Cheers: To The Apple Store, for taking a definite Jeer and turning the table. Hundreds of dealnews readers (including two dealnews staffers) ordered refurbished iPod shuffles a few days before Christmas because of Apple's guaranteed delivery. However, when our staffers received confirmation emails from Apple, it stated that the iPods were shipped UPS Ground and would arrive on December 26. Christmas ruined? No! In one instance, Apple realized the mistake before the product was actually shipped, and the iPod arrived on Christmas Eve. In another instance, since the iPod has already shipped via Ground delivery, Apple sent out a second iPod, gratis, overnight for December 24 delivery. Well played!
Jeers: To OfficeMax, for being a Grinch and completely skipping the holiday season. Staples.com and OfficeDepot.com both offered free shipping on all orders through most of the holiday season; OfficeMax.com kept its minimum order of $50. Staples and Office Depot both had big Black Friday sales online; OfficeMax skipped Black Friday. It's not surprising that OfficeMax.com placed near the bottom in a recent online customer satisfaction study because of its perceived high prices.
Cheers: To Frys.com, who undercut the competition this holiday season with its unbeatably low HDTV prices. Circuit City, Wal-Mart, Best Buy — all of these stores had solid Black Friday deals on HDTVs. That is, until Fry's came along and undercut the lot.
Jeers: To BestBuy.com's Wednesday Sales. Have you noticed that we've stopped listing them? That's because they generally consist of two absolutely useless products. (We could swear we saw a dot-matrix printer ribbon during one sale.)
Cheers: To Linens 'n Things, for consistently churning out 20% off coupons, price cuts, and respectable shipping rates (often free). Although its delivery time tends to be on the slow side, its offer of in-store pickup was great for people who needed that pasta set by the end of the day.
Cheers: To Amazon.com, for having proved it still has what it takes to remain the online world's reliable shopping workhorse. Bonus points go out for its generous 30-day price guarantee, free Super Saver shipping, cut-throat competitiveness (like when it undercut Wal-Mart's Black Friday price on a KitchenAid mixer), and relative ease of requesting refunds. However ...
Jeers: To Amazon.com, who continued to confuse everyone by listing third-party merchants where you'd expect to find Amazon itself. This is an especially big hassle when Amazon itself sells out of a particular deal and substitutes another store that charges far more.
Cheers: To newegg.com, for keeping a vast selection of products at below-average prices throughout the year. newegg.com is a reader favorite because of its reliable shipping and consistent shopping experience.
Jeers: Last, but not least, a bucket-full of jeers to DeepDiscount.com, for having sold items that were out of stock, leaving several customers clueless as to the whereabouts of the merchandise. We'd like to see better communication between customer service and the shipping department in the future and better policies for cancelling orders that can not ship in a timely manner.
Compiled by the editors and writers at dealnews who kept the deals slingin' throughout the holiday season.