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Your Black Friday 2019 survival guide

Get through post-Thanksgiving shopping in one piece

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London Stores Advertise Their Black Friday Events Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images

Black Friday, that annual post-Thanksgiving helping of deals and discounts, is almost here, bringing plenty of sales on popular tech like video game consoles and 4K TVs. The sheer amount of products on offer tends to get overwhelming, especially in the midst of holiday travel and family gatherings. Polygon will be on hand throughout Black Friday to keep you up to date on the best deals the internet has to offer.

But before the shopping marathon commences, we’re answering some pressing questions and offering expert advice on how to have a (relatively) stress-free Black Friday.

When does Black Friday start?

Technically Black Friday refers to the day after Thanksgiving — this year it’s Nov. 29. However, the Christmas creep comes for us all, and Black Friday is no different. Big box retailers have started opening doors as early as 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. For those who’d rather spend that Thursday evening in a turkey coma on the couch, of course, nearly all of the deals available in stores are also available online.

Here are the announced Black Friday hours for most major stores:

  • GameStop: 3 p.m. – 10 p.m. Thursday; 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. Friday
  • Target: 5 p.m. – 1 a.m. Thursday; doors open 7 a.m. Friday
  • Walmart: doors open 6 p.m. Thursday
  • Best Buy: 5 p.m. – 1 a.m. Thursday; doors open 8 a.m. Friday
  • Kohl’s: doors open 5 p.m. Thursday

If brick-and-mortar stores are doing the Black Friday creep, Amazon is smashing through the Black Friday wall like the Kool-Aid Man. Amazon’s Black Friday sales kick off a full week early, starting on Nov. 22. However, the main event is still Black Friday itself, so when we can expect most of Amazon’s deals to drop on the 28th and 29th.

What about Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday refers to the Monday after Thanksgiving, when traditionally online retailers would run sales since they didn’t have to compete with in-store Black Friday shopping and Thanksgiving travel. While Cyber Monday sales are still definitely a thing, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have sort of blended together into an extra long weekend of deals. Call it Cyber Week, the Cyber 5, or Amazon’s cutesy name, the Turkey 5, but there’s no longer much of a distinction between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

How to find the best Black Friday deals

It seems like the entire internet is on sale during Cyber Week. Black Friday ads regularly run 30 pages long, and sorting through Amazon’s Black Friday deals page practically requires a bulldozer.

We here at Polygon will be doing a lot of the heavy lifting for you, calling out the best deals in gaming and entertainment over on our Black Friday hub and letting you know when they sell out. Our sister sites The Verge, Curbed, and Eater will also have you covered on all things tech, home, and kitchen respectively.

However, if you want to do your own digging, there are some tools out there that can help. We strongly recommend downloading a price tracker browser extension like Honey, which can let you know if you’re actually getting the lowest price. (CamelCamelCamel is another good one, but it only works on Amazon.)

PC Part Picker is also an excellent resource for those using Black Friday sales as an excuse to build or upgrade a gaming rig. It not only tracks prices on PC hardware, but it also indicates which components are compatible with each other.

One last piece of advice: make a list of what you want to buy before diving in, and if it all gets too overwhelming (or you decide that you don’t actually need any of this stuff) it’s OK to walk away. While, yes, there are plenty of good deals to be found during Black Friday, you’ll feel a lot better about your shopping trip if you focus on what you really want to buy, rather than getting sucked in by the promise of a free Echo Dot. (And if you’re super jazzed about a free Echo Dot, that’s perfectly OK, too.)

And finally, if you go to a physical store, for the love of God please be kind to the retail workers!