Sometimes they aren't, but some of this year's offers are worth the extra effort.
Read the small print on Black Friday offers for 2013 and you'll find that some of the low prices reflect mail-in rebates (MIRs). The rebate process can be a bit of a pain, and too many consumers seduced by the potential savings never realize the lower price. One widely cited academic study from 2003 reported that shoppers never got around to redeeming about six in 10 consumer electronics rebates. An industry consultant quoted in The Wall Street Journal in 2006 put the number for all rebates at 4 in 10. Regardless whether those redemption rates hold true today, they call into question the value of a Black Friday offer that hinges on a mail-in rebate.
OSHA recently released a list of ways retailers can maintain order on Black Friday. Some stores will also implement more subtle methods of crowd control in the name of profits.
This post comes from Marcy Bonebright at partner site DealNews.
We've all heard the Black Friday horror stories about out of control crowds. But is it really dangerous to head to the store on Black Friday? What steps are retailers taking to protect customers and employees during the shopping holiday? Read on to see how merchants will try to maximize safety — and profits — during the Black Friday season.
Black Friday crowd control remains a priority
A recent DealNews survey revealed that more than half of readers plan to shop online during Black Friday. This finding was backed up by a recent Nielson study, in which 46% of respondents said they'd do their Black Friday shopping online. All of this could add up to smaller crowds on shopping's biggest holiday.
Yet, despite these findings, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a document urging retailers to put safety first on Black Friday. Citing the trampling death of a Walmart worker during a Black Friday sale five years ago, the press release emplores merchants to enforce crowd safety measures like providing "on-site trained security personnel or police officers," "not allowing additional customers to enter the store when it reaches its maximum occupancy level," and "not blocking or locking exit doors."
You're not officially on the clock, and of course you're supposed to enjoy yourself. But that doesn't mean putting a lampshade on your head. Here's how to schmooze properly.
This post comes from Donna Fuscaldo at partner site Fox Business News.
While experts advise against walking into a party with the sole purpose of getting ahead, they say your behavior can leave a lasting impression.
"If you think about the holiday party as a way to advance your career the insincerity of your efforts will be recognized by others," says Peter Post, author of "Essential Manners For Men" and director of the Emily Post Institute. "What you want to do is represent yourself as a reasonable fun person to be with."
The first step of office party etiquette is accepting the invitation in a prompt manner. Nothing can be more annoying to a host than having to track down invitees and responding right away shows your enthusiasm and that you respect the host's efforts.
It’s a bummer when you find you could have saved more. Cut through the 'deal clutter' by letting others do the price checks, and avoid marketing tricks designed to make you overspend.
This post comes from Donna Freedman at partner site Money Talks News.
You just bought the handbag or tech gadget of your dreams and you're feeling pretty happy about scoring 10 percent off. That is, until a friend or relative lets you know he saved 30 percent on the same product, got free shipping and a cash rebate to boot.
Distressed by the size of your own discount? Relax. It’s just "deal envy," and it happens all the time.
Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of the shoppers surveyed by online coupon site Retail Me Not say they'd be disappointed if they missed a price break. The stakes are higher during the winter holidays, when nearly 9 in 10 (88 percent) are upset if they miss on any kind of discount.
"Deal envy occurs when people [don’t] save at all," says Trae Bodge of Retail Me Not.
As a nation we're obsessed with getting the best prices, especially around the holidays. Blame it on dopamine, a brain chemical associated with (among other things) reward and motivation.
Recent research at the University of Cambridge indicates that it isn't the actual prize that stimulates dopamine but rather the anticipation of the reward. Thus we're primed for those retail highs even before the turkey has been carved.
Are you the go-to guy for short-term loans? Say yes every time, and you may torpedo your own finances.
This post comes from Donna Freedman at partner site Money Talks News.
Conventional wisdom holds that you should never loan more than you can afford to lose. Believe it. If your brother or your BFF asks for $500 for car repairs, you have no guarantee you’ll ever see those funds again.
How do I know? Because I'm owed money by both a relative and a couple of friends. They aren't bad people, just casual with cash. I've long since written off the relative’s loan, especially since this person has given me a bunch of rides to and from the airport when I visit my dad.
As for the other loans: I'm owed a total of about $2,100 but I'm about as likely to get it as I am to wring plasma from limestone. That was a calculated risk, and I have no one to blame but myself.
Retailer-branded cards have a reputation for high interest rates and low (if any) rewards. But a few have features that can be useful or save money.
This post comes from Jason Steele at partner site Credit.com.
A warning you hear often during holiday shopping season is to be careful of store credit cards. It can seem as if nearly every retailer is offering a credit card application at checkout and raving about the benefits. Yet a careful review of the application often reveals high interest rates, poor terms and minimal rewards.
Nevertheless, there are some retail credit cards that can make a worthy addition to your wallet. The best ones offer at least one outstanding feature. That feature could be a competitive financing offer, a valuable rewards program, or some exclusive perks and benefits.
Here are five store cards you may want to consider.
It's worth reading the terms of service to find out what PayPal does with your credit information -- particularly if you want to protect your credit scores.
This post comes from Gerri Detweiler at partner site Credit.com.
If you are one of the millions of people who use PayPal to send or receive money, you may not have given to much thought about how it might affect your credit. But if you read the terms of service, you’ll see credit reports and credit scores mentioned, and that may leave you wondering how that will impact you. If you care about your credit scores, you should know what PayPal does with credit information.
Here’s how this service works: When you sign up, you can link your credit, debit and/or bank accounts to your PayPal account. When you buy an item online (and, more recently, in some retail stores as well) you can check out with your PayPal account, which will then process the purchase through your preferred payment method.
In addition, PayPal offers an option where you can pay for an item via PayPal using your credit or debit card, even if you haven’t set up an account.
I just shaved 60 percent from my cost of shaving, and got a better product. You should too.
This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.
Such was the case with me and razor blades.
The words "disappointed" or "miffed" don't describe my feelings about paying nearly $3.00 for a single Gillette Fusion cartridge. More like "mad as hell and not going to take it any more".
Several months ago we published an article about cutting the cost of shaving. So, last week, as my supply of Gillette Fusion blades dwindled, I went back to that article to see how I could use my own advice to attack the high cost of a close shave.
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