Call me a slacker mom, but I will not be braving the toy stores this Friday. I like to think of shopping as a leisure activity and going toe to toe with those Black Friday crowds seems too much like a sport to me.
But just because I won't be out there, doesn't mean I'm not going to help out all you moms who will be shopping on Thursday night. Black Friday bargain hunting isn't my area of expertise, but Jim Silver, the editor-in-chief of TimetoPlayMag.com, knows all about it. He reviews all of the latest toys to help advise families on the best of the best and we got him to share his Black Friday shopping tips, plus his top toy picks this holiday season and how can score them without losing all your money (or a limb).
MF: What are you predicting will be the top sell-out toys this Black Friday?
JS: I really don't think there will be too many toys sold out on Black Friday because retailers try to have enough inventory to last the entire weekend. Sunday will probably be a different story, as the sales through the weekend often leave "empty" spots on Sunday shelves. We're closely watching LeapPad Explorer, Angry Birds Knock on Wood Game, Monster High Dead Tired Dolls, Silly Hair LaLaLoopsy, and Beyblade Metal Fusion for potential shortages.
MF: What about some "under the radar" toys that parents should know about?
JS: Angry Birds Stuffed Animals are flying off the shelves. We've also seen The Logo Board Game limited in some places. PlaSmart's Perplexus Maze Puzzle Games are less well known toys that are selling exceptionally well.
MF: What are your top tips to help moms score the best deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
JS: Be prepared and know what you're looking for. Don't always expect to find great deals on the "hot" toys as retailers often don't discount them. Start early as some retailers are open Thanksgiving evening and Cyber Monday starts at 12:01 am.
MF: Are there any promotions or gimmicks moms should be on the lookout for?
JS: When looking over all of the advertised specials, look closely on the quantities advertised. Some can be very limited, and see if they offer a rain check if they sell out before you arrive. The purpose of these specials is to get you into their store.
MF: What's your advice to moms who don't score the toys they want on Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday?
JS: If there's a toy you need to have, buy it before Black Friday. The next best time to shop for a hot toy is the second Saturday after Thanksgiving, December 3rd this year. The shelves should be in stock, ready for the weekend rush when the store opens. Wake up and buy it then.