last year’s Black Friday deals to see if the deals were really as good as advertised.
- For instance, was there a deal offered later in the year that beat Black Friday’s pricing?
- Is there a reason to give into the hype?
Many retailers “recycle” Black Friday ads and do not change deal pricing on some products from year to year. While this might make sense if their inventory levels are high, consumers have come to expect deeper discounts each year on a wider variety of products new and old.
In fact, the opposite is true - a recent study found that 90% of stores had Black Friday “doorbuster” deals that existed the previous last year. The same study found retailers would often try to trick consumers on Black Friday with knockoff deals from no names, shady rebate offers, and misleading original prices. The upshot? Use a website like BuyVia to compare prices before shopping - a little homework can really pay off in the end.
Where did the Doorbuster come from?
The doorbuster is a limited time super cheap deal designed get shoppers into the store. They are often available early in the morning and sell out almost immediately. More organized stores hand out vouchers to those in line to prevent mass hysteria from occurring from when the doors open up.
Doorbusters have been around far longer Black Friday. These "loss leaders" first appeared in an ad in August 1917 for Killian's Department store, Cedar Rapids, Iowa as: "Wednesday's 8 o'clock doorbusters"
A bargain item was sold at a tiny fraction of its regular price. This brought in crowds long before the store had opened its doors. Other stores in Iowa continued this tradition throughout the 1920's.
Some Black Friday Deal examples from 2017:
Restaurant have lots of discounts, now through end of June.
Graduation season. Father's Day falls on Sunday, June 16, 2019 and they definitely deserves a break that day. Mother's Day was May 12, 2019.
- Perhaps a nice steak dinner?
- Many restaurants have new special gift card deals for this special day.
Father's Day is a day to honor Dad as well as dad's hard work and influence on families. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother's Day, held on the third Sunday in June, as a national holiday to honor dads.
Mother's Day is to honor our Moms. They work hard EVERY day and should be recognized more often. Give mom a break.
Gift Card Promotions for Mother's Day, Father's Day and Graduation:
- AppleBees has a free $10 bonus card with $50 in gift cards. Expires 6/30/19
- Bahama Breeze has $20 in bonus cards with $50 Gift Card purchase. Expires 6/30/19
- Benihana has $10 in bonus cards with $50 Gift Card purchase. Bonus card valid May 13 - June 16, 2019. Offer Expires 5/12/19
- BJ’s Restaurants - Free Pizookie with purchase of $50 in E-Gift Cards. Good for gift card purchases through June 16, 2019. The Bonus is good 6/17/19 - 7/7/19.
- Black Angus has $10 in bonus cards with $50 Gift Card purchase. Bonus card valid June 18 - August 30, 2019. Offer Expires 6/17/19
- Bonefish Grill - Get a $10 Bonus Gift Card with every $50 spend on eGift Cards. The Bonus Card is valid from May 13 to July 10, 2019. Expires 6/16/2019.
- Boston Market has a free $10 Bonus Card with $50 spent on Gift Cards
- Bravo Cucina Italiana - Get a $25 Bonus Card with the every $100 in gift cards. Good through June 16, 2019. Good only in Bravo restaurants, not online. Bonus card redeemable 6/17 to 8/31/19.
- Brio Tuscan Grille - Get a $25 Bonus Card with the purchase of $100 in gift cards. Good only in Brio restaurants, not online. Bonus card valid 6/17-8/31/19. Expires 6/16/2019
- Buffalo Wild Wings has a $10 bonus card with purchase of $40 in gift cards. Expires 6/16/2019
- Capital Grille - Get a Bonus Card of 10% of your gift card purchase of $500+.
- Caribou Coffee, has buy a $25 gift card, get a $5 bonus card now through April 23, 2019. Valid in stores or online.
- Carrabba’s Italian Grill Has buy $50 in gift cards, get $10 in Free bonus cards. Expires 6/16/19. Bonus cards valid 5/13/2019-7/19/2019
- Charlie Browns has a buy a $50 Gift card, get a $10 card. Expires 2019
- Del Frisco’s Grill - Get a $20 Bonus Card with the purchase of $100 in gift cards. Expires 6/16/19. Bonus cards valid from 6/17/2019 through September 3, 2019
- Denny's - Get a $5 Bonus Card with the purchase of $25+ in gift cards now through June 30, 2019.
- Eddie V’s - Get a Bonus Card for 10% of your gift card purchase of $500+ for 2019.
- Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar - Get a $20 Bonus Card with the every $100 in gift cards. The Bonus Card is valid from May 13- July 19, 2019. Expires 6/16/2019.
- Fogo de Chao - Get a $25 Bonus eCard for every $125 in eGift cards purchased now through June 16, 2019. Bonus card redeemable 6/17 to 8/29/19.
- IHOP - Buy a $25 gift card and get a $5 bonus card now through May 26, 2019. Gift cards purchase only available in stores.
- Logan's Roadhouse - $10 Bonus Card for every $50 in Gift Cards. Expires 6/16/2019.
- Mortons Steakhouse has a $50 bonus card with $250 Gift Card purchase Expires 6/15/2019
- O’Charley’s - Buy a $25 gift card and get a $5 bonus card. Good now through May 2, 2019 for online and in-store gift card sales.
- Olive Garden - Get a $10 Bonus Card with the purchase of $50 in gift cards. This annual special is good for gift card purchases April 10 through May 12, 2019. The Bonus Card is good June 1 – June 30, 2019.
- Outback Steakhouse - Get a $10 Bonus Card with the purchase of $50 in Gift Cards. This Bonus Card is valid from May 13 - July 19, 2019. Expires 6/16/2019.
- Panera Bread - Get a $10 Bonus Card with the purchase of $50 in Gift Cards. This Bonus Card is valid from June 1 - 30, 2019. Expires 5/31/2019
- PF Chang’s - Get a $10 Bonus Card with the purchase of $50 in gift cards now through June 19, 2019. The Bonus Card is good 6/20/19 – 7/31/19.
- Quaker Steak & Lube - Get a Mystery Bonus Card with the purchase of $50+ in gift cards through June 16, 2019. Mystery Bonus Card will be randomly selected as either $10, $15, or $20.
- Ra Sushi - Get a $10 Bonus Card with the purchase of $50 in gift cards now through May 12, 2019. Bonus Cards valid from 6/1-6/30/2019
- Red Lobster - Spend $75 on Gift Cards, Get 2 Bonus Coupons. Coupon 1 valid from 7/1/19 - 8/3/19. Coupon 2 valid from 8/4/19 - 9/7/19.
- Red Robin -Purchase $25 gift card online and get a $5 bonus card through June 17, 2019. Bonus card is valid July 1 – August 31, 2019.
- Ruby Tuesday- Free $15 Bonus Card For Every $50 in Gift Cards You Buy. Bonus Cards valid from 6/17-7/28, 2019.
- TGI Fridays has a Free $5 Bonus Bite card with every $25 in Gift Cards. Expires 6/30/19. Bonus Card valid 7/1/19-8/31/19.
- Tony Roma's has a $15 Bonus card with purchase of $50 in Gift Cards. Bonus card valid 7/1-9/30/19. Expires 6/30/2019
Father's Day Promotions
- Arooga’s Grille House & Sports Bar - Dads get a free meal on Father’s Day with purchase of equal or greater value at participating Arooga’s locations all day on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 16, 2019.
- Baskin Robbins - $3 off ice cream cakes of $15+ w/ Code: SAVE3
- Beef O Brady's - Dads eat free with purchase of equal or greater value(Up to a $10 value)
- Ben’s Kosher Delicatessen Restaurant - Purchase one sandwich or entree at regular price in Ben's dining room and Dad may select his sandwich or entree of equal or lesser value for 50% off.
- Bob’s Burgers and Brew - Father’s Day Brunch: $26 adults, $18 seniors, $16 children age 6-12, children 5 and under free. Featuring Slow Roasted Prime Rib, Chilled Jumbo Prawns, Bérnaise Chicken, Hand Carved Ham and much more.
- Brann’s Steakhouse & Grille - Free 8 oz. sizzling sirloin steak with the purchase of one entrée of equal or greater value.
- Carvel has a free Fudgie Hat when you buy a Fudgie Cake on Father's Day
- Cattlemens - Father’s Day Dinner Special: $42.99 New York Steak and Lobster. Includes all-you-can-eat salad, hot sourdough bread, ranch-style beans and choice of potato. Father’s Day Dinner Special will be server June 13th – 16th.
- Claim Jumper - Father’s Day Brunch Buffet $29.99 per person: Carving station, custom omelets, fajita bar, peel and eat shrimp and more. $3.99 Sparkling Wine & Mimosas. $5.99 Bloody Marys and Margaritas.
- Duffy’s Sports Grill - 3 Course Dinner for $20.95: Choice of: 1/2 Rack & Wings Platter, Center-Cut Top Sirloin or Wild Alaska Salmon; served with 2 sides, salad and dessert. Dad will also enjoy a free pint of beer (Bud Light, Coors Light or Miller Lite) and a $10 MVP Bonus with meal purchase.
- Fire House Subs - Free medium sub with the purchase of an additional medium or large sub, chips and drink. Valid at all US locations and Canada.
- Flemings has a special 35oz Tomahawk Steak Dinner valid June 14-16, 2019
- Glory Days Grill - Dads get a free $10 off his next visit on Father's Day.
- Grub Burger Bar - Get any burger or sandwich and a beer for ten bucks from June 14 – 16. Must mention promo at counter. Trade in beer for a handcrafter shake or fountain drink.
- Humperdink’s - Dads get a hand-cut 12oz. Ribeye Steak and Loaded Baked Potato served with a complimentary pint of Humperdinks Craft Beer for $19.99.
- Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse - 6 oz. Filet Mignon & 5 oz. Lobster Tail for $40.95. Dinner menu served all day.
- Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que - Dads get a $10 Bonus Card on Father's Day
- Macaroni Grill - Two course dinner, $25 per person. Entrees include Sorrento Lemon Chicken, Grilled Mahi-Mahi, Butternut Tortellacci, and Steak + Potatoes. Valid Friday, June 14 – Sunday, June 16.
- Morton’s The Steakhouse - $59 per person 3-Course Meal: Starter choice: Morton’s Salad, Caesar Salad, Wedge Salad, Baked Five Onion Soup. Entree choice: 8oz Filet Mignon, 10oz Manhattan Cut, Miso Marinated Sea Bass, Chicken Piccata, and Prime Pork Chop. Dessert Choice: Key Lime Pie, Chocolate Souffle, Creme Brulee, and Double Chocolate Mousse.
- Primanti Bros. - Free Almost Famous Primanti Bros Sandwich with purchase of meal $3.99+. Everyone who dines in that day will also receive a coupon for $5 off for a return visit through the end of July.
- Red Lobster - For every $75 spent on Red Lobster gift cards, you will receive two bonus coupons – good for either $10 off two adult entrées or one free appetizer – valid on a future visit between July and September.
- Rubios has a Buy 1 Get 1 Free Entree on Father's Day June 16, 2019
- Ruth’s Chris Steak House - Two perfectly prepared cold-water lobster tails served alongside your choice of Ruth’s expertly aged USDA Prime ribeye steak or melt-in-your-mouth 6-, 8- or 11-ounce filet starting at $49.95 on Father's Day.
- TCBY has a free 6oz yogurt on Father's Day
- TGI Fridays - Free $5 in Bonus Bites with the purchase of any gift card of $25 or more.
- Wienerschnitzel - Free Old-Fashioned Sundae all day on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 16, 2019
- WingHouse Bar & Grill - All you can eat wings for $16.99 on Father's Day
Promotions from the past that may be repeated in 2019
- Applebee's - Get a $10 Bonus Card with the purchase of $50 in E-Gift Cards. Good for gift card purchases through July 1, 2018. The Bonus Card is good August 12, 2018.
- Arooga’s Grille House & Sports Bar has a Moms eat free from 11AM-9PM on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 13, 2018.Must purchase entree of equal or greater value. At participating locations.
- Brann’s Steakhouse & Sports Grille has Steak & Shrimp for just $16.99 with choice of two sides and Brann’s famous yeast rolls on Mother's Day. Make your reservations in advance!
- Bertucci's - Dads get a free small Polpette(5 meatballs) offer card good on your next dine-in visit. One per dad or one per party, while supplies last.
- Buffalo Wild Wings - Get a $5 Bonus Card with the purchase of $30 in gift cards. Expires 6/18/2017
- Ginger Money - Dads Eat Free
- McCormick & Schmick’s - $28 Steak and Lobster or King Crab special
- Ruth’s Chris Steak House - Dads get a $25 dining card when they dine during Father's Day Weekend. At participating locations.
- Spaghetti Warehouse - Dads eat free on Father's day. No coupon required.
- Steak N Shake - Free double steakburger with cheese, Fries, Regular drink when you buy a $25 gift card
- World of Beer - Free seleect draught or $5 Off on Father's day for Dads.
Mother's Day Promotions
- Acapulco Restaurant and Cantina - has Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet with Ham and Tri-tip Carving Station: Sunday, May 12, 2019, 8am-2pm. $29.99 Adults / $8.99 Kids. Sun Valley, Montclair, Northridge and Moreno Valley. $29.99 Adults /$8.99 Kids Glendale, Costa Mesa, Downey and Marina Pacifica locations.
- Another Broken Egg Cafe - has $10 Brunch Buck for all Moms dining on Mother's Day 2019
- Baskin Robbins has $3 off $15 Ice Cream Cakes. Expires 5/12/2019
- Blue Moon Mexican Cafe has Gifts for all Moms on Mothers Day 2019
- Bob’s Burgers and Brew has Mother's Day Brunch starting at 8AM 5/12/2019
- Brixx Wood Fired Pizza has all bottles of wine are 1/2 priced at Brixx Saturday, May 12 and Sunday, May 13 at Brixx locations in North Carolina.
- Charlie Browns has a special 3 course menu starting at $22.99 on Mother's Day 2019.
- Cheesecake Factory has a $10 Bonus Card with the purchase of $50 in egift cards. Expires 5/13/2018
- El Torito has a Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet with Ham and Tri-tip Carving Station. Sunday, May 12, 2019, 8am-2pm. Pricing and offers vary.
- First Watch has a $20 Bonus Card with the purchase of $100 in gift cards in 2019
- Flemings Prime Steakhouse has Mother's Day Brunch 2019 from 10am to 3pm.
- Fogo de Chao - Free dining card for Mom's on Mother's Day May 12, 2019
- Joe's Crab Shack has a 4 course Prix fixe menu for $35.99 on Mother's Day 2019.
- Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que - All moms dining in May 11 – 13 will receive a free $10 bonus card. Make your reservation today.
- Macaroni Grill - Special Food Deals 5/12/2019 - Special Brunch Menu. Additionally, all restaurants will feature a special Mothers’ Day backdrop for family photos.
- Melting Pot - Endless fondue entrees for both adults and children with prices around $48 per adult and $22 for kids 12 and under.
- Mimi’s - Special prix fixe three-course menu for $19.99 on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 12, 2019.
- Morton’s The Steakhouse - Steak and Lobster Special for $59 on Mother's Day 2019. $50 bonus card with $250 in gift cards through 6/15/2018. Bonus Card valid 6/1-9/30/2018.
- Mrs. Fields - 15% off on all Mother’s Day gifts w/ Code: MDay15
- Ninety Nine Restaurants - Entrees include Simply Seasoned Fresh Haddock ($15.49), Colossal Lobster Roll ($19.99), Baked Coastal Combo ($17.99), Grilled Filet Mignon ($18.99) and Prime Rib (12 oz. $16.99, 18 oz. $19.99) on May 12 and 13.
- Papa Johns has 40% off regular priced items Exp 5/13/2018
- Piccadilly - Ribeye, 2 sides, fresh baked bread, one drink, and dessert for only $16.99 on May 11-13.
- Ruth’s Chris Steak House - Moms who dine on Mother's day, May 12, 2019, get a $25 dining card for future use.
- Spaghetti Warehouse - Free entree, "Incredible" 15-Layer Lasagne, for every mom on May 13.
- TCBY has a free 6oz Froyo for Moms on Mothers Day 2019
- Wienerschnitzel - Moms eat free on May 12, 2019 with proof of mom-bership
We look back at last year to see what was in sale. Why? Because this year, we should see similar types of promotions.
Apple Black Friday Deals
Apple had these promotions:
- Up to $50 Apple Gift Card when you order iPhone
- Up to $100 Apple Gift Card when you buy selected iPad models
- $25 Apple Gift Card for Apple Watch purchase
- $150 Apple Gift Card for select Mac computers
- $25 Apple Gift Card for Apple TV purchase
Apple offered similar promotions the previous year, but at least increased the iPad gift card amount. The Apple deals at other stores including Best Buy, Target, etc where far superior to the Apple Store.
So - one would think the best strategy for Apple products is to ditch the Apple store in favor of major retailers? Maybe, but better deals showed up just 14 days after Black Friday - with deeper discounts and zero sales tax. And finally, Apple did not even offer a sale on CyberMonday.
Gap Black Friday Sales
Gap has a “50% off Everything” sale. The later had many other sales of the type Save up to 50% off plus an extra 40% off. These were better on the select sale items, but the 50% off was a lot better on general merchandise.
Black Friday Laptop Deals
Black Friday is a great time to buy a new laptop. Most of the deals were on lower end, budget notebooks. Here were the top items on sale then.
Dell Home Doorbusters - 11/23/17 Thursday 11am ET
- Inspiron 15 3000 Notebook Celeron 4GB/500GB $199.99 ($299.99) Free Shipping
Dell Small Business Doorbusters - 11/23/17 Thursday 11am EST
- Inspiron 15 3000 Notebook Celeron 4GB/500GB 1 Year ProSupport $199.99 ($299.99)
Dell Home Doorbusters - 11/23/17 Thursday 6pm ET
- Inspiron 14 3000 Notebook Celeron 2GB/32GB Windows 10 $129.99 ($249.99) Free Shipping
Dell Home Doorbusters - 11/23/17 Thursday 9pm ET
- Inspiron 11 3000 2 in 1 Core M3 4GB/1TB Windows 10 $299.99 ($599.99) Free Shipping
Dell Home Doorbusters - 11/24/17 Friday 8am ET
- Inspiron 15 3000 Notebook Core i3 4GB/1TB $299.99 ($429.99) Free Shipping
Dell Small Business Doorbusters - 11/24/17 Friday 8am EST
- Inspiron 15 3000 Notebook Core i3 4GB/1TB 1 Year ProSupport $334.99 ($489.99)
Black Friday Video Game Deals
These deals can be of good value, if and only if you like the bundled games. The prices of these holiday bundles held steady, probably due to minimum advertised pricing restrictions. On the other hand, there are plenty of video games on sale, making this a great time to buy software.
- Playstation 4 PS4 1TB Slim Gaming System $199 ($300)
- Best deal: PS4 1TB System $199 free shipping ($300) plus Free $50 Gamestop Gift Card!
Xbox One S
- Xbox One S 500GB Console + Free Game and 1-Month Game Pass $189 Free shipping ($249)
- Xbox One S 500GB System $189 free shipping ($280)
- Xbox 360 Original model Pre-owned Free After rebate. Thursday-Friday.
Black Friday HDTV Deals
TVs are always a bright spot for Black Friday. Some of the best deals can be had then.
- Sold out: TCL 40-inch smart TV, only $249.99 free shipping ($290)
- Sold out: TCL 49-inch smart TV, only $349.99 free shipping ($480)
- Sold out: TCL 55-inch smart TV, only $379.99 free shipping ($600)
Best Buy Doorbuster
- In store only: Sharp - 50" Class (49.5" Diag.) - LED - 2160p - Smart - 4K Ultra HD TV Roku TV - LC-50LBU591U $179.99 ($500)
- In store only: Toshiba- 55" Class (54.6" Diag.) - LED - 2160p - Smart - 4K Ultra HD TV Chromecast - 55L711U18 $279.99 ($500)
Black Friday Smartphone Deals
Everyone wants a better phone, Black Friday is a great time to upgrade.
- Save $350 on Samsung Note 8, S8, S8+ with activation.
- Samsung S8 64GB Verizon $15.41/month for 24 months (Regular $30/month)
- Samsung S8+ 64GB Verizon $19.41/month for 24 months (Regular $34/month)
- In store: iPhone 8 and 8 Plus Free $250 Gift Card with qualified activation - AT&T, Sprint, Verizon
Black Friday is No Longer the Best Sale of the Year
As we have shown, similar or better deals can be had throughout the year. So what’s the point of Black Friday?
We at BuyVia still believe Black Friday can save you money - but you have to set your expectations. If you expect to find the lowest possible price of the year on your favorite items, you are in for a disappointment. But if you are looking for good deals on your holiday list, Black Friday is still a great way to save money.
If you are looking for the best possible price on specific items, do your research. Often web based retailers will trump their retail competition because they pass the decreased cost of overhead onto their consumers. For the best possible deals, sign up here to receive personal deal alerts from Buyvia.
Do you have a comment or a different experience with Black Friday?
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