It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has made every holiday and tradition more difficult to adhere to. To say that like it’s still a novel observation almost comes across as patronizing. The words “In these unprecedented times” are Pavlovian at this point.
The nation’s top physicians and scientists are putting their best foot forward to keep this from being the new normal, but until they succeed, many people are forced to celebrate Thanksgiving and Black Friday differently. Fortunately, e-commerce has made the latter easier to participate in from the comfort of your own home, and this medium of consumption is so ubiquitous that another holiday arose from it: Cyber Monday.
Whether you decide to brave the superspreader Black Friday stampedes that will likely happen or decide to play it safe by shelling out your hard-earned cash to the Silicon Valley overlords, here are five deals that should be on your radar.
Black Friday price: $28.99
Original price: $49.99
There’s an understandable trepidation that comes with purchasing a smart speaker like a Google Home or an Amazon Echo. The chances of Jeff Bezos listening to you sing “Cotton Eye Joe” in your kitchen through the speaker aren’t exactly zero, but that and $28.99 are small prices to pay for the convenience of having the sum of mankind’s knowledge available at the simplest verbal command.
Want to know what the weather is going to be like later this evening? Just say, “Okay Alexa, what’s the weather like today?” Are you insisting to your friend that Winona Ryder and Daniel Day-Lewis starred in a movie together? Say, “Okay Alexa, who starred in the 1996 film The Crucible?” Want to see how artificial intelligence responds to swear words? Say any of George Carlin’s seven dirty words, but not before making sure Bezos receives the message.
Black Friday price: $1.99/mo
Original price: $5.99/mo
This subscription is for the lowest tier, which sadly includes ads, but that still gives you the ability to watch the Animaniacs reboot, 30 Rock and every Gordon Ramsay show on FOX for the price of gas station coffee. Plus, ads are the reason this website is still up, so Madison Avenue slander will not be tolerated ‘round these parts.
Black Friday price: $119.99
Original price: $159.99
If you have a child between the ages of 12-17, there’s a good chance that they are asking for AirPods for Christmas. They are to the TikTok generation what the 8-track tape player was to baby boomers, and Best Buy is offering them at a $40 discount for Black Friday. That’s $40 you can spend on soccer cleats they will never use.
Black Friday price: $17.00
Original price: $25.99
The Roku is an underappreciated product. It compiles virtually every streaming service into one app and even provides complimentary ABC News access for everyone who wants to relive the election that happened three weeks ago.
Black Friday price: $25.00
Original price: $35.00
No, it’s not as sexy as a PlayStation 5, but if you plan on shopping at brick-and-mortar retailers for Black Friday and don’t have a mask, this should be the first deal you jump on, according to the CDC's COVID safety guidelines.