As stores up the ante with earlier holiday hours that creep into Thanksgiving night, Black Friday is turning into Black Thursday.
But here's a Black Friday reality: most shoppers waiting for hours in front of the stores will not bag the best offers that appear in store circulars.
The fine print on some Black Friday flyers this year show stores have as few as five of the sale items in stock. quantities as low as a minimum of five per store on some models of plasma TVs and popular brands of home appliances such as a washer and dryer set made by Kenmore.
Local retailers have their own policy when it comes to those units. Sears is offering a 55-inch Samsung LED TV for $1,099.99. The circular claims it's a savings of $1,000 off the regular price. But the $2,099.99 price is the MSRP, and not what the television has been selling for recently.
According to the product review site cnet.com, the average price for the same exact Samsung TV at other retailers is $1,434.34. So Sears' $1,099.99 price is a good deal, but isn't necessarily the $1,000 savings you may think you're getting.
NBC Connecticut visited the Sears in West Hartford and asked for the unit, the savings, and how many of the exact TV the store has in stock. "For the super-super deep savings? The higher the savings, the more limited the quantity, I’m going to say that those are going to be limited under ten units" said Todd Swingle, Sears store manager.
We also asked about the Kenmore washer and dryer advertised at $469 dollars each. How may does the Sears have in stock?
“Four. That’s going to be 4, yeah very limited” Swingle said.
“Most retailers are trying to attract people in their store by providing bargains that are not going to be available to many customers” said William Rubenstein, Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner.
Experts suggest downloading price comparison apps to your smart phone. That way you can scan bar codes, and check for better prices while in the store.
“The price actually is a bargain, there’s a lots of ways which consumers can research on the web, or comparing other advertisements to understand whether or not the bargain they think they getting is really a bargain” Rubenstein said.
“Black Friday is marketed as the one day where everything is at the most discounted they can be, but that’s not always true,” said Carlos Brantly, a former retail worker.
For a list of holiday shopping tips from the Department of Consumer Protection, click here.