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The Year’s Hottest Toy is Hard to Find

Back before he became California’s Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in a fluffy little holiday movie called “Jingle All the Way” in which he played a workaholic dad who puts off buying his son’s Christmas present until the last minute, only to discover that the toy was sold out all over town.

Some shoppers may face the same fate if their little princess has Disney’s Frozen Castle and Ice Palace Playset on her Christmas list, because the coveted toy is already sold out practically everywhere. The playset regularly sells for $119 and some retailers have it listed at a lower price but it’s out of stock.

I checked Walmart and found that the discount giant had put a price tag of $99.88 on the Disney playset, but found that not only out of stock online, I received this ominous message: “This item is not available for pickup or at any of the Walmarts within 50 miles of your location.” Since I live in one of the most populous cities in the U.S., that would be a lot of Walmarts that are sold out of this toy.

Target undercut their rival by giving the playset a price of $88.00. Unfortunately, they were also sold out. So is Toys “R” Us.

What about Amazon? They have everything, right? That depends on how much you’re willing to pay. Amazon is sold out, but has resellers that will be happy to sells you a Disney Frozen Castle and Ice Palace Playset for sums ranging from $248.98 to $999.00. At eBay, there were items up for bidding but “Buy it now” prices started around $200 going up to $500.

This is bad news for bargain hunters who have put off buying this toy in hopes of finding lower prices. For this toy, this year, that’s not going to happen. If you have a little fan of Frozen who will be devastated if Santa doesn’t leave this goodie under your tree, maybe you should be grabbing one of those selling for $200-300 on Amazon or eBay now, because the pickings will be even slimmer as Christmas gets closer.

Thanksgiving Frenzy Unleashed on eBay

Most of us don’t think of eBay as being a hot spot for Black Friday shopping, but this year we should. The site has already launched its “Thanksgiving Frenzy” doorbuster deals with new items coming up every hour for 24 hours and when they’re gone, they’re gone. That’s not all because at midnight EST on Thanksgiving night, “Black Friday Frenzy” begins on eBay with more new deals every hour.

Some of the prices promised by eBay for Thursday include a Sony PlayStation 4 console for $329.99, a 60” LG Plasma Smart 3D HDTV for $749.99 (50% off) and various Beats by Dr. Dre headphones at up to 50% off.

For Friday you can look for an Apple 13” MacBook Pro for $849.99, a 60” LG Plasma FullHD HDTV for $599.99 (30% off) and a Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2 for $299.99 (40% off).

Here’s what we found on eBay early Thursday morning: Samsung SM-V700 Galaxy Gear smartwatch list priced at $199.99 for $124.99, Disney Princess Ultimate Collection 7-pack marked down to $64.99 from $79.99, 1/5 carat tw diamond stud earrings in sterling silver list priced at $210 for $34.99 (83% off) and a Vizio 50” LED smart HDTV for $459.99, marked down from $649.99.

Others included a Sharp 42” LED HDTV marked down from $479.99 to $349.99, a KitchenAid Pro Line cordless hand blender discounted from $399.99 to $299.95, 1-carat black and white diamond fashion hoop earrings list priced at $211 for $39.99 and a Michael Kors Jet Set Top-Zip Saffiano Leather medium tote list priced at $248 for $179.99.

So there are definitely some deals worth checking out on eBay but you should know what you want a search for it or be willing to wade through a lot of unlocked smartphones and fashion accessories.

Consumers Say Amazon and Target Have Best Holiday Value

The results aren’t scientific in a new poll on perceived holiday shopping values, but perception can mean everything as consumers decide where to spend their money on Black Friday this year. A research group released a study today showing that consumers believe provides the best value among its competitors.

In a BrandIndex report by the consumer research firm YouGov, consumers gave higher marks to Amazon than any of its competitors, even beating out second-place Target by more than 10 points.

The research firm asked consumers if they thought that particular retailers had good prices on the goods that they offered. Respondents then gave each retailer a numbered score on a 100 (positive) to 100 (negative) scale with a zero in the middle equaling a neutral perception about the merchant’s value. Amazon won with a score of 55.9 while Target fell behind at 45.7.

Other big winners in the study include companies under the Gap umbrella: Banana Republic, Gap, and Old Navy saw the biggest improvement in their rankings since the poll was previously done last year.

Two companies that have faced serious troubles in the past year, Best Buy and J.C. Penney, remained in the top 10 but lost ground since last year. J.C. Penney, once strong at third place, has dropped to fifth, letting Walmart and Kohl’s leap ahead. Best Buy was in fifth place last year but is now only in eighth, letting Old Navy and eBay take higher slots.

Sears and Marshall’s rounded out the bottom of the top 10 list, posting numbers far lower than Amazon.

Other retailers that showed great improvement over their perceived values from last year included higher-end stores like Saks, Neiman Marcus, and Lord & Taylor. This year’s second-place winner in overall value, Target, saw only modest gains in the index since last year.

Black Friday Sales at eBay on Now

The online auction house eBay isn’t just for bidding. They sell products from a wide variety of brands at set prices. And shoppers don’t need to worry about whether or not they’re going to be outbid within the next hour. And right now, eBay has Black Friday discounts of up to 80 percent off on tons of products.

The Black Friday deals at eBay run through Saturday, November 24, and cover products from more than 20 merchants, such as Monster, Newegg, Sony, and others. Many of the deals will be changing on a daily basis and some of today’s best discounts come from the retailer GearXS. For one day only, the website is selling Maxell Crystal Earbuds for $5.99 (an 80 percent discount from the regular price of $29.99), a Magic Lighting LED light bulb and remote for $9.99 (a 75 percent discount from the regular price of $39.99) and a Vibe portable car vacuum for $9.88 (a 75 percent discount from the regular price of $39.99).

Shoppers can also find a wide variety of power tools for around half off the regular price through CPO Outlets’ eBay page. Brookstone has a number of gadgets marked down by around 30 percent. And the deals on products through Sony aren’t great but it’s currently possible to get a new Sony VAIO T Series 13 Ultrabook for $50 off the suggested price.

Customers looking for truly discounted electronics will likely want to look at the eBay page for WWStereo, where select home theater speakers are marked down by up to 77 percent off. Newegg’s eBay page also has a variety of electronics marked down by up to 50 percent off.

Shoppers should check eBay through November 24 as new deals are made available daily.

Ladies Cartier Watches Up to 50% Off at eBay

Are you ready to spend some big bucks pampering your mom or that special lady in your life? Nothing says luxury like a classic watch by Cartier, one of the oldest and most prestigious watchmakers in the world. These watches are manufactured to the highest standards are made to last a lifetime. Now you can shop eBay and get a classic Cartier watch for thousands less than list price.

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