Did you score some great deals on Black Friday? Did you find only empty racks when you want to the stores? Did you get all the way to the checkout for some items online and find they were out of stock, or your order didn't go through? Welcome to the fourth annual dealnews awards for the best and worst of Black Friday 2010!
Jeers: To Crucial.com, for wonderful Black Friday specials that you couldn't buy because its site went down. The same jeers for Victoria's Secret, which was down for at least an hour. Kohl's and Fry's also had short outages.
Cheers: To Blu-ray movie prices and video game prices on Black Friday. There were so many excellent Blu-ray movies priced from $5 to $7, we were barely able to keep track. Video games hit dramatic new lows, with many new releases at an unheard of $30 or $35 (for $60 titles) and year-old or newer releases at $10. Best of all, most of these deals stayed alive for hours, giving more shoppers an opportunity to score a deal.
Jeers: To Amazon waitlists, Amazon's $89 Kindle 2 (yeah right), Amazon Lightning Deals selling out in literally less than 30 seconds. Newegg.com and Walmart also had deals that were so "temporary," we wonder, what's the point? On Black Friday, these deals were a bigger tease than Justin Bieber walking by a barber shop.
Jeers: To stores that advertised sales starting online at midnight that didn't start until well after. We'll name Toys "R" Us and Walmart among the culprits.
Cheers: To Amazon waiving its $25 minimum for free shipping on several items, Home Depot having free shipping on tens of thousands of items, and Walmart and Best Buy having free shipping on hundreds of thousands of items.
Cheers: To the refurbished iPhone 4 for $99 from AT&T Wireless. Apple's refurbs are of the highest quality — usually indistinguishable from new — making this an unexpected stunner.
Cheers: To Apple, for putting the iPad on sale at 10% off. We predicted that the iPad would not be on sale, and boy, we loved being wrong.
Cheers: To 6pm.com for offering its first coupon discount ever on Black Friday.
Jeers: To sites that didn't live up to their advertised discounts and for discounts that didn't turn out to be worth very much. Like MacMall.com, for claiming up to $400 off Macs, yet the highest discount we could find was $200 off one particular system. Most deals were just $20 to $40 off. DeepDiscount.com was another offender, advertising a 25% off site-wide sale that quit working. iNetVideo.com offered 50% off shipping on orders over $45, which amounts to a massive savings of $1.50 on single item orders! And our least favorite offender: MegaMacs, which had 10% off shipping for every $100 spend, up to free shipping for orders over $1,000. Plus you got one featured item free with every purchase (one of the items was a single AAA battery).
Jeers: To local deals sites, who seem to have never heard about this Black Friday thing. Where were the deals?
Cheers: To Target, for finally putting real Black Friday doorbusters on Target.com. An extra 10% off coupon that we found bagged several doorbusters at lower prices than Target stores, most with free shipping.
Cheers: To Dell, for having the most HDTV deals on the planet (at least, the most we marked "Editors' Choice") on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
Cheers: To Black Thursday. More doorbusters were available online on Thanksgiving than were available on Black Friday. Plus, inventory lasted longer on Thanksgiving, so you didn't have the "sold out in less than 5 minutes" craziness that happened for so many of the really good deals on Black Friday.
Cheers: To free shipping with no minimum from Kohl's on Black Friday (via a coupon code discovered by dealnews). Last year, Kohl's had a $100 minimum.
Jeers: To Staples, for its handling of its $35 coupon snafu. A coupon code took $35 off everything on Staples.com costing $35 or more. Not surprisingly, this wasn't intended, and Staples canceled all orders "misusing" the coupon. That's understandable, but Staples deserves our jeers for its handling of the incident. First, Staples made the error on Black Friday, of all days. Second, Staples canceled the orders with a rote email and didn't offer any kind of make-good to the affected shoppers, many of whom passed on other Black Friday deals to buy from Staples. Something small, like a $5 credit or even a $35 off $350 coupon, would have gone a long way towards making Staples seem like an earnest customer advocate instead of an incompetent retailer.
For more great Black Friday and Cyber Monday coverage:
- The Facts Behind 15 Black Friday Myths
- Toys Over $50 Hit Endangered Species List
- Behind the Scenes of Black Friday Ad Leaks
- Cyber Monday Needs a Makeover
- Black Friday Survey Results and Shopping Tips
- Pillow Pet Kung Fu Battle Against Fakes
- Store Return Policies
- Can Free Purple Slurpees Unite Us?
- The All-New Mac vs. PC Debate
- Win the Extended Warranty Game
- Gift Card Policies for Holiday Shopping
- Best Deals for Mail Order Holiday Foods