Black Friday frenzy has already hit the streets, with deal-obsessed shoppers pitching tents outside of Best Buy stores across the country. But today (Nov. 20), bargain site DealNews released a warning to holiday shoppers that some so-called deals may not be deals at all.
"We refer to these promotions as 'filler deals' because they're nothing more than fluff adjacent to the real meat of Black Friday sales," Naomi Mannino, wrote on DealNews.com.
Filler deals are advertised right alongside doorbusters, items that are offered at prices usually below cost and in limited supply. The idea, as the name implies, is to tempt crowds of shoppers to a store. When advertised specials run out, stores rely on the fact that few shoppers will leave empty-handed, and that the items they buy, such as the filler deals, will be profitable to the retailer.
The most common filler deals include gift sets, holiday products, private label merchandise and specially created bundles. Why? Because these items are not sold anywhere else, so assessing the value of a discount is difficult because there's no one-for-one equivalent to compare to, DealNews said.
However, big-brand items are popular lures as well. And you can check prices on these items even when you're in the midst of Black Friday crowds. Smartphone users can use an app to compare prices by scanning the barcode or snapping a photo.
READ MORE: 4 New Tools for Black Friday Shopping ]
But even an ordinary cellphone with a simple browser can do the trick. Type in the item number in Google Search and look at the Shopping results.
Better yet, make a list, stick to it and do your research before you start shopping. If you're pining for a shiny red KitchenAid mixer, check prices before you leave the house, so you're not fooled by an end-aisle sale sign. And remember, good deals will continue through the holiday shopping period — this is not your last chance.