Black Friday 2009

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Early Black Friday Deals Lucrative As Ever

Graphic: Chip Taylor
It's doubtful that the day after Thanksgiving will ever stand for anything but early wake-ups, long lines at big box stores and psychopathic shoppers, but still plenty of early Black Friday deals can be had right now.

Pre-Black Friday sales for tech products began earlier this month and haven't let up, both online and in stores. Online retailer NewEgg has a Web page listing all of its early deals, including a 46-inch Toshiba 1080p HDTV for $799 and a 22-inch Asus monitor for $130 after a $20 mail-in rebate. MacMall is scraping a little bit off the price of MacBooks in a 96-hour sale, going on now. And this week, Amazon is giving out $50 gift cards when you purchase a Wii and Wii Fit Plus with Balance Board for $300.

In stores, Wal-Mart is leading the early Black Friday charge with weekly and daily deals. Starting Saturday and running until Black Friday itself, you can get a 26-inch Vizio 720p HDTV for $248, a 28 percent savings. And if you buy any of the latest "Hero" video games -- Guitar Hero 5, DJ Hero or Band Hero -- you'll get a $40 gift card.

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Best Buy's approach is a little more modest. If you poke around the retailer's Web site, you'll find some deals, like this offer for $695 to $935 off a Sony V Series HDTV when you buy a Sony 1080p Blu-ray player. Today only, Best Buy is selling a Garmin Nuvi 285W GPS for $170, an $80 discount. Neither of those deals are specifically called early Black Friday savings, but they might as well be.

There's definitely a chicken-and-egg situation at play here. According to sales projections from the National Retail Federation and Deloitte, holiday sales will be better than last year, but still dismal. All it takes is one retailer to start throwing out some deals, and all the others are forced to follow suit, lest they miss out on sales in November. The retail industry's paranoia is, of course, your gain, so you may not have to brave the cold morning weather, the lines and the aforementioned crazy shoppers after all.

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