Black Friday Madness

Coupon cutting, trampling retail workers, standing in insanely long lines and fighting for parking spots aren’t the only ways to get deals this Friday. With the utilization of social media, getting crazy good deals on Black Friday can come easier. This year, in particular, many large retailers are ready to give low prices and discounts to those in stores and logged on.

Check In: Huge retailers like American Eagle, Radio Shack and Toys R Us are rewarding random customers who check in using Facebook Places or Foursquare. If you check into jewelry giant Zales before December 31, you could get $50 knocked off your purchase of $300 or more! Some will even give back this holiday season; Starbucks will be donating $1 to Conservation International for every Facebook Places check-in.

Play: SCVNGR is like a mobile scavenger hunt – and Coca Cola has partnered with the company to offer special discounts or gift cards to those checking in at 10 major malls across the country. Those who complete a SCVNGR challenge at their local Journeys store will get $10 off their purchase.

Tweet: Tons of companies are using their Twitter accounts to announce special codes, discounts or limited time offers. Follow @bfads and @blackfriday to see a constant stream of updates from retailers who are giving insight into their door-busters. Gowalla (another location-based service) will be hiding $50 Amazon gift codes in various retail spots across the country – by checking in at Black Friday hotspots and pushing your check-ins to Twitter, you could get a code all your own.

Download: Recently released apps on both Droid and iPhone platforms are aimed at bringing you the best in Black Friday deals. Some are coming from large companies like Target, Wal-Mart and Toys R Us, while others from Google, Amazon and some incredible app developers allow for barcode entry and comparison shopping. The majority of these apps are completely free – so hop to it!

Local Deals: Be sure you’re signed up for Living Social, Groupon and other daily discount e-mails in your area. Offering everything from half-off gift cards to yoga classes, skydiving and luxury hotel stays, these services are a goldmine for someone looking to give a lavish gift at half the cost (nobody has to know!). The sign-up is quick and easy, and these services may even have apps of their own – allowing for immediate purchase of great deals while you’re out in the crowd (or in the comfort of your own home). Remember that the benefits of this service last forever, since these e-mail offers are sent out every day of the week! There is talk, however, that these groups might offer even lower discounts or multiple deals on Black Friday. Also remember that Groupon and Living Social provide you with a discount (or free “deal”) when you refer friends to the service.

So when you’re up and at ‘em this Friday morning, just make sure you have your smart phone or tablet by your side – and watch those elbows!

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