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Have You Fallen for the 13 Biggest Black Friday Myths?

We're busting common Black Friday misconceptions, from the assumption that free shipping is guaranteed, to the rumor that stores are chaotic.
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Black Friday myths

Black Friday is almost here, which means shoppers everywhere are prepping their wish lists.

But is there any point to shopping on Black Friday? Is shopping online really easier? Don't you have to stand in line to get the best deals? We've rounded up the biggest misconceptions and busted them wide open in our list of the 13 most common Black Friday myths.

There's No Point to Shopping on Black Friday

With Black Friday growing into its own season, the best deals aren't restricted to the day after Thanksgiving. You can find awesome offers during the entire Black Friday week — if not before — which means many shoppers think they can score significant savings just by shopping the general Black Friday time frame.

Some stores only have sales on Black Friday itself, and if you're not shopping that day, you could miss out.

Many retailers host longer sales that span several days, but not all vendors have adopted the "Black Friday creep." Some stores only have sales on Black Friday itself, and if you're not shopping that day, you could miss out. These one-day sales can yield the best savings you'll see all year.

Black Friday Isn't as Popular

This myth claims that Black Friday creep, stores opening on Thanksgiving, and more have "killed" the shopping holiday. The truth is that, while Black Friday has definitely changed, it's not going away. If anything, it's turning into a much bigger season. Each year, more stores host countdown-to-Black-Friday sales or pre-Black Friday sales to lead up to the event, extending the season even more.

You Have to Shop Online on Cyber Monday

It's true that most deals are found online the Monday following Black Friday. However, since clothing is usually one of the most popular items on sale that day, stores will often offer coupons good for both online and in-store use. So you can stock up online, or just swing by your nearest in-store location to pick up that sweater you've been eyeing.

You Must Stand in Line

There was a time when shopping on Black Friday meant lining up hours or even days in advance to score an awesome deal. While you should still be prepared to stand in line for certain doorbusters, not all notable offers require camping out. In fact, you can purchase many online. If you're venturing in-store, you can expect a fair amount of inventory.

SEE ALSO: 12 Ways to Prepare for Black Friday Like a Pro

Stores Are Chaotic All Day

Black Friday has earned a reputation for turning stores into messy battlefields. And though that can happen in the early hours when doors first open, crowds tend to dissipate once the normal store hours roll around. Sure, the store will likely still show signs of the crowds from earlier. But by 10 am, odds are you can shop at your local Target without using your cart as a battering ram.

Amazon Has the Best Deals on Black Friday

This giant retailer is a one-stop shop for many during the Black Friday season, thanks to Prime benefits like early access to deals and free 2-day shipping. While Amazon will undoubtedly have excellent deals, don't assume it'll have all the best prices. Amazon wins for convenience, but you can often find better prices elsewhere — even for Alexa-enabled devices.

Free Shipping Is Guaranteed

Black Friday sales tend to come with a variety of perks. If you're expecting no-minimum free shipping, though, think again. In recent years, stores have been locking free shipping behind a growing minimum purchase requirement. Some still offer low amounts — around $25 to $35 — while others will be pushing for $50 to $75.

Certain stores may require a minimum purchase of $50 to $75 before allowing free shipping.

In fact, we might see shipping costs go even higher this year. That's because UPS is adding surcharges for individuals and commercial customers shipping to U.S. residences during November and December. The charges don't seem very high — anywhere from 27 cents to 97 cents — but at a per-package cost, those can add up.

You Can't Shop Black Friday Sales Until the Day Of

Some poor souls are still waiting! Black Friday creep is real, though. Notable discounts pop up as early as the week before Thanksgiving, and the entire Black Friday week is full of deals. Amazon tends to run its deals all week long, and the past couple of years, Best Buy has hosted an Early Access sale for Elite and Elite Plus members early during the week. (Expect the same this year.) Still, the best sales and deals for the week tend to start on Wednesday or on Thanksgiving.

Online Shopping Is Easiest

It might seem easier to camp out on the couch at home and shop online. But it's not a sure bet. Deals online show up off and on all day, which might make you feel reluctant to leave your computer. And even if you don't mind being tethered to your laptop, online traffic can overwhelm sites, causing them to crash. Items can also sell out faster than the site can update, meaning that cute sweater you're eyeing is already long gone.

SEE ALSO: 7 Ways Cyber Monday Is Different From Black Friday

Ads Show All the Deals

This really depends on which stores you're looking at, but overall, you can't depend on them to list every single Black Friday deal they're planning to offer. A lot of stores don't even run traditional ads (ahem, Amazon). You won't see ads like that on TV or in print, and since stores like to compete, ads could change even after they've been released.

Cyber Monday Is Just Leftovers

Sure, some deals will carry over from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. On the whole, though, it'll be mostly different sales from stores (especially if they didn't participate in Black Friday). They're both great days to shop, but for different categories. In previous years, Cyber Monday had more Editors' Choice picks. Last year, however, Black Friday and Cyber Monday had about the same amount. Around 35% of the deals on both days were Editors' Choice-worthy.

Luxury Brands and Apple Aren't on Sale

If your list includes high-end items, you can expect to find solid Black Friday savings. Just be ready to shop outlet stores for some of the better deals. Last Call by Neiman Marcus, Barneys Warehouse, and Saks Off 5th all tend to have decent sales and promos. (Want to know more? Check out our Black Friday clothing guide.)

Look to third-party retailers for sales on Apple items.

And if you're looking for Apple items, you can definitely find sales — just know you won't find them at the Apple Store. Look to third-party retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, and Target instead.

Doorbusters Aren't Worth It

The designation of "doorbuster" doesn't automatically mean the deal is worth rolling out of bed for. But modern doorbusters aren't just junk, either. They might've been like that back in the day, but now Black Friday items encompass better quality merchandise, including products like brand-name 4K TVs and high-end gaming consoles.

Excited for Black Friday deals? Consider subscribing to the DealNews Select newsletter to get a daily recap of all our best deals; you never know when a Black Friday price will be released! You can also download our app, visit the Black Friday Hub for the latest ads, or check out all our blog articles for more buying advice.


Staff Writer

Julie joined DealNews in 2015, after many years of becoming well-versed in technology issues as a communications professional for a software company. She first entered journalism in college, reporting on issues facing frugal students for CollegeCandy.com. Julie lives in DealNews' hometown of Huntsville, AL.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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