ConsumerWatch Team Tracks Down True Holiday Bargains

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(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – Black Friday is just around the corner and, as you’ve probably noticed, companies are advertising earlier store hours, which means company employees will have to leave their Thanksgiving dinners earlier as well.

Along with lower prices and bigger deals, employee backlash has become a post-Turkey Day theme for this year. Stores like GAP, Old Navy, and Wal-Mart are opening Thanksgiving Day and others have decided to open at midnight on Black Friday. Doors opening hours earlier than years before have prompted the grassroots movement known as “Respect the Bird.”

The group’s website asks consumers to take the pledge to not shop on Black Friday – to reclaim the holiday and to take the focus away from what it calls “commercialism.”

But whether the employees like it or not, stores will still be open and a slew of sales are rolling out. How can you be sure you’re getting the lowest price?

ConsumerWatch volunteers have been working to track down the best deals. On Tuesday, shoppers were encouraged to call the ConsumerWatch hotline at 888-5-HELPS-U from 5-7:30 pm to ask our own panel of shopping experts how you can get your number one must-have for cheap!

Some of our panel members have some high tech-help in finding the best deals:

Chris Garlotta, Co-Founder of Zingsale.com

You might think the best prices are only on Black Friday, but that isn’t always the case. Zingsale tracks the fluctuation of prices over time so you can see when prices might drop again and what other trends may be influencing the current price of an item. Even better, you can sign up for an email alert that will tell you when the price of a product drops to the point you want.

Cam Bowman, Money-saving Blogger for FrugalDay.com

The Frugal Day is your guide to simply saving yourself some money. The site shares with its viewers coupons, special offers, and money-saving tips for more responsible shopping. Bowman has posted on the site Frugal Day’s most requested Black Friday deals and a comparison for the best prices: a KitchenAid mixer, a Keurig coffee machine, a children’s play kitchen, and Dyson vacuum cleaners.

Julia Wessels, Deal-expert for TheFrugalFind.com

The Frugal Find is a blog that seems to do it all. The blog compares prices, list Black Friday deals, and busts and debunks bad deals. The Frugal Find is currently listing a slew of Black Friday deals from electronics to clothing and even the best prices for turkey. Wessels told ConsumerWatch that consumers should watch out for inflated prices around this time of year. Some retailers will inflate “original” prices to make it look like a better deal when it’s on sale, but if you do some snooping, you can find your wanted item for cheaper somewhere else. Frugal Find has compared a bunch of Black Friday ads here and an ad for a great price on a KitchenAid mixer.

 Allison Jones, Social Media Manager for Ebates

Ebates is a site that allows you to earn rewards while you shop, whether it’s in the form of a check or a transfer to your PayPal account. While giving you coupons and great steals, you can earn cash back while you shop, literally paying you to save. Ebates has also done its homework on Black Friday, commissioning a survey that shows the shoppers won’t be so excited to shop, at least not in stores. The survey found 87% of Americans won’t be shopping this weekend and will mostly buy in December. 80% will buy online and one in three will be spending less than last year.

Check out these other great Black Friday shopping links:

Black Friday Tips and Deals

Social Networking Black Friday App, Black Flyday

Barcode-Scanning App, ShopSavvy

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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