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Larry Blustein

Hunting For A Bargain


By Larry Blustein
   Okay, how many of you are going to get up early the day after Thanksgiving and take advantage of the “Black Friday” specials?
   Wait a minute, that is too three years ago. Let’s re-phrase that question. How many of you will be departing for your local shopping establishment, moments after you have eaten the pies and said your goodbyes to friends and family?
   What began as a few bargain hunters heading out and getting a jump on the holiday spending season right after the turkey had been digested, has now become full fledged holiday in its own.
   You heard right, from the moment that turkey hits the table, you are now officially on the clock. Thanksgiving Day specials, once though a foolish thing to do, has now expanded – as the gall of these companies to stay open while the footballs are flying on TV, along with parades that used to fill the mornings.
   “Has gotten way out of hand,” Casey Crozier of Dania Beach, said on Sunday as she shopped at Publix in east Hollywood. “But unless you play by the rules that are changing every year, you just may be missing out on something grand.”
   What is so grand that would get people to a mall, strip shopping center or free-standing building at crazy hours of the morning – or even on all sacred food holidays like Thanksgiving?
   “A TV,” Oliver Lampier said. “Last year, we waited on line at Brandsmart for 15 hours to get a 55-inch TV for $799.00. “They were only giving away 10 at that price at each store.”
   What about Ikea? Last year, the Scandinavian home furnishing giant was giving away free couches to the first five at each store. Okay, so you are not standing in line for half a day to get a TV or a couch. But if you are a consumer, this weekend, yes, Thursday through Sunday, will find enough hooks and lures to get you in the store.
   Pamela Jones works at a Hollywood pet store, and as someone who went through this rush last year, she can tell you that it’s not just the malls and places such as Target and Walmart that will have parking lots overflowing this weekend.
   Pet stores are perhaps the busiest through the entire holiday season. From adopting a pet to making food and toy purchases, there is no getting around this trillion dollar industry.
   “You would be surprised how many people take advantage of our holiday specials this weekend,” she said. “Toys are huge, and we have array of holiday stockings that are filled with snacks and toys that pet owners go crazy over.”
   Indeed, anywhere you go in southern Broward and northern Miami-Dade, there are going to be businesses – throughout all the cities – that will be having great bargain busters. It’s up to you as a consumer to hunt them down, and as anyone will tell you that if you do enough research, it’s amazing how many deals that you will find.
   There is also something that you have to keep an ear out for, and that’s the unadvertised specials. Whether they are at large stores or the local “mom & pop” businesses, there are always things that will get you in the door – like discounted meals at restaurants in the region that may partner with a local chain store.
   “When we went to Aventura Mall last year, there was a restaurant that is usually not open early in the morning that was serving $3.99 breakfasts to those who came in,” Jaime Taylor said. “Those are the types of things that you look for.”

   While we look at a way, especially in this often sluggish economy to find a way to help spike things locally, by spending at businesses and restaurants in your community, there are some national stores that will certainly make up a major portion of the pie.
   This year, there are some national chains that can help you save locally. But keep in mind that just because a retailer promotes a certain product as a ‘deal,’ consumers shouldn’t take that at face value. Here are a few to check out:
Apple, AT&T, Best Buy, Dell, eBay, GameStop, H.H. Gregg, Microsoft Store, RadioShack, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.

   From Aeropostale to Belk, Burlington Coat Factory, Old Navy, Tommy Hilfiger, Victoria Secret, Home Depot, IKEA, Lowe’s and Big Lots, there will be some deals to be had, but do your research.
   You will also find great deals at Costco, Dollar General. Family Dollar, Bass Pro Shops, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sports Authority, Babies R Us, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Office Depot, Staples, Barnes & Noble, Guitar Center, Jo-Ann, Michaels, Pep Boys, Petco and PetSmart.
    Happy holidays, enjoy your dinner and go and save some money.