If you’ve been thinking about splurging on a brand new car this Black Friday, prepare in advance.
“It’s sort of the perfect storm of bargain conditions,” says Phil Reed with Edmunds.com. “Our projection is that it’s going to be pretty crazy on the car lot.”
Between the manufacturer specials, end-of-year-deals, and outgoing model year discounts, you should already know exactly what you want before you go on Friday.
Test drive the top contenders earlier in the week.
“Black Friday is really for making deals. It’s not for doing car research. There’s going to be a lot of foot traffic and a lot of car traffic on the car lot so you want to do the test-drive in a more relaxed condition,” he says.
On Black Friday, show up when the lot opens to make a quick getaway. “The sooner that you get the deal done and get through financing, the better. While there may be 20 to 25 car salespeople on the lot, there’s only going to be three or four finance people. So there’s always a bottleneck to get your deal written up. The later you go in the day, the longer it’s going to take,” he says.
Reed says there is still a little room to negotiate on Black Friday, if you’ve compared the price to the true market value.
“If it’s at or below that, you’re in a really good territory. You always have the right to negotiate more but, frankly, with a lot of foot traffic on the lot, they’re going to go to another buyer rather than knock down their own prices. If you spot what your research is showing you is a good deal, go ahead and take it. Just make sure that all the pieces of the deal are as good as they can be: financing, trade-in, and purchase price of the vehicle.
Just as the turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie feasts begin to settle, some stores will open their doors on Thanksgiving, marking the start of the 2015 holiday shopping season.
Here’s a look at when some of the country’s biggest retailers are opening their doors — along with some of the best deals they have to offer. (Note that the times listed are for most locations. Be sure to check your local store’s hours.)
Analysts have questioned whether Black Friday is losing its cachet as retailers have pushed opening times into Thanksgiving. On Friday, the turnout was tame at some stores around the country.
Here’s how the day is playing out. All times are EST, unless otherwise specified.
Friday, 1 p.m.: Weed Friday
Colorado has a new Black Friday tradition: Marijuana shops drawing shoppers with discounted weed and holiday gift sets.
At Denver Kush Club in Denver, about two dozen customers were lined up in subfreezing temperatures and snow showers to take advantage of the shop’s doorbuster deals.
The first few customers got free joints, free rolling papers and a T-shirt with purchase. All medical customers were offered ounces of marijuana for $99 — a savings of about 50 percent.
The shop blasted reggae music and welcomed the crowd with Green Friday welcome cheers. Similar deals were offered last year, the first in which retail recreational marijuana sales opened.
“We get a lot of people in the first few hours, just like any store on Black Friday,” said co-owner Joaquin Ortega. He said marijuana gift-giving is becoming more common, though most were shopping for themselves Friday.
—Kristen Wyatt, Denver
Head to any of these seven websites to scoop up the best of the best Black Friday deals this year.
PROTESTS ON CHICAGO’S MAGNIFICENT MILE
Hundreds of protesters blocked entrances to stores in Chicago’s high-end shopping district to draw attention to the police shooting of a black teenager.
The demonstration came after the release of a video this week showing the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald last year. The video touched off largely peaceful protests.
On Friday, some of the demonstrators in Chicago linked arms to form human chains in front of main entrances to stores.
Store employees directed shoppers to exit from side doors. When one person tried to get through the front door of Saks Fifth Avenue, protesters screamed at him, shouting, “Shut it down! Shut it down.”
Entrances were also blocked at the Disney Store, the Apple Store, Nike, Tiffany & Co., and Neiman Marcus.
Many shoppers seemed to take the disturbance in stride, and some even snapped photos of the crowd.
Protesters took different approaches. The Rev. Jesse Jackson, for instance, led a prayer with a group from the steps of Chicago’s historic Water Tower.
NO MAD RUSH
Business was brisk but not overwhelming at a Macy’s in Kansas City as rain that started Thursday morning continued falling. There didn’t appear to be any lines more than a few customers deep.
Gerri Spencer and her daughter left home at 4 a.m. and made their way to a Macy’s store several hours later. Spencer said the crowds seemed sparser than in the past when Black Friday meant “getting out at the crack of dawn” to get the best deals.
Some Black Friday shoppers seemed to miss the holiday crowds.
At a Kmart in Denver, Susan Montoya had nearly the entire store to herself. She half-heartedly flipped through a rack of girls’ holiday party dresses and looked down the store’s empty aisles.
“There’s no one out here! No challenge!” she said.
Lynette Norcup also is nostalgic for Black Fridays of the past.
Sitting in the warmth of her daughter’s SUV waiting for Wal-Mart to open, the resident of Pleasanton, California said she thinks the excitement has fizzled with stores opening on Thanksgiving.
Norcup misses the challenge of strategizing to score deals.