On Black Friday some door-buster prices are super low, but only a few shoppers are early enough to nab them. My hat's off to retailers that cast their nets wide by offering storewide discounts. Magers & Quinn Booksellers (3038 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., 612-822-4611, www.magersandquinn.com) discounts all of its new and used books 20 percent from 1 to 9 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. Being open on Thanksgiving is a sore subject this year, but owner Denny Magers has been open on turkey day since 2005. "We have a smaller crew, shorter hours, no one works who doesn't want to, and all get paid overtime," he said. Magers added the Thanksgiving hours after several employees said they weren't doing anything on Thanksgiving anyway.
Electric Fetus (2000 4th Av. S., Mpls., 612-870-9300, www.electricfetus.com) also offers 20 percent off storewide, including new and used CDs, LPs, DVDs and its snarky gift section Friday and Saturday.
Saks Off Fifth (655 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-333-7200) wins the prize for the best storewide Black Friday sale -- 40 percent off everything, including clearance, from 7 a.m. to noon. Forty percent off is a generous discount, considering that most items are already discounted at the outlet. And parking meters are free downtown on the day after Thanksgiving.
This is the last Black Friday sale at Brand Name Deals liquidation (1000 E. Moore Lake Dr., Fridley, 763-572-9800, www.brandnamedeals.com), which is closing soon. All LED, LCD and plasma TVs get an additional 10 to 20 percent discount on Friday and netbooks start at $125. On Saturday check out the new shipment of laptops starting at $149. Check all electronics carefully as all sales are final.Your credit card can save you money
If you're buying new electronics for Christmas, you'll probably get a pitch for extended warranty or in the case of a cellphone, damage protection. Most consumer experts don't recommend them, but if you want extra protection without extra expense, check with your credit card. Many cards offer automatic free purchase protection that reimburses you if an item is damaged within 90 days or less. Many cards also double the manufacturer's warranty up to 12 months, another free service. These protections are even available on items given as gifts. While American Express used to be the only one offering such protection, now many MasterCard and Visa cards do, too. Some Visa and MasterCard cards from Chase and Citi also offer price protection if the cost drops sharply on an item you recently bought.Don't wait for these
Amid all the Black Friday hubbub, maybe it's easier to mention who is not having a sale. Both Manhattan Toy Co., the maker of Groovy Girls, and Illume Candles, formerly Starlight, are not having clearance sales this year. As retailers and manufacturers get leaner in their well-managed inventories, the number of overstock sales will diminish. That's good news for retailers but not so great for bargain hunters.