Black Friday is a dud of a holiday.
The origin of the day as we know it, according to careful Wikipedia research, dates back to the early 2000s, when the day after U.S. Thanksgiving mutated from a decent shopping day into a storm of deals, more deals, scams, and stampede-related casualties.
For some retailers, the day remains a gold mine — a source of record-breaking sales (along with sibling Cyber Monday and other non-holidays). But for consumers, the weekend hardly ever yields a good deal. Apparently 99.4 percent of the time it doesn’t, The Wirecutter asserted. As VB contributor Fletcher Babb eloquently put it, if a deal looks “too good to be true, it’s probably cheap bullshit.” Thanks for the heads-up, Fletcher.
This is why I sweat over Black Friday deal stories. And then, like clockwork, a few decent deals creep up on us.
One of the better ones hit Wednesday. Pixelmator for Mac, a legitimate alternative to Photoshop, is currently half off at $15 a pop (50 percent less than a two-month subscription to Photoshop). Pixelmator’s iOS counterpart is also discounted.
Scrivener, a high-priced app beloved by some professional writers, is marked down nearly half off at $25.
Amazon’s absolute worst Fire tablet, a device that “sucks” and “requires some patience,” but ultimately functions as a slab of Internet, costs a low $35 per unit. At that price, it’s almost disposable. Not bad for a smart alarm clock or a kitchen tablet doomed to fry once I spill something on it.
Then there’s Google.
The Fire Tablet of Chromebooks, Acer’s horribly named “CB3-111-C8UB,” is priced under $100 — down from $169.
And Google’s least functional streaming dongle, Chromecast version one, costs $20 and could easily make for a Secret Santa cop-out or a stocking stuffer. You probably shouldn’t buy one for yourself, though; the second iteration released this year costs $15 more and packs a few new mildly exciting features.
There are other deals out there, sure. Here’s a discount for Amazon storage that you’ll forget to cancel before it auto-renews. Here’s a discount on select models of the old Surface Pro that redirects to an ad for doorbuster deals on printers and iPods. If you already wanted an iPad, you can buy one in-store today at Target in exchange for a gift card. But that’s not a deal. That’s just incentive to keep shopping at Target.
As I said, Black Friday is a dud of a holiday.