Black Friday sales are finally here (such as they are)

Thursday here in these United States is Thanksgiving, our annual holiday for family get-togethers, eating food by the metric ton, and these days, bargain sales the day after. I’m currently visiting family (so posts here will be infrequent until I’m back home). Like much of the country, I’ll also be hitting the “Black Friday” sales tomorrow.

Previous Black Fridays saw me buy some useful items. One year was a prepaid Virgin Mobile cell phone, which I used as a backup/secondary phone until getting my Palm Pre last year. Two years ago, I bought a 3G “fat” iPod Nano. This year, however, between my being fairly stocked electronics-wise, the current crop of tablets not particularly satisfying (or cheap enough), the limited selection of stores I’ll have access to (my family lives in a small town), and the deals being offered, there isn’t as much I’m interested in buying. Still, I have been following the announcements (leaked or otherwise) about what’s on sale for Black Friday (and “Cyber Monday” for the online stores).

Given the above caveats, here’s what I’m interested in this year:

Various stores (Wal-Mart, Meijer, Big Lots, Sears, etc.) have an assortment of DVDs for sale. Last year, I got the Garfield: Holidays DVD plus Looney Tunes Spotlight Collection volume 5 on sale.

As for individual stores:

Wal-Mart:

  • WD Essential 500GB portable hard drive, $39 (before 11 AM).
  • Seagate FreeAgent 1.5TB desk hard drive, $70 (before 11 AM)

Meijer:

  • WD My Book Essential 2TB hard drive, $99 (before noon)

JC Penney:

  • Free Mickey Mouse snowglobe (before 1 PM). Yeah, not an electronics item, but might be of interest to someone just looking for free stuff (or Disney merchandise collectors).

OfficeMax:

  • Hitachi X-series 1TB desktop hard drive, $49 (all day Friday and Saturday). This seems to be the best buy out of the various external hard drives on sale, along with the several places (Meijer and Staples particularly) offering the WD Essential 2TB hard drive for $99. It also helps that there’s no specific time limit on buying this hard drive (versus the late morning/early afternoon deadlines of other stores).
  • Seagate FreeAgent 1TB desk hard drive, $60 (all day Friday, Saturday)

Staples:

  • WD My Book Essential 2TB external hard drive, $99 (before noon)

While there’s the usual TVs, low-end laptops, etc. on sale, so far this year an external hard drive is the only thing of remote interest to me. I currently have a 1.5-year-old 1TB WD external drive, which is about two-thirds full, so some extra storage space might not hurt.

For ebook readers, the Kindle seems like the best of the bunch. As for tablets, the current tablet state suggests I’d be better off waiting until next year, for either a bigger selection, cheaper prices and/or second-generation models. While at first I was dismissive of the idea of a tablet, the various tablets and ebook readers make me think it might be worth buying as something to read digital comics and magazines on, saving me some storage space.

However, all the models announced so far seem flawed in some way—either too expensive (the iPad; for $500 I could buy a cheap laptop), too crude-looking (per the current rush by companies to get any type of tablet out just to cash in on the iPad), or too locked down by DRM. The Nook Color is the most interesting one so far, but Barnes and Noble’s plans to make it not work with the Android Marketplace (in favor of starting their *own* app store) makes it sound like a dead-end.

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