BOSTON (CBS) – Go ahead call me a Scrooge. You wouldn’t be the first. But just cannot imagine standing in line for hours to buy gifts in the middle of the night. Never mind camping out for Black Friday.

Especially after learning that most of the deals aren’t real.

Sure some people will get wild discounts on electronics and other things – you’ll see them boasting of their conquests on TV – and indeed the number of deals offered by more than two dozen major retail chains keeps rising. They were up some 63% from 2009 to 2012, according to

But most people never get those deals. They’re called ‘loss leaders’ and stores use them to lure you in so you’ll buy other things that are not on discount. That’s why retailers’ profit margins are not squeezed very much Black Friday bargains.

But forget all that for moment – because firm called did a two year study on this for The Wall Street Journal and found the best deals are not even available on Black Friday.

Some of them of course arrive after Christmas when clearance sales begin.

But researchers say it depends on the item, the supply and demand. And they actually found better prices in totally different times of year including one big screen TV being featured in ads this week that was selling for less money in October.

So try to make a friend if you’re standing in line at midnight on Black Friday. It may be the best thing you get.

Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz


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