Early Black Friday Deals Have Moved Online, But They're Still Not Worth the Stress

Early Black Friday Deals Have Moved Online, But They’re Still Not Worth the Stress

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I knew it was going to be competitive (anything that has a set start time, as this did, was bound to be), but I was ready. I set an alarm for five minutes before the sale, then another for a minute before. I had my credit card ready to go. And when the deal went live, I added it to my cart in a flash, punched in my payment information, and feverishly hit “complete order.”

We’re sorry, this item has sold out.

Have online early Black Friday doorbuster deals always sold out so quickly?

What happened to me last year is nothing new. Doorbuster deals have been around long before the advent of online shopping, and big box stores like Walmart have been teasing great deals for the first few people through the doors since forever. They pretty much turned Black Friday into what we know it as today. At least striking out online in your own home is more comfortable than risking injury the moment the glass doors slide open and the crowd surges forward.

“We noticed this trend last year. Walmart advertised truly stunning Black Friday prices for select items online—they’re effectively web doorbusters,” says Wirecutter Deals editor Nathan Burrow. “The prices are legitimate, but the stock quantities available must be exceedingly small, because the products sell out in seconds.”

Finding early Black Friday flash sales

It’s already happened again this year. On Oct. 22, Walmart teased an incredibly good deal on a probably-not-so-great TV, offering the onn. 43” Class 4K UHD LED Roku Smart TV HDR for just $88. There was so much hype around this deal, we assume that’s why searches for Walmart were trending on Google. Four different people we know tried to buy the TV (though Wirecutter has never tested this TV and therefore doesn’t recommend it). Only one succeeded in adding it to his cart, but it was gone before he could even reach for his wallet.

Though these flash sales are tantalizing, the Wirecutter Deals team will never make a big deal about them (see what I did there?). Generally speaking, doorbuster deals are not usually on Wirecutter picks, Apple Watch notwithstanding. But more importantly, we know they’ll sell out too fast to make it worthwhile for most people. Our job is to find the best, most reliable deals. And an untested TV that sells out in thirty second is just not it.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t try if you’re so inclined. Walmart is planning many more of these flash doorbuster deals in the runup to Black Friday 2020, the next just two weeks away. On November 4, Walmart is teasing a truly excellent deal on the Eufy 25C Wi-Fi RoboVac (an acceptable variant of a Wirecutter robot vacuum pick), offering it for only $99. They plan to release the deal at 7pm ET and we don’t expect the deal to last a minute.

Why do retailers like Walmart do this when it just leads to shoppers’ frustration? Well, that much is clear: They dangle a too-good-to-be-true deal to lure you to their store (or to their website) and once you’re there, they posit that you’ll buy other items whether you were able to nab the elusive doorbuster or not.

And it worked. After striking out with the Apple Watch, I licked my wounds and bought an Instant Pot, an electric hand mixer, and a pair of gloves instead.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The NY Times
Keyword: Early Black Friday Deals Have Moved Online, But They’re Still Not Worth the Stress

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