Why go to the store when you can buy online on Black Friday?

Why haul your turkey-bloated bodies out into the frigid Minnesota cold to line up for hours and then fight it out with throngs of shoppers for the same TV?
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Is the long wait in the cold worth the deals?

Is the long wait in the cold worth the deals?

"Don't knock it till you try it" is a phrase I tend to agree with.

Not when it comes to lining up for Black Friday sales though (or space travel – just not for me).

No judgement on the millions who head to the stores after Thanksgiving dinner, or at the crack of dawn on Black Friday itself, but I don't think I've ever wanted something that badly.

When there's a "must-have" new product that is in limited supply – as we've seen in recent weeks with the Nintendo Classic Mini NES – I can see why people make the effort to camp out to get their hands on it.

But for Black Friday sales, particularly ones that start on Thanksgiving, just go online.

Why haul your turkey-bloated bodies out into the frigid Minnesota cold to line up for hours and then fight it out with throngs of shoppers for the same TV? Especially when you can buy from the comfort of your own sofa while knocking back a beer and watching the football?

Now, there are certain stores where it's worth lining up (more on that below), but even the so-called "doorbuster" deals are now increasingly available through a retailer's website.

I spoke to Best Buy, which has one of the bigger Black Friday sales, and a spokesperson told me that "most" of the doorbuster deals will be available online. USA Today reports Target is the same, though it notes that some stores –

Sure, there will be a few that aren't online, and you could miss out on those. But – particularly with electronics – there are so many alternative products and retailers out there that even if you end up spending a few more bucks, it's almost worth it for the convenience of buying from home instead of shivering for hours.

Not convinced? Here's why you should join me with the online buy-fest that will be Thanksgiving/Black Friday – and some tips before you shop.

There's more choice online

If you're heading to the store, you've pretty much got to put all your eggs in one basket.

Online you've got a wealth of Black Friday deals at your fingertips.

If you're buying Christmas gifts, it's unlikely you'll do that all at one store, so sticking online can mean you take advantage of multiple deals within a short timeframe.

You can do your research

When you find a deal at a specific online store, check around to see if it's just as cheap anywhere else. That way you have a back-up if the inventory runs out at the first place.

It could also be that some of the non-doorbuster products have been on sale before for a similar price, or even cheaper, and it's worth checking this out to see whether you're getting a real bargain, or being ripped off.

And although it might require a little extra effort before Black Friday, I'd go take a look in-store at the items you plan on buying so at least you know what you're getting, rather than buying it "blind" online when the sales start.

To make this as efficient as possible, try and fit it in to one of your regular shopping trips.

Get started on Thanksgiving, or even earlier

I don't know about you, but my wife's mom will be doing most of the cooking on Thanksgiving morning, and while as a dutiful son-in-law I'll offer to help, she'll ultimately politely decline and shoo me away, leaving me at a loose end.

Given that Black Friday deals will be launched on Thanksgiving (or sometimes even before), I'll be using this time to make my purchases if they're available.

This will leave me free to enjoy the rest of Thanksgiving and Black Friday in a merry haze.

The counter-arguments

While I may have a miserly, Scrooge-like attitude to lining up at stores, there are a few good arguments to choose it over shopping online.

Clothing is one.

I mean, you CAN still a load of Black Friday clothes online if you want, particularly if you follow the "do your research" tip above. But I don't know, I think I would actually prefer the lining up on Black Friday to buy clothes that I can try on and know will fit me rather than buying it online and risking the obnoxious process of sending it back.

And BestBlackFriday.com makes a point that for some families, Black Friday shopping has become a tradition and its execution an exciting, planned-through venture, and I can see the appeal in that.

It also says the in-store deals and doorbusters offer better discounts than you find online, but as I said earlier, you'll have to weigh up whether it's worth your time.

Me? I'll take the couch.

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