In day 3 of the smart shopping installment, we focus on a rather controversial idea: skip the Black Friday sales altogether and wait a couple of weeks before buying electronics for Christmas. Most retailers give a 90 day return window for purchases. Unfortunately, electronics are an exception as return windows are often only 2 weeks long and can also come with a restocking fee if the item is in good condition but simply unwanted. Fortunately, many retailers waive this condition in the days immediately following Christmas. Simply put, it may be better to skip the sale and wait until mid December (there's always online shopping) to get that gift, which will give you enough time to make sure what the giftee really wants and, in case you didn't bother to make sure, enough time for a post-Christmas return should your gift find itself in the same category as those ugly Christmas sweaters or that store-bought fruitcake.
Bonus: How to Avoid Buying a Junk Telescope
Since Black Friday is not all about cameras, I decided to run a piece on my Cleveland Astronomy Column dealing with telescope buying tips, namely warning signs of junk telescopes. In the list are 6 tips to help educate first-time buyers as to what signs designate a good telescope from a junk one. While this seems like common sense to every seasoned astronomer, we all have to start somewhere so, if this is your first time buying a telescope, check out the above link.
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