Tech Savvy: Deal city

Hey there, Tech Savvy fans! Well, I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving and were able to spend time with your family and friends. It's always a special time of year that we can reflect on what we should truly be thankful for in life, and sh...


Hey there, Tech Savvy fans! Well, I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving and were able to spend time with your family and friends. It's always a special time of year that we can reflect on what we should truly be thankful for in life, and should serve as a reminder of what's really important to us-family, our health, things can't can't necessarily be bought in a store.

However, speaking of stores and the retail mania that usually accompanies Thanksgiving with Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, have they come up with something for that Tuesday yet? Take-My-Leftovers-Tuesday?

At any rate, this blessed time of thankfulness also coincides with the earnest start of the Christmas shopping season and I thought this might be a good time to look at some ways to try and score some tech deals, and some things to keep an eye out for, or maybe what to avoid.

Let's start with what everyone is recuperating from-deals. You've been up to your eyeballs in deals for the last few days, and if you were brave enough to venture out Black Friday, hopefully you survived in one piece.

However, did you know that there are often deals of Black Friday proportions to be had nearly year round? A lot of it is simply planning-keeping a list of items you are looking for throughout the year and being able to pounce on the best deal when it's available.


Even if you're looking at something short term, there's a solution you can use that works year round-Google Alerts. It's a tried and true program that Google introduced years ago that allows you to set up an alert system that notifies you when keywords you define are used. For example, if you are a celebrity you could use Google Alerts with a keyword of your name and whenever the paparazzi tried to slander you, you would know right away.

It works well for deals. By having a combination of keywords, you can get a daily summary email of instances that item pops up. This can be especially useful if the item you want is hard to find, unique, or is a specific model or vintage.

There are also numerous apps that you can use to search out specific products or gifts, but what I like about Google Alerts is that you get more than just the prepackaged information, you get reviews, specs and from a variety of sources, not just places to purchase.

Did you also know that local retailers can be a great source for deals? In more than one way. Some local retailers offer the ability to special order items that you are having a difficult time finding. Our local merchants are usually experts at finding sources and outlets that carry most items you can get anywhere else. They're also much nicer than most automated systems as far as transactions go.

Another way that local retailers can provide better deals is with the ability to receive local service. Many local businesses offer that small town service mentality and that carries over into service packages and general help as a customer of theirs. By purchasing items through a local business you also have the benefit that they know your unique situation and are familiar with your purchase and history. This can be especially useful if you run into a situation with warranties and dealing with manufacturers.

As I've gotten older, gotten married, had kids, started making adult purchases like furniture, appliances and things like that, I've found this second point of the service aspect becomes more and more important to me and I highly recommend you consider this when looking at high end, unique or similar products.

While there are some really great deals, there are also usually some busts, but because it's the sales season it's really easy to get roped into buying something that you don't necessarily want; or worse, it's something you want, but you didn't get exactly what you are looking for.

Some examples of these items are usually found in islands and end caps (aisle ends) in the stores-LED flashlights, multi-tools, and other things of that nature are abundant and the price makes them really appealing as stocking stuffers, or maybe for that nephew that you only see once a year and never sends you a thank you card.


On a side note, since it's the season of thanks, remember this Christmas season to be polite and say please and thank you, not only when giving or receiving gifts, but when you're out shopping or in public in general. This time of year is supposed to be happy, don't be a grinch and spoil it.

Anyway, back on track. Many of these smaller items are things you may have on your wish list and it may seem like the best time to get them because the pricing is so great. Beware, however, as these items don't always pack the same specs as the item you might actually want. Flashlights, for example. Sure you could get the 9 LED flashlight for $2 but what are you really getting? Does it have a plastic body? Is it durable? What is the lumen output-less than 50? What about water or dust resistance? You may think it's a great deal for the price, but you're ending up buying something that doesn't work well, doesn't have the lumen output you need, and will probably break the first time you drop it. On the other hand you could look at buying a higher end flashlight, like any of the Pelicans I've reviewed before, and for a few dollars more you can get a significantly higher quality light. You really do get what you pay for in many cases, and it's important to remember when looking at gifts.

Online is a popular place to try and scope out the best deals as well, and you can certainly find some good deals and there is added convenience that you can shop from the comfort of your own home. Many of the big tech suppliers have great Cyber Monday deals as well, and it's usually worth perusing if you're in the market for hard to find gadgets or something very specific.

Many great deals can be found in the season immediately after major shopping events, like Cyber Monday or Black Friday, or even the Christmas season (if you can wait that long). Retailers who stocked up on items for the Christmas season may have over ordered, or maybe another item won the popularity contest this year. In any event, some great deals on overstocked items can be found in stores.

Finally, as some added incentive to check out some of our fabulous local retailers, there is a movement in progress called Lakes Proud that is focused on making conscious decisions to help keep our dollars in our communities and one way we can do that is looking at businesses located in our communities and if we can do business with them. You can learn more about the movement at but there is also a really great Holiday Giveaway program they are doing betwee now and Christmas Day. Basically all it requires is a selfie, a hashtag and a local business. Super simple-get the details at the Lakes Proud website and find out how to get entered into the weekly prize drawings.

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, stay warm, I heard that winter is on its way.

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