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Hey there listeners. It’s Brett Molina. Welcome back to Talking Tech. Happy Thanksgiving. I’m sure by now you either dived fork first into turkey and stuffing and all that fun stuff, or you’re waiting for your turkey to cook. Either way, I hope you are enjoying the holiday. Tomorrow, though, is going to be a big one if you are getting ready to start shopping for the holidays. It’s Black Friday. This is where you get deals coming from everywhere, whether it’s stores, in-store, or whether it’s online through places like Amazon and Walmart, and countless other retailers. It’s going to be super busy. And of course, the thing you want to do most is find those perfect gifts for your loved ones, while also maybe saving a little money too. Joining us now to talk more about this and to help you save and find the gifts that you want for this holiday is USA Today Consumer Reporter Kelly Tyko. Kelly, thanks so much for being here.
Well, thanks for having me. It’s a big day, a big week, lots of shopping to be had, and lots to be looking for. This year, it’s, again, a very different holiday season. Black Friday officially started Sunday at some stores, last Friday at Best Buy. They have a whole week of deals. So, I guess my top advice would be to start shopping early. So we’re a little late there, but there are still plenty of deals to be had. There’s still a lot of shopping. It’s just, this year’s different with the supply chain disruptions. There’s limited capacity. Last year, you couldn’t find a Xbox and PlayStation. This year’s some of the same. You’ll see the same. You’ll have the same issues this year as well. So if you really want one of those, GameStop might be one of your options. They’re opening Thanksgiving, some of their locations. I haven’t seen their Black Friday at yet, but last year we had a lot of campouts at GameStop.
So I know with last year, on Black Friday, we were still in the middle of a pandemic. And so, we saw a lot of retailers shift their deals online and start offering them much earlier. This year with the supply chain issues and things going on with inflation, you know, what’s going to be different about shopping this Black Friday?
Well, I think a lot of it’s the same where this year, more deals are online than in-store. So Walmart had the PlayStation and the Xbox online on Monday. They started their online sale Monday, except for the Xbox Series S, which will be available in stores while supplies last on Friday at Walmart. They are not going to have the PS5 or the Xbox Series X. That’s an online-only deal, the online-only offer. It’s still full price, but it’s an online offer. And those sold out really fast. They opened that up for Walmart Plus members. So you had to buy the membership to get early access to the sale. And I tested it out. I tried getting one for our team, and it didn’t work out. They sold out really fast. So this year, Walmart’s plan was to get shoppers to shop early. One way was Walmart Plus members got early access.
So what are some other ways that shoppers can save money this season?
Well, rewards programs, always use a rewards program. Like, Kohl’s is one of the stores I shop the most at during Black Friday. I have the Kohl’s rewards program on my phone. I’m logged in. I’ll get Kohl’s Cash for my purchases. I’ll get rebates. And there are coupons to be used too. So there are multiple ways to save together. Now, like if I shop at Target, I’m using my Target Red Card. I save 5%. If you don’t have a Red Card, use the Target Circle rewards program, which is free. You earn 1% back on your purchases using Target Circle. Use rewards programs. Look for coupons. They might not just automatically give you the coupon when you’re checking out in the store, but ask if you don’t have one.
So, you know, one thing that always jumped out, anytime we talk about Black Friday, and I feel like every time you watch news about Black Friday on TV, for example. You always see the people that are crowding up in front of stores and waiting for those deals to pop through. And it felt like with COVID last year and the pandemic, that went away. Do you feel like that kind of experience is gone for good now?
Well, I went to multiple stores last year at Black Friday. I was at Best Buy when they opened at 5:00, and they did have a long line, socially distanced line outside. So it wasn’t like the shoppers did not line up. I went to the mall around that same time, and I could walk around that mall, and I wouldn’t run into many people in that mall. Like some stores didn’t have any lines lining up to get in. You know, some stores require lines on a daily basis. They limit the number of shoppers. So there are still COVID restrictions in place, some places.
Like, in some states, you’ll need your vaccine card to go shopping. Some stores require masks depending on the store. Sometimes it’s by the state, by the mall. There’s variations, so I do think it’s very different. Last year was the quietest Black Friday in 20 years. I think that more people are going to show up this year because they missed out online. And that’s a way to, maybe, get the items that were sold out. You might be able to find it in-store when they put more items out. You know, a lot of the sales, though, have already been going on. So that’s one reason there will be limited supplies if you haven’t already started your shopping.
Great stuff, as always, Kelly. Thanks so much for being here, and hope to have you back on soon.
Listeners, let’s hear from you. Do you have any comments, questions, or show ideas? You can find me on Twitter @brettmolina23. Please don’t forget to subscribe and rate us, and leave a review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, anywhere you get your podcasts. You’ve been listening to Talking Tech. We’ll be back tomorrow with another quick hit from the world of tech.