Action 9: Is Black Friday shopping worth fighting the crowds

by: Jason Stoogenke Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - It's not even Black Friday, but many stores are already open.  But with so many deals online, is there any reason to hit the stores in person??
 
Leslie Elias calls herself the "Queen" of Black Friday.
 
She said she takes "a nap after Thanksgiving dinner and, then, get up and go."  She shops in the middle of the night and is back home before the sun even comes up Friday.  Shanda Williams said her family "normally gets up about 6 or 7 in the morning and wait in line for like hours at a time."
 
But you won't find shopping expert-- and deal guru -- Kyle James fighting those crowds.
 
"This whole idea of having the stand in line for one of these deals is kind of a thing of the past," he said.  James writes the blog, Rather-Be-Shopping.com.
 
 And he'll probably do most of his shopping from, well, his home computer.  He says most deals are the same whether you shop on the Web or in person.
 
He said the best deals are usually last season's clothes and housewares.
 
"Pots, pans, kitchen stuff, small appliances, you know, toasters, blenders, coffee makers.  They don't get all the hype, but some the deals on that stuff is pretty amazing."
 
He said the worst deals are typically electronics. He says the hype isn't usually worth it, that, if you aren't buying a TV to give as a gift, and can wait, you'll save more around the Super Bowl, after the consumer electronics show and the new models come out.
 
"You're going to see better deals on higher quality TVs,” he said.
 
He also says, if you can hold off on buying toys a few more days, you'll find better deals the two weeks leading up to Christmas.  He also says always look for coupons.  His website, Rather-Be-Shopping.com, offers coupons for roughly 800 stores.  You can also go to websites like Freeshipping.com.
 
If you're shopping online, ready to buy something, but don't see a coupon, see if you can "live chat" with the website's representative. Tell that person you really want to finish your order "today," but can't find a coupon. Ask if he or she can help?  If not, ask for free shipping.