Black Friday Layaway

Black Friday, the huge “shopping day” that takes place the day after Thanksgiving, as well as Cyber Monday for online retailers, is a chance for consumers to snag some major deals. However, not everyone has the cash to take advantage of these sales. Layaway offers a chance to lock down low prices while allowing the buyer to pay for the goods over the course of several weeks — in time for Christmas and Hanukkah.

Best Buy recently began offering layaway in some of its locations, and the chain electronics retailer is also known for its big Doorbuster sales (and long lines) on Black Friday. Kmart and Sears offer layaway as well. Toys R Us offers it on “big toys,” video game hardware, furniture and various other categories of items. Other stores with layaway in some locations include: Burlington Coat Factory, TJ Maxx, Boscov’s and Meijer.

Even if a store offers layaway as a form of deferred billing, it might exclude deeply discounted Black Friday merchandise as a “special purchase” or via another exclusion. By calling ahead, before the sale, you may be able to find out the policy for the store(s) you plan to patronize. Be sure to ask for a manager if a clerk sounds unsure, and it couldn’t hurt to get a name or employee number, too.

Be sure to get to the store early. You’ll probably have to fight the crowds, as quantities are often limited.

Some shoppers have tried a strategy of previewing Black Friday ads, going to the store and placing those items on layaway, and then on Black Friday asking for a price adjustment to the sale price. (Or even paying the fee to cancel the layaway and then turning around and buying the item at the Black Friday price). These techniques have had mixed results, and some shoppers had posted in online forums that Kmart actually closed its layaway department on Black Friday. However, in recent years Sears and Kmart have sent out a joint press release listing their Black Friday deals and assuring that “holiday shoppers can take advantage of layaway … in store and online, making it easy for them to purchase great merchandise now — including all ‘Black Friday’ deals.”

Black Friday isn’t the only time shoppers might be able to use layaway programs to take advantage of special sales. Labor Day sales, back to school sales and other special shopping days are also opportunities to maximize your money.

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