fter stuffing themselves silly with turkey, many Americans jet over to their nearest Walmart or Best Buy to take advantage of Black Friday — the busiest shopping day of the year thanks to retailers dramatically slashing prices to kick off the holiday shopping season. And while a few salivating deal-hunters have already been pitching tents since Monday, for the rest of us, braving the mob can be a torturous exercise in human depravity. To make matters worse, many so-called "bargains" end up not really being bargains at all. While some items like electronics and DVDs see heavy markdowns, they're merely ploys to lure sleep-deprived shoppers into big-box stores, which surreptitiously price broader merchandise at "levels that won't kill profits," says Dana Mattioli at The Wall Street Journal. Which not-so-discounted products should you avoid like the plague? Here, seven deals that aren't really deals at all:
Unlike electronics, "most retailers hold off on discounting holiday toys given the expected surge in demand," says Quentin Fottrell at MarketWatch. While many will be discounted on Black Friday, prices don't really bottom out until two weeks before Christmas, says Emily Dovi at DealNews. Resist the temptation of getting your holiday shopping out of the way and hold out till midway through December.
2. The latest digital cameras
The product cycle for top-of-the-line cameras isn't in line with the holiday shopping season. Companies tend to reveal new iterations, like digital SLRs, closer to February, so if you're in the market for a new camera it's best to hold off. If you wait until then, you'll have two options: You can get your hands on the newest model, or pick up that older version you were already eyeing — now at a cheaper price.
3. Winter clothes
It can be tempting to spring for winter jackets and boots after shivering in the cold while waiting in line. But your wallet will actually be better served if you wait until the end of January, when retailers hold clearance sales to make room for their spring collections. Discounts on top brands can save you up to 70 percent.
4. Jewelry and watches
"The worst time to buy these items is the holiday season and Valentine's Day, when demand peaks," says Jill Scheslinger at CBS News. If you want to get your significant other something glitzy for the best bargain possible, hold out for the spring and summer.
5. Name brand TVs
"Hot items" like flat-screens become more expensive the closer you get to Christmas, says the Journal's Mattioli. Prices tend to bottom out in October when demand is lowest. According to Decide Inc., a consumer-price research firm, a Samsung 46-inch "Professional" LCD television was $1,159 in October versus $1,355 on Black Friday. If you really want a heavily discounted TV, stick with off-brands. Unfortunately, to get your hands on these "doorbusters" you'll probably have to be among the first in line — but beware, the sets are oftentimes of questionable quality.
Tablets "do not seem to be getting sizable Black Friday discounts," says MarketWatch's Fottrell. Staples is selling the 16GB Google Nexus 7 for $199 and a 32GB model for $249, but you can get those same prices directly from Google's online store. Apple's iPads rarely see price reductions, although the company surprised consumers last Black Friday when it offered a $41 to $61 discount on older models.
7. Unbundled game consoles
Skip Xboxes and PlayStations unless they come bundled with premium accessories and two or three game titles, says DealNews' Dovi, which give you "more bang for your buck." Research shows that these special holiday packages typically save you 30 to 40 percent off standard retail prices.
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