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Black Friday bargains are fewer than you think

A smarter way to shop will be to research online, then use trackers to check for product price drops year round

An employee unpacking Black Friday sales merchandise at a Walmart store in Chicago on Wednesday. Black Friday, traditionally known for its steep discounts, is not all that it is billed to be.

New York

BEFORE lining up at a retail store or firing up your computer for Black Friday bargains this week, ask yourself one question: Have you ever scored a great deal from the annual post-Thanksgiving shopping bonanza?

If you were hard-pressed to think of something, you would not...