Ndolger

En-duhl-jer: The one who indulges

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Black Friday Recap 2015

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Posted by Ndolger on 12/31/2015 at 2:07 PM

BFSale

2015 “Black Friday” was not as fun or ambitious for me as say, 2012 and 2013 (I guess I didn’t make a post for 2014…step it up man!), but there are still some pretty interesting grabs here. Picked up some very high-end items that I have been looking for deals on… for years.

What changes were seen from previous years?

The “event” is continuing to get watered down and mainstreamized. More stores opened up on Thanksgiving proper. But there were less and less true deals to be had. Much like 2014, the best deals were found during the days before and after “Black Friday”.

Online ordering is starting to overtake B&M as a preferred method of choice for the casual buyer. Target, Walmart, BestBuy really stepped up their online games, and many offered free shipping with no minimum purchase.

Other notes

I’m exhausting things that I “need”, so the event has become less fun. TVs continue to be one of the cheapest things you can buy. If you want a sub 40″ TV, wow…they can be had cheap. But I don’t need those.

The one thing I really wanted was a sub $1k 4K 60-65″ TV with good quality. Couldn’t find it this year. Oh well. Still on the lookout for a good desktop / laptop replacement as I’ve had my current laptop for a good while now (I’ll be damned if I’ll use an inefficient tablet or phone to actually do work on….).

Next is the merchant review.

AMAZON

  • Rank: 4/5
  • Pretty decent haul from Amazon…although, nothing really “wow” about them this year.
  • They had another 30% off code for all books (which I didn’t use); which was nice.
  • Amazon is still the leader when you *need* to get someone to something fast. Bought a lot of Christmas gifts from them this year that’s not on this list.
  • 4-5 years ago, Amazon straight murdered other retailers in terms of legitimate deals. Now? Eh? Not so much.
  • One important note: both Chase and Discover offered 10% cash back promos for all purchases on Amazon this year. That is a major point of emphasis that gave Amazon top marks this year for me, in my mind.

What did I grab?

  • Dyson Ball Alergy Upright Vacuum: $246.75
    • Been looking for a good price on this for almost a decade. This is the best price I have ever seen for a non-refurbished unit. It’s price as of this writing is $399.99. MSRP is supposedly $499.99. This is the jewel of the year for me.
  • TP-Link Archer C9 Router + TP-Link N300 Cloud Camera: $129.99
    • Bundle was same price as standalone router. So I got a cloud camera for free!
    • This does not include a $30 mail-in rebate, so this was effectively $100 for a top rated router
  • TP-Link Docsis 3.0 Cable Modem: $49.69
    • Note: The router/modem combo was used for me to finally purge myself of AT&T. Because of things like this. Now, I’m a TWC customer. And God help me…my service has already been out 3 times in a month. Sigh…the grass is burnt and charred on this side too.

NEWEGG

  • Rank: 0/5
  • Newegg continues to disappoint. I’m not the only one…everyone hates newegg on Slickdeals. Terrible customer service, terrible website, terrible deals.

What did I grab?

  • Nothing.

BEST BUY

  • Rank: 3/5
  • Not a lot to work with from my side, but what I did get, I’m happy with. The VG phone alone is worth 3 stars here.

What did I grab?

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PS4): $19.99
    • Love Best Buy’s Gamer’s Club Unlocked service. I’m upped until 2020 and save 20% on all video games and accessories (read: amiibo). No other retailer can touch Best Buy for video games. It’s not even close.
  • Virgin Mobile LG Tribute 2: $19.99 x 2
    • The absolute “best deals” that I continually see every year have to do with prepaid phones. No one ever talks about them, but this is crazy awesome! This is a $100 phone for $20 (I mean it comes with a charger and 8GB memory card…that alone is worth $20).
    • This is the phone I used to signup for two free (yes, FREE) monthly phone plans on RingPlus (which I talk about at length here).
    • After using the phone for a little over a month, I’m very happy with it. I have free cell service and it cost me $20. Yay! I finally have a 4G phone (and a backup one).

TARGET

  • Rank: 4/5
  • I didn’t get a lot, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have a pretty solid showing.
  • They had different kinds of sales and promotions all through Thanksgiving week. They had $50 off $100 decoration / lights. They had 15% and 20% off whole order codes (which were abused to all hell…) around Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.
  • If you really wanted to game the system, which many did on Slickdeals, they also had baby and wedding registry 15% coupons (open up a registry in your name; actual baby or marriage be damned) which ALSO stacked. As far as I understand it worked on pretty high-end things like TVs. This was a little too sketch, even for me.
  • One thing I did grab was a 20% off your order in December with purchase of $75+; which is really nice. Wife is all about Target Redperks and Cartwheel, so she had some additional coupons and a “5% off day” which stacked with this 20% off coupon. Plus we have a RedCard which saves another 5%. Hell of a deal.
  • What didn’t go so well? Their website. It was absolutely trashed all day, every day. I wanted to try to get a few things, but I gave up. Hopefully they can fix this next year…

What did I grab?

  • It’s a secret! Most of the items were gifts.

WALMART

  • Rank: 1/5
  • Notes: Walmart continues to disappoint. I just don’t like their website. It’s confusing to find stuff (Target was far worse, they’ve improved significantly). There just weren’t any “blow your mind” deals here. There hardly ever are.
  • I didn’t buy anything, but they did have “Doorbuster” deals where, I guess, if you got there, you were guaranteed an item. I refuse to ever B&M shop at Walmart. Haven’t done it. Don’t ever intend to. Yay for crappy BF model specific junk anyway. Don’t waste your time with that.
  • I guess they also pricematched…? I don’t know. I don’t do pricematching. I’m not a big fan of Walmart and the Walton empire anyway, so there’s no love lost here. I have never spent much at this store.

What did I grab?

  • Nothing.

HOME DEPOT

LOWE’S

  • Rank: 0/5
  • Didn’t hear a peep out of these two. Normally I get *something* from them. In the past, I’ve found some good appliance deals. Eh…guess I didn’t look hard enough.

What did I grab?

  • Nothing.

 

GROUPON

  • Rank: 1/5
  • I got an “OK” deal when it comes down to it. I was supposed to get the item below for $80, based on a code at checkout called LOCAL20; which takes $20 off. It worked, I checked out. Now I look at my statement. It was $100. Screw you Groupon. I barely use them, and now they’ve pissed me off.
  • What I did was take the $100 giftcard at Newegg, and buy eBay gift cards (because newegg sucks). Now I’m rolling, rolling, rolling (buy eBay giftcards at a discount with eBay giftcards).

What did I grab?

  • $100 giftcard at Newegg + Premier membership for $100.

SEARS

  • Rank: 3/5
  • I just like Sears. I went into this in great detail. They’re like the underdog of the retail world. They continually give out amazing deals. Free points. Free stuff. All year long.
  • However, their website sucks and is very, very buggy. And their SYWR program is easily the most complicated system in retail history (even worse than KOHLS!). But if you master it, oh boy…you can do a lot of damage.
  • Didn’t get a lot this year, but did knock out some birthday gifts.
  • Sears doesn’t normally have great BF/CM showings, but they continually roll out insane (sometimes free) deals all year long.

What did I grab?

  • It’s a secret!

KOHLS

  • Rank: 3/5
  • Here’s a new one to the list. I’ve never shopped at KOHL’s online (and try to avoid their store; I hate clothes shopping…).
  • KOHL’S uses a gimmicky form of properietary currency known as KOHL’S CASH. They also have another rewards program that accumulates points the more you buy stuff (Yes2You Rewards). This acts as KOHL’S CASH. The thing with this KC is that is expires very quickly.
  • For the holidays they were giving out $15 in KOHL’S CASH for every $50 spend (if I’m not mistaken). So buying high-end things at a discount worked beautifully.

What did I grab?

  • iRobot Roomba 761 Vacuum Cleaning Robot with Replenishment Kit: $340
    • Note: Not only is this a good price for this roomba (MSRP is $700; normally can be had for ~$450), but it came with $105 in KOHL’S CASH; which I used to buy clothes a week later.
    • And by the way, I freaking love this guy! He’s so cool. I always wanted a pet robot to do shit for me. His name is Roomba (I’m not very creative).
    • Final note: First comment on a front-page at Slickdeals! I’m so proud of myself.

 

Overall: 3/5

It was an “ehhh, OK” year for 2015. I picked up some long sought after items (Dyson), got some neat things (Roomba), and revamped some of my services (RingPlus phones, new router/modem), but outside of some very specific things, there was just a lot of effort needed and some craftiness to find the best deals. I fear this is going to be the norm from here on in (unless we go into another recession; which looks possible…). That said, I picked up some solid entries and filled some niches that I have been looking at for a long, long time.

Who won?

That’s tough to say. It depends on what you needed. Target had a solid showing with some great promotions. It was generally fun and interesting looking for deals at Target. Best Buy had some good sales on high-end TVs, but I couldn’t pull the trigger. Amazon did OK, as always. Walmart, newegg sucked. Kohl’s had some diamonds with KOHL’S CASH stacking.

For the slickdeal professional though, Target was probably the winner based on all the crafty coupon stacking you could do. So let’s go with that. Congratulations Target! You won Black Friday / Cyber Monday!

Here’s hoping for a fantastic BF for 2016! Happy New Year!

 

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