I would rather lick a dirty sidewalk than camp out all night for a “doorbuster deal” on Black Friday. OK, that’s a bit dramatic and totally gross, but you get the point. Holidays are for precious family time, not for combat couponing with sales-rabid, sharp-elbowed strangers. 

Is there any way to get in on doorbuster deals without the chaos of the holiday crowds? This year, more than ever, the answer is an emphatic “yes,” according to several people “on the inside.” We spoke with current and former employees of Target, Walmart, Best Buy, GameStop and even eBay to get a handful of holiday shopping secrets most retailers don’t really want you to know. Here’s what we found. 

Black Friday laptop leaks

Thanks to endless ad leaks, we already know there will be some incredible markdowns on PCs on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But according to former Best Buy manager Chris Roberts, “The lowest price-point laptops are rarely the best value for your dollar.” 

Laptops are like cars and what’s under the hood matters. Those crazy doorbuster deals – $100, $200 even $300 laptops – often mean subpar screen quality, no storage to speak of and processors from the flip-phone era. 

Lenovo C940

Example

Several people mentioned the Lenovo Yoga C940. It’s a stellar new 2-in-1 with a gorgeous 14-inch 4K touchscreen display, speedy 512GB SSD and impressive all-day battery life. Sales on the company’s site have already started, and on Black Friday, its $1,750 price tag is getting slashed by $450, making it $1,300.

Game the bundles 

Thanksgiving week is a great time to level up on gaming gadgets, “especially when it comes to bundling and getting more for less,” says GameStop’s Matt Koch, head of stores for the Southeast region. For a PS4 or Xbox specifically, console-plus-games bundles are often better deals than standalone console discounts. Also look for savings on gaming accessories such as keyboards, monitors, headsets and graphics cards.

Screengrab of GameStop's Holiday Hub website

Example

You can get $100 or more off of some of the most popular gaming consoles including the PlayStation 4 (1TB) Three-Game Bundle and the Xbox One S Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Deluxe bundle. If you want to layer additional savings here, Koch advises people to trade in old gadgets, get cash and bookmark retailers’ specific holiday-special sites like GameStop.com/GiftIdeas. Koch calls this a “secret backdoor to savings” no else one really knows about. 

Streaming deals

I was surprised to find streaming services topping the list of techy must-haves. Normally we see more headphones or tablets in those coveted spots, but this year, content is king, and gifting a streaming service is a unique way to personalize a gift for someone who’s notoriously tough to shop for. 

MotorTrend On Demand

Example

There’s a 50% discount off of MotorTrend On Demand. It’s a streaming channel loaded with live auto shows and races, plus more than 8,000 episodes of all things awesomely automotive, like “American Chopper,” “Overhaulin’” and “Top Gear.” As of publication time, the site for this deal wasn’t live – it begins Nov. 25 – but the deal runs from Nov. 25 to Jan. 2 via MotorTrend.com/Holiday.

Doorbusters for Dummies

Doorbuster deals on TVs look mighty appealing from afar, but that doesn’t mean the sets themselves are worth your money. “Most people just want something big, they don’t care as much about color contrast, dynamic range and black levels,” Roberts says. “They just want a 75-inch that says 4K on the box. They spend hundreds of bucks on all the cheap stuff, not knowing that it tends to be disposable.” 





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