The Black Friday Alternative: Holiday Shopping Without the Bruises


Thanksgiving is the day that Americans set aside to rest and be thankful for all that they have. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is a day when many Americans are willing to kill to save money on a new HD-TV. Many people have turned this day into a holiday in itself; dedicating a whole day to waiting outside for hours before stores open, only to pick up the best deals on consumer products.

While that may work for some people, most sane people (myself included) like to sleep late when we don’t have school or work. For these retail-savvy folk, the Internet can be a shopper’s best friend this gift-giving season.


Avoid being a part of this scene with online shopping alternatives. (Peter Tobia/The Observer)

Many online stores use coupon codes to lure people into visiting their sites to buy stuff in exchange for some sort of discount. is a compilation of online coupon codes that you can use whenever you want. Just put in the name of the Web site that you want to purchase from and will check to see if there are any coupon codes available to apply to your purchase. From big retailers like Best Buy all the way to smaller ones like Jinx, you can find a discount here. Users of the site even post ratings about the effectiveness of each code and whether or not the deal has already expired, so you can always be on top of the online bargain hunting game.

To the mainstream computer buyer, Microsoft Windows and Macintosh Apple, both of which can be pretty expensive, seem to be the only options. While they are great machines, most people simply need a machine with word processing and web browsing capabilities. Understanding this, the people at Koobox build computers that use the Linux operating system, a free alternative to Windows and Mac. Without charging royalties to big computer companies, using Koobox means you can save big. For $300, you can get a computer that can browse the Internet, type up Word documents and play all of your favorite music. There’s nothing fancy about the computers, but they’re great if all that you need is a cheap computer that works.

Say you want to buy a really cool pair of shoes but you’re low on cash, so you want to find the best deal possible. Instead of searching in different stores, desperately trying to find the cheapest option, you can just visit one Web site, Just search for the products you want and Bizrate will give you a list of different stores that sell the items, as well as the ranges of the prices for each. So not only do you not have to wait on lines, you don’t even need to worry about comparing prices.

If you can’t resist the urge of going out to stores for Black Friday, then at least visit this Web site first. is an online compilation of store fliers that advertise what will be on sale for Black Friday ahead of time. You can use this list to plan out your shopping itinerary so that you won’t miss a single sale. If you have a cell phone with Internet capabilities, then there’s, which allows you to see the deals on your phone as you shop. Just because you have a plan doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful; shopping on Black Friday is a contact sport.