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Buyer beware, not all Black Friday deals are really deals

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Black Friday shopping is a craze because consumers want to save as much money as possible on gifts or other items they’ve waited to purchase on sale. But some items may actually be more expensive on Black Friday.

According to an analysis of several popular purchases, more than 17 percent of the items evaluated by WalletHub were actually more expensive for the day after Thanksgiving this year than they are regularly priced.

WalletHub lists ten specific items studied where half of the items were actually more expensive the day after Thanksgiving. Those include things like bikes and motorized scooters.

The Razor brand McGrath Dirt Rocket Electric Motocross Bike sells for $299. The Black Friday price for that item is $419.97, according to WalletHub. That means someone purchasing the bike the day after Thanksgiving would pay more than $120 more for the item than if they purchased it at another time.

An Allen Sports aluminum folding bicycle sells regularly for $182.55 while the Black Friday price is $268.57, a difference of more than $85.

The analysis found similar trends at other major retailers across the U.S., but not to the same degree as the Amazon findings. For example, WalletHub lists five items at Kohl’s that are more expensive on Black Friday, but the difference for most items is negligible. A Seiko Men’s watch, for example, costs 12-cents more on Black Friday than at other times during the year.

And these findings don’t negate the face that there are great sales out there consumers can take advantage of. Panasonic offers a 3D massage chair regularly priced at more than $5,000 for just $3,000. And a $3,200 65” smart TV is discounted nearly $700 for Black Friday.

The resonating point is, while consumers can stand to save a lot of money on some purchases, not everything is a bargain just because a sign says “sale.”

According to Marianne Bickle, professor and chair of the department of retailing at the University of South Carolina, electronics often carry the deepest discounts – especially at big box stores. Other stores also offer good savings on clothing and accessories on what she describes as an hourly basis. That means stores may advertise items discounted at half off during the early morning hours and have the savings taper off during the day.

And Gail Tom, professor of marketing at California State University, gives consumers the benefit of the doubt in understanding how to identify deals. She encourages consumer preparation to take full advantage of Black Friday deals.

“…Prior product research as well as consideration of the purpose of the purchase – for oneself of for gift giving puts the consumer in a position to take advantage of the event.”

The results of the WalletHub study used advertised prices between October 26 and November 19 to determine the pre-Black Friday prices used for analysis. In some instances there were more than one advertised price. In those instances, the study used the lower of the two.

The analysis does not represent all Amazon Black Friday deals, as the online retailer did not provide all of the requested information on its day after Thanksgiving sales.

Information on other retailers was gathered through the website, BlackFriday.com.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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