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Shopping tips and resources for Canadian Black Friday

Winston Sih | posted Thursday, Nov 28th, 2013

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Crushing crowds, stampedes at the door, even pepper spray and bullets — these are the just some of the scenes Americans are willing to endure on Black Friday as shoppers trample over each other to get the best prices on TVs, video games and designer handbags. Well, Canada, now it’s our turn.

City digital media correspondent Winston Sih shared some of his tips for preparing for one of Canada’s biggest shopping days.

Last year Canadian retailers began offering their own Black Friday deals in an effort to keep shoppers here north of the border. This year, the tradition looks set to really take off with major malls jumping into action — 21 Cadillac Fairview malls are set to open early on November 29th — encouraging even more stores to offer deep discounts and hopes that Canadians will bound through doors en masse.

For Canadians who aren’t quite used to dealing with Black Friday madness, we offer up a few tips for surviving the mad dash for discounts.

1. Do your homework

Before you head out into the mayhem, know where to start. Find out what’s on sale and where the best price is and plan your day accordingly. Keep an eye out for store fliers or check out sites like RedFlagDeals.com.

2. Make a list (and stick to it)

Hitting the chaos of Black Friday without a list can lead to bags full of useless things and big credit card bills. Figure out what you need to buy before you go out. And make your list realistic — you may not be able to buy everything on your holiday list.

3. Ask for a better discount

This is where we polite Canadians can take a lesson from our friends in the U.S.! You don’t need to be rude, but asking if a retailer if he or she is able give you a better price isn’t going to hurt anyone’s feelings — and you might even get away with paying less.

4. Know what to avoid

Black Friday doesn’t mean everything is on sale. Items like toys and winter clothes will be way cheaper right before or after Christmas. Ditto for brand name TVs and other electronics, which usually go on sale in January and February as retailers make room for new models.

5. Leave your credit card at home

Black Friday is a dangerous time for anyone with a tendency to impulse shop. The best way to avoid overdoing it or going over-budget is to avoid plastic and take cash, that way you’ll avoid any scary surprises when your credit card bill comes.

6. Read the fine print

Before you buy anything, make sure the store isn’t changing its return policy for Black Friday. For example, a sale item might be eligible for an exchange not a refund.

7. Wait for Cyber Monday

If the crowds and mall mayhem isn’t your thing, you can shop from the comfort of your couch on Cyber Monday. Lots of online retailers offer great discounts on the Monday after Black Friday. Even better, we can take advantage of deals on both sides of the border!

Online resources:

With files from Chatelaine and Caroline Cakebread

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