Some people are wondering whether Black Friday is dead. I wouldn’t order funereal flowers just yet.
Sure, some retailers have been testing the waters with early-November sales and are planning to jump the gun with “Gray Thursday” doorbusters. In addition, shoppers are getting savvier; knowing that not every “sale” price is in fact the best price, we’re less likely to blow the entire holiday budget immediately after Thanksgiving.
Yet some of those Gray Thursday/Black Friday/Cyber Monday loss leaders really are pretty splendid. For example, you’re not likely to find decent-quality bath towels for $2 at any other time of the year.
That’s why we have deal-finding apps: They help us sort the wheat from the chaff. This week’s giveaway is sponsored by FatWallet.com, a site that combines online coupons, cash-back shopping, and a community of fierce deal hounds who delight in posting the best possible combinations of low prices, cash-back and rebates.
The FatWallet Black Friday app lets you search by category (towels, Barbies, camouflage) or by retailer. You can filter by price, search all doorbusters, inquire about rebates, collect e-coupons (no clipping), look for free shipping and even purchase the items immediately from your phone.
(Those of us who don’t own smartphones can access the app on our treadle-powered laptops. Woo hoo!)
What’s this got to do with surviving Black Friday? Good question.
The folks at FatWallet have put together a mock “survival kit” for those who plan to shop early on, whether that’s at home in your sweatpants or lining up at a store on a chilly November night. The kit includes:
- FatWallet T-shirt: Let others know that you are strong with the deal-seeking Force.
- FatWallet pens: Maybe you, like me, still read the print ads. If so, circle away.
- A double-walled, BPA-free tumbler, also with a FatWallet logo, that can be used for hot beverages or cold drinks: It’s important to stay hydrated during your shopping trip, after all, or to warm up if you’re visiting actual rather than virtual stores in a cold climate.
- Snack items: These will help keep up your strength whether you’re on foot or online. The treats include chocolate chip cookies, cheese crackers, granola bars and candy.
- FatWallet zippered tote bag: Shaped like a typical gym bag but it also has a shoulder strap. Use it to carry some of those bargains home vs. asking for paper or plastic. It’s great to be part of the solution (vs. being part of the precipitate).
- FatWallet stress ball: Don’t let the holidays freak you out. If you feel yourself tightening up, squeeze the living daylights out of this thing.
- $25 Amazon gift card: You already know what that’s for, right?
- Mardi Gras beads: These frankly puzzle me. But they sure look festive.
Incidentally, the app already contains Black Friday ads from more than 60 major retailers, making it easy for you to determine whether something you want/need will be available at an unbeatable price.
If you were about to buy appliances, technology, clothing or some other item, run the info through the app and see if anything resonates. This may be the best time all year to buy camouflage Barbie towels.
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If you do any (or all!) of these things, please leave separate, additional comments to get credit for each entry.
The deadline is 7 p.m. PST Tuesday, Nov. 19. If I don’t hear back from the winners by 7 p.m. PST Wednesday, Nov. 20, I’ll pull another name.
Note: Due to the high cost of international shipping, a winner outside the United States will be given a choice of gift cards in addition to the Amazon gift card; the bag o’goodies will be sent to another reader.