We've talked about preparing for Black Friday, when to start paying attention (now), and reassured you that you're not going to miss out by shopping from home. Now let's talk about the deals themselves.
A few months after rebooting Kotaku Deals back in 2013, it was time to cover the Steam Summer Sale. The hype was palpable, but did the deals live up to it? Not so much. If you want to hold out on buying all your PC games for a few select times a year, and then blindly click the purchase button, you could certainly do worse than the Steam Sale, but prices were far from unprecedented, and competitors like Amazon and GreenManGaming were undercutting left and right.
I was very relieved when Black Friday and Cyber Monday did not repeat the same overhype and under delivery scenario. Last year's holiday shopping window was filled with never before seen price lows and great deals, all available online. Perhaps most importantly, many of those price lows and promotions have not repeated themselves since, almost 365 days later.
That said, let's address some other frequent criticisms.
Retailers manipulate prices so none of these deals are really deals.
This practice is in no way relegated to Black Friday, and yes, of course it happens. You have retailers who are successful because they aggressively offer the lowest prices, and retailers who are successful because their shoppers don't know any better. We'll vet the deals for you, and if you're not sure, just ask. If you're standing in a department store thinking about buying a blender with no reviews, no price history, and no coverage in front of you, put it down and back away slowly.
We also tend to tell our readers to just ignore whatever "regular price" a retailer is throwing up. It's not in any retailer's best interest to adjust those promptly.
Don't shop for X during Black Friday.
Retail does of course have seasonal price trends, but the expectation on the part of many publications that readers will somehow internalize these averages is ridiculous. Lifehacker does a fantastic job of packaging the data, but so much reliance on patterns obscures the fact that great deals are happening in every category all the time. Additionally, our product-savvy readers are far more likely to be shopping for the TV, not a TV.
If it's January, you don't need to wait for Black Friday to buy a TV or the Steam Summer Sale to buy a video game, but Black Friday and Cyber Monday do offer lots of great deals, many you won't see again for a long time, and we'll make sure you don't miss them.
You don't need to wait until the day after Thanksgiving for great deals (or really the day before, but that's a subject for another post). The great deals are already here, and we'll be covering them every day on Kinja Deals, on our Twitter and Facebook, and on your favorite Gawker Media sites.
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