Black Friday 2011 Cheers & Jeers: Thanksgiving Trumps Friday for Deals

By the dealnews staff

Another Black Friday is on the books, and while you have another day of good deal-shopping ahead of you on this lovely Cyber Monday, it's time to assess the deals we've seen so far. Who served consumers well, and who stumbled? Read the fifth annual dealnews awards for the best and worst of Black Friday to find out!

Cheers to Thanksgiving, which surpassed Black Friday in volume of top-quality bargains. Both days received about an equal number of deals posted to the site, but only 39% of the deals on Black Friday were of Editors' Choice caliber, while a whopping 48% of Thanksgiving's deals were marked. That's in contrast to last year, where the percentages were about equal, with Black Friday edging Thanksgiving out overall. (Do we have midnight madness to thank for this change?)

Jeers to some of the weak sales that followed after Thanksgiving. There were still fantastic deals on Black Friday, but some were surprisingly sub par for the day.

Cheers to Best Buy and newegg for having some of the better technology and video game deals on Black Friday. Cheers to Amazon for quickly matching them.

However, jeers to Amazon for "lightning" game deals that were essentially 100% claimed the second they started. Quick-selling lightning deals were an overall problem at Amazon this year (again). An example: a choice 40" HDTV deal for under $200 was supposed to go live at 10 pm. One of our writers immediately tried to test the deal, only to discover that there was already a waiting list nearly 500 people long. Such incidents left many of us wondering how much stock they had to begin with.

Cheers to Best Buy, for spectacular deals on both Thursday and Friday. Sure, Amazon matched most, but if Best Buy had not dropped its prices, would there have been any good deals at Amazon?

However, jeers to Best Buy for mistakenly offering a $100 iTunes gift card for $60, then canceling orders and asking customers to instead purchase the deal for the price they had advertised, which was $80.

Jeers to a lack of decent hard drive deals. The best we saw was an all-time low on a 3TB USB 3.0 external HDD, but that's about it. It seems that the floods in Thailand have truly kept retailers from discounting these products to the prices we had predicted prior to the disaster.

Jeers to Toys "R" Us, whose site wasn't prepared for consumers' demands and subsequently crashed. It stayed down for a good while, forcing many shoppers to miss out on an excellent "buy one, get two free" Transformers and Spiderman sale. Similarly, Meritline was down for much of Black Friday.

Cheers to the iPhone 4S sale at Fry's, which put all models at all-time low prices.

Cheers to luxury retailers Saks and Neiman Marcus for bucking an age-old trend of skipping Black Friday. They offered sales directly, and through eBay (Last Call Neiman Marcus). Unfortunately, Nordstrom didn't join in.

A big old jeers to the violence that broke out at stores on Black Friday. We love deals, but there's never a place for fighting. Ever. And as we said last week, shopping in-store might not be worth it anyway.

Last, but not least, a MASSIVE cheers goes out to the dealnews staff. Our writers, editors, and beyond worked extra long hours, not only on Black Friday, but also on Thanksgiving. They sought out and tested hundreds of deals, so our dear readers could save money and time, all while avoiding the in-store madness.

Black Friday may be over, but there's still many stellar deals ahead today. Be sure to check the deals as they come in, and consider setting up an email alert for the category or product of your choice.

Front page photo credit: Welcome Back to Pottersville

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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I visit your website more than Facebook so I hope that says something about you all. You guys and gals rock! Keep it up!
And jeers to Vtech whose Web site couldn't handle the traffic last night after they announced a $10 off and free shipping coupon. I missed getting a couple of their learning toys because their pages wouldn't load. And I repeatedly tried for a couple of hours....
Jeers to Amazon for boring Lightning Deals on Black Friday. Every year I buy many holiday gifts through the Black Friday Lightning Deals, but this time I found the selection uninspiring. Only ONE toy came up that I wanted to get for my nephews! And a big JEERS to them for repeating Lightning Deals over the course of several days on video games like Dance Central. Why rush to buy something when you suspect they'll run it again? With all the price matching, no one really outdid anyone else on the games. Many Xbox games hit $24.99 and one of the Kinect bundles was $99.99 EVERYWHERE in stores and online. I kept hoping Amazon would drop it another $20, but I finally broke down and bought it late last night.
Definitely good and bad. Jeers to Office Max - Brother 575 fax for $60 with $50 mail-in rebate. Jeers to Stables for the same fax for $60 with $50 instant rebate via Visa card.Cheers to Office Depot for the same fax for $9.99 and free shipping with no rebate hassles.
Jeers to Dealnews, who repeatedly posted an opportunity to sign up for a newsletter summarizing all prospective Black Friday deals, but never could resolve the issue where you could not subscribe to the newsletter!
Jeers to Best Buy!  They had a great sale advertised for Thursday Thanksgiving day online only on a 24" and 32" LCD which I had all intentions of buying.  There was no adverstised time at which this sale started.  Like most online deals I just figured it would start at midnight.  So I was up logged in and ready to go at midnight, sale never started.  Waited unilt 1a.m. then 2a.m. at which point I had to get some sleep.  I woke up early at 6:15a.m. to find everything I wanted sold out!  A start time to the sales would be nice in the future.
For real, you guys!

If it wasn't for Dealnews, I wouldn't even be spending my hard-earned money this year.  Thanks for doing all the hard work for us!
Seriously, Massive cheers indeed! I was excited with the constant update every few hours I went on dealnews! Thanks for your time and effort!
I truly admire your site and all of your staff for the tremendous amount of work they put into Black Friday as well as the entire rest of the year.  I check your site everyday and I tell all my family, friends and acquaintances to do the same before buying anything.  I want to wish all you the best  Holiday season ever and a wonderful New Year. 
MASSIVE cheers to the dealnews staff. Not only for the wonderful work over the last 4 days, but you have made BF a daily event throughout the year. A big THANK YOU!
Lindsay Sakraida (DealNews)
You guys are all the best! Thanks so much for supporting us!
A big thank you to you folks at Dealnews.  It has become a regular stop for me.
I follow several online deal sites, and DealNews is definitely the best...great information, timely, and I like the fact that you compare the prices to previous lows and the next lowest price.  Great job guys.
Agreed MASSIVE cheers to the dealnews staff.  You guys rock!
Jeers to dealnews for getting SMOKED by the other Black Friday sites this year. You guys dropped the ball big time. I know you're actively trying to sell the site (too late for that bandwagon) and this is going to really hurt your value. Sucks to be you rubes.
You guys and ladies, did a wonderful job this year! Being out of work I was able to still buy a few nice toys and games for my niece and nephew, I was surprised how great Best Buy's sales were, normally I stay away but was really happy with the website, unlike Toys-R-Us, anyway, keep it up you all are awesome.