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Expert Advice

Episode 242: What should be on your Black Friday pandemic shopping list?

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Michael Bonebright from DealNews.com is joining us once again for a Black Friday Deals episode, where he shares his expertise on holiday shopping during a pandemic.

Holiday Shopping tag

CLICK HERE TO JUMP TO AN INTERACTIVE TRANSCRIPT OF THE EPISODE

Is Black Friday the time to buy gift cards? What about kitchen appliances? Or TVs? Or laptops? Or Apple products?

And with so many great travel deals out there right now, should you buy a Black Friday vacation deal, or airfare deal? And if you do, should you buy travel insurance?

Should you leave your couch to wait in Black Friday lines this year? And should you even be waiting for Black Friday, or shopping now??

We had SO MANY QUESTIONS for Michael Bonebright, the Senior Blog Editor for DealNews (and return guest!), and he answered them ALL! The DealNews Black Friday page is always a great place to find sale info and tips, so we were so lucky to be able to pepper Michael with all of our own holiday shopping dilemmas.

Headshot of Michael Bonebright
Michael Bonebright

More about Michael:

Michael Bonebright, the Senior Blog Editor for DealNews, is a journalist and consumer analyst with more than 15 years of industry experience. He joined the company in August 2011 and is based in Huntsville, AL. Michael is responsible for developing and maintaining brand messaging, and serves as the primary spokesperson for DealNews. He is a leading voice on the market forces that affect shoppers, and his expert analysis has appeared in CNBC, Business Insider, CNN, Fox Business, and many more. In his free time, Michael enjoys playing video games and watching YouTube with his wife and two children.

This Week’s Links

Intro (00:00:11)

Rebecca Levey

Amy Oztan, Amy Ever After

Andrea Smith, technology guru extraordinaire

Michael Bonebright, DealNews

Interview with Michael Bonebright (00:01:53)

Shop 2020 Black Friday Deals Now!

Black Friday Previews 2020: See All Our Deal Predictions!

Black Friday Store Hours 2020: What Will Be Closed on Thanksgiving?

Card Cash

Gift Card Granny

Guaranteed Apple refurbished products

LEGO Brick Friday Sale/VIP Weekend

Gift Bytes of the Week (00:29:55)

Amy’s Gift Recommendations:

Amazon Halo Band

Wood-Burning Fire Pits

Kingso 2-in-1 Fire Pit with removable height-adjustable cooking grate, mesh safety screen, fire poker, and heat shield

Bali Outdoors Fire Pit with adjustable cooking grill, stability ring, extra-large fire bowl, fire poker, and triangle frame for holding logs

Global Outdoors Copper Fire Pit with safety screen, fire poker, mesh safety screen, and cover

AmazonBasics Natural Stone Fire Pit with mesh safety screen, fire poker, and stabilizing feet

Gartio Hex-Shaped Fire Pit with mesh safety cover, fire poker, and extra-large fire bowl

AmazonBasics Square Fire Pit with extra-large fire bowl, mesh safety screen, and cover

LEMY Square Fire Pit with safety mesh cover, fire poker, and rain cover

Propane Fire Pits

Outdoor Propane Fire Pit Table with auto-ignition, black tempered glass tabletop with metal cover, tempered glass wind guard, cover, and hidden propane tank base

Endless Summer Propane Fire Pit Table with blue fire glass, cover, and hidden propane tank base

Tacklife Propane Fire Pit with metal cover, lava stones, and hidden propane tank base

Bond Manufacturing Propane Firebowl with lava rocks, cover, and hidden propane tank base

Bond Manufacturing Gas Fire Pit with lava rocks, cover, and 10-foot regulator hose

Andrea’s Gift Recommendations:

Lenovo Smart Clock Essential

lenovo smart clock

OtterBox Mobile Charging Kit

Otterbox Mobile Charging Kit

Rebecca’s Gift Recommendations:

Waterproof Outdoor Blanket with Sherpa Lining

Bruce Springsteen: The Stories Behind the Songs, by Brian Hiatt

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Transcript

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Rebecca:
Welcome to Parenting Bytes, this is Rebecca Levey, I’m here today with Amy Oztan of Amy Ever After.

Amy:
Hello.

Rebecca:
Hello, and Andrea Smith, our Technology Guru Extraordinaire.

Andrea:
Hello.

Rebecca:
Hello. Today on the show, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we’re going to talk about Black Friday because it’s coming up, which I

Amy:
I’m

Rebecca:
Don’t

Amy:
Sorry,

Rebecca:
Know how

Amy:
What

Rebecca:
It’s

Amy:
Month

Rebecca:
Already.

Amy:
Is this?

Rebecca:
I know.

Amy:
I can’t even.

Rebecca:
I’m like I’m so it’s also been like 70 degrees every day in New York. So it’s so feels so far away to

Amy:
Seventy

Rebecca:
Be thinking about Thanksgiving.

Amy:
Five, it’s ridiculous.

Andrea:
It’s crazy, I was like hot yesterday when I went out.

Rebecca:
I know I had like a code on it to wrap it around my waist like a weirdo Torah somewhere, you know, I was like, this is crazy. So I’m so not in the mindset. But today’s guest Michael Bonebright joining us again from DealNews. He joined us last year and he was so fabulous. We thought it could happen. But again, he like it’s going to get us in the Black Friday shopping, thinking about buying presents for people mode. And we all know it’s going to look very different this year. So we’re going to talk about that as well. So I have advice on the best deals, but also some discussion about like what what this all is this year and what it’s going to look like and what

Andrea:
And

Rebecca:
People

Andrea:
Who

Rebecca:
Can

Andrea:
Knows

Rebecca:
Expect.

Andrea:
How to shop, right, like people don’t even really know how am I shopping?

Rebecca:
Oh, my God,

Andrea:
Do I

Rebecca:
It’s.

Andrea:
Go in? Do I stay home?

Rebecca:
Right. Do I cry on my couch and my daughter whine? I don’t know. So

Andrea:
Wine?

Rebecca:
Just as cases of wine, that’s what everyone gets this year.

Amy:
Uh.

Rebecca:
So we’ll be right back with Michael Bonebright.

Rebecca:
We are back with Michael Bonebright, consumer analyst joining us today from DealNews. Hi, Michael.

Michael:
Hi, how’s it going?

Rebecca:
Good. We’re so happy to have you back. You know, as soon as we said, oh, we should do a Black Friday episode because who knows what day it is. And the thought that there would be Black Friday seemed interesting to some some strange concept where, like, we have to have Michael back on. He knew everything.

Michael:
I appreciate it.

Rebecca:
And I’m I’m really hoping that in the midst of this pandemic, you really know, because I do think is Black Friday just going to be another blurr day or are we all going to, like, rally and have our Black Friday? What do you think?

Michael:
You know, I think that Black Friday is more like black November this year. I mean, every store is releasing a lot of early Black Friday deals that look exactly like, you know, Black Friday deals. So it’s honestly worth it to just be kind of browsing all month long.

Rebecca:
Oh, I like that, so you really do get your, like, blurr day, Black Friday, we’re just going to have blurr

Michael:
Knomo.

Rebecca:
Black lember. Just get your stuff now, OUSA, what do you see. Like, what do you think. I loved WowWee last year when we talked to you, we had this conversation about like, is it really a deal on Black Friday or is that better in January. You know, so

Michael:
Mm

Rebecca:
What

Michael:
Hmm.

Rebecca:
Are you seeing that truly are deals that people should be on the lookout for this month?

Michael:
Yeah, so definitely TV’s this is Black Friday, as always, a great time to buy a TV, but we’re already seeing deals that are matching what we saw last year. So, for example, we saw a 50 inch TV for one hundred and fifty dollars. And it’s like, that’s a great deal no matter what time of year it is.

Rebecca:
That’s crazy. Where was that?

Michael:
I believe that was one of the earlier deals from Best Buy, but I’m yes, that was from Best Buy. It was an insignia, 50 inch fire enabled TV.

Rebecca:
Wow, that’s really good.

Andrea:
What’s happening, you know, with the whole instore thing, I mean, so many people are doing online shopping this year and love their in-store Black Friday deals and their door buster deals, how are stores handling this? I know a lot of stores, even some of the big warehouse stores are kind of trying not to promote in-store shopping this year because of covid.

Michael:
Absolutely. Yeah, one of the big things is stores are putting into place a lot of like, you know, social distancing measures and making sure you can only have, like, a few people in the store at the same time. So to combat this and help people actually be able to buy stuff, they’re offering basically all of their door busters online. And you have a longer period of time to get those door busters like a Wal-Mart Black Friday sale. Official Black Friday sale kicks off on the 25th. So even with those door busters, you’ve got more time than you ever have before.

Amy:
And we’re so used to seeing those huge crowds on

Michael:
Mm

Amy:
Black

Michael:
Hmm.

Amy:
Friday, do you think there’s going to be any of that this year? Like are there any stores that are just trying to press forward with normalcy and are opening super early and doing all of that? I know I saw a list of a huge list of stores that are closed on Thanksgiving,

Michael:
Yeah.

Amy:
But what are you looking at for like that actual in person day? Should anybody even bother?

Michael:
I mean, the short answer to that is no, there’s literally no reason to go into a store on Black Friday, that there are stores that are opening up around like, you know, 5:00 a.m. But we’re not seeing any of those midnight openings that we’ve seen in years past.

Amy:
Uh.

Michael:
Just about everybody is closed on Thanksgiving, as you mentioned. And like I said, all of the deals that you see in store are going to be the deals that you see online. So there’s genuinely no point. And honestly, there’s no point in even waiting for Black Friday because so many deals are being offered in these kind of like slow roll out sales, like Target is announcing new deals every Thursday throughout November. So, honestly, if you see a great deal right now, just go ahead and buy it. And if the price drops later, you can just always ask for a price adjustment and, you know, get the difference back as a refund.

Rebecca:
You know, that’s so interesting, too, because they’re really discouraging people with this massive new surge of cases not to be with family and it’s so hard but not to travel this holiday season. So I think also a lot of people are going to have to ship their gifts where maybe they would have brought gifts

Michael:
Mm hmm.

Rebecca:
To their families homes or their friend’s homes. So how what is your sense of like how well is shipping going to work this year? Because it seems like there’s going to be a huge uptick in the amount of gifts that are being sent.

Michael:
You know, I ordered a pair of earbuds from Amazon last week, and it arrived in two days like normal, I believe the closer we get to that big holiday rush, like towards the end of November, that’s just not going to be reality. It’s not going to be feasible to get stuff shipped as quickly as we’re used to. And we know that there have been issues with the USPS. We know that there have been issues with products shipping from overseas taking longer than usual, like we still are dealing with the trade and tariff issues, even though it’s no longer in the news. There’s those haven’t been done away with like we’re still dealing with massive, massive backlogs at our ports. So I think the holidays is going to be kind of this perfect storm for huge delays in shipping.

Amy:
So I can’t do my usual order it from Amazon on the twenty third of December, and I’m not even kidding like that’s my krutch.

Michael:
I mean, this is a great year to go ahead and buy a gift card of.

Rebecca:
Well, where are those dolls? I love those gift card deals, like I feel like every year there’s there’s some site

Amy:
This

Rebecca:
That you can end up buying gift cards like a big

Amy:
Is.

Rebecca:
Discount that you can spend later.

Amy:
I know it’s free money, I buy them for myself.

Michael:
Oh, absolutely. I will say that if you are going to, you know, be on the prowl for gift cards, just wait till December, because that’s when we see a ton of those, like bonus deals where it’s like you buy 75 billion in gift cards and you get a twenty five dollar gift card for free. I highly recommend just hanging out and waiting because we see more gift card deals in December than literally any other time of the year.

Amy:
Knomo.

Rebecca:
That’s great to know and what sites are good for that for the gift card.

Michael:
You know, there are like, you know, Card Cash and Gift Card Granny and things like that, but honestly, they only sell like discounted gift cards and those are marketplaces. So you’re kind of at the mercy of whoever is selling the gift card for bonus deals. Honestly, you should just go to the store that you want the gift card from. So Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Amazon, they’re all going to have their own gift card deals. And they may be for brands that are not necessarily that store like that has had gift card bonus deals for Netflix, for example.

Amy:
Yeah, I can usually manage to get some free Amazon money from Wholefoods each time.

Michael:
Mm hmm.

Rebecca:
Right. So I’m wondering, how are you seeing? I mean, it’s obviously not going anywhere for a while and it has drastically shifted so many things, including consumer purchasing habits. What do you think this year? You know, sort of a big Black Friday trends that people are looking at, you know, buying for others, but maybe find themselves, you know, there was this huge burst in sort of home improvement and things like that. And I’ve been thinking about how we’re going to keep being able to eat outside all winter here in the East Coast. What are you seeing as sort of these larger trends towards what people are buying and wanting?

Michael:
So we know that consumer purchasing power is significantly lower than it has been. We, like people, just don’t have the kind of disposable income that they normally have at this time of year because people have had to buy necessities and, you know, maybe they’re out of work. Maybe they’re, you know, dealing with medical bills. The good thing is, with these sales being extended throughout the month, you’re not having to make like all of your big purchases at the end of the month when you also have to pay rent. So you can have you can use, you know, your latest paycheck in early November to maybe pick up some of those things that you’ve been putting off buying. But honestly, I think we’re going to see a lot of shoppers kind of panic shopping. So, OK, I have this money in my account right now. We may be going into an economic downturn or I may lose my job tomorrow. Like, let me just go ahead and, like, make a bunch of impulse purchases and try to like have, you know, a full pantry and, you know, clothes for the next three years, you know, stuff like that.

Andrea:
What do you think about I know a lot of times we steer people away from, you know, buying anything but that door buster, right? It’s like, OK, that’s a great deal. But don’t get distracted by other flashy things because it may not be a great deal as people shop online. And as you say, the stores are going to have those kind of so-called door busters available to everyone. You know, should they still be priced comparing as they shop? Will stores be offering kind of you know, if the price goes down, they’ll match it. How will that work this year?

Michael:
Yeah, so typically, it’s really hard to get a price match between stores for Black Friday, so you have, you know, you might say like, oh, Best Buy has this great deal on a TV. Let me see if Target will match it, because I have you know, I’m already buying this other stuff at Target. Right. However, it’s difficult to get those price matches. What we are seeing is big box stores will say that they’ll price match themselves. So, for example, at Target, you’ve got through, I think, December 25th, if a price goes down on anything, even ask for that price adjustment.

Amy:
It’s so amazing.

Michael:
Yeah, it’s incredibly convenient. In general, you have about 14 days from most stores to ask for their price price adjustment. But I mean, if you see a price go down, just go ahead and ask for one. Like, there’s literally no risk. The worst they can do is say no.

Amy:
Now, we all know that I like to use this podcast as my own personal research arm because I’m not buying any major appliances for gifts, but I need some. Is this a good time to buy things like kitchen appliances, or is this just like the absolute wrong time of year?

Michael:
So Black Friday does have good deals on appliances above all else, vacuum’s are incredible to buy during Black Friday.

Amy:
But I don’t need that.

Michael:
Yeah, I’m sorry.

Andrea:
No, but Michael’s right because I was just talking to an unnamed vacuum company who told me their Black Friday price on an item and I was like, whoa, I wish I needed that.

Amy:
Wow.

Andrea:
So, yes, they are going to be quite appealing.

Amy:
So not so much your refrigerator’s.

Andrea:
Or washer dryers.

Michael:
So you do see like between 20 percent and 40 percent off like those those large appliances, however, those come with a lot of caveats. They typically come with like up to like 150 dollars for freight shipping, even if it’s marked as free shipping on the website. That’s definitely one of those where if you happen to own a really large truck, you should just go pick it up yourself.

Rebecca:
That’s so interesting, too, because I wonder about like we were saying, everyone sort of people sort of beefed up their homes, if they could, over covid, like everyone’s looking at their large appliances, like, oh, my oven’s 20 years old and it takes 30 minutes to breathe. So maybe that’s something I want to invest in. But when is so if it if Black Friday is not really the time for those appliances, when is.

Michael:
So typically with large appliances, you want to be shopping around kind of like major patriotic holidays, if that makes any sense. So we will see some some discounts show up around Veterans Day, for example. But probably the best time all year to shop is going to be Presidents Day, Fourth of July, for whatever reason, whatever you see, a bunch of sale tags with American flags on them. That’s when you should go shopping for large appliances. I don’t know why.

Amy:
I love my country and I love my kitchen.

Rebecca:
That’s right, are you want to love your kitchen, I guess, and then, you know, the other thing I’ve been thinking about this year is this this last year when we talked about it with you, to never really occurred to me was travel. And then this year I’m thinking, how on earth can can we buy travel ahead of time like the deals? I know the deals. They’ve already been fantastic, but it’s scary to buy travel.

Michael:
Travel is such a difficult category right now because you have so many travel agencies offering these absurd deals like end it for flights, we have seen flights go down to like 19 dollars like. And granted, those are for those like short hop flights from like Las Vegas to Los Angeles. But like, the prices are really, really good. Unfortunately, we don’t know when it will be advisable to travel for entertainment again. And at this point, I would just say, you know, if you can find a sale where you can book way, way, way ahead for, you know, say, the middle of 20 or 21, then then I would say go ahead and jump on it. But just don’t book any travel during December. Don’t book for early next year. It’s just it’s not worth it. You may lose your money.

Rebecca:
Right, I mean, eventually these airlines are going to stop being so generous with their, like, cancel any time, right? Like everyone’s doing that now, but eventually they are going to cut back on that.

Michael:
And it’s worth noting that the major travel kind of aggregator sites like Travelocity and Hotwire, they have stayed like they’re real sticklers about what can and can’t get a refund. I was actually about to go to a conference this year and I literally lost a thousand dollars because they wouldn’t give me a refund.

Amy:
Oh, my God, when had you booked it?

Michael:
I had booked it originally and January for a conference in July conference. I moved to December and then it was canceled altogether and turned into a virtual conference. And by June, whenever I went to go and cancel Hotwire, Justin, give me my money back.

Amy:
You know, I’ve heard stories like that with places like that where you’re kind of buying through somebody else. I mean, I had a similar situation and I just got a huge credit from directly from the airline. It’s a credit, not a refund. But I have until the end of 2022 to use it.

Michael:
Yeah, honestly, with some of these travel deals and stuff, I would go to these travel aggregators and sit and like see what deals they’re offering and then call the hotel, call the airline and say, hey, can you match this price? Because I would much rather buy from you.

Amy:
Yeah, that’s that’s really good advice.

Rebecca:
Yeah, that’s a really good advice and that fine print that nobody ever reads like, now’s the time to read fine print, right?

Michael:
Absolutely,

Amy:
Uh.

Michael:
It’s worth noting, like a lot of people are saying, get travel insurance, travel insurance doesn’t cover covid related. In most cases, it doesn’t cover covid related cancelations.

Rebecca:
Yeah, we had that happen this summer. My daughters were supposed to go to Germany on this big trip they planned and I was booking dotcom, but they same thing. The the hotel in Berlin wouldn’t give them their money back, even though they weren’t allowed to come to Germany, you know, by the German government, like the German government said, you cannot come, you us person. And and they still wouldn’t refund the money. But I will say that Chase did

Amy:
Oh, wow.

Rebecca:
The credit card company when we contacted them and told them what happened, they refunded the money.

Michael:
That’s

Rebecca:
So,

Michael:
Really got.

Rebecca:
Yeah. So that sometimes your credit card that you use, you should check and see what their sort of protection is consumer wise, probably because it also wasn’t very much money. It was like a hostel, but it was annoying. You know, it’s

Michael:
Mm

Rebecca:
Like two

Michael:
Hmm,

Rebecca:
Hundred, ten dollars for the two of them.

Michael:
Yeah, no.

Rebecca:
But that’s something to think about when you’re shopping this this year in general, what kind of consumer protection your credit card gives you.

Michael:
Absolutely.

Andrea:
So just ask one more Black Friday question, if I can, so with so many people turning their homes into offices and workspaces and schools, I know there was kind of a run on laptops and chrome books. Are they going to be back in stock? Is this still a good time to buy those?

Michael:
Yes, I would definitely say that this is a good time to go ahead and buy a laptop, especially if you’re looking for like those cheaper ones, those chrome books and stuff like that. We have seen recently a lot of deals on convertible laptops. So there there’s laptops where, like, the screen swings all the way around to turn into a tablet. Dell has a ton of those they inspire online. They have discounted the whole thing. And I mean, like right now they’re between 100 and 200 dollars off. But as we get closer Black Friday, I would expect to see even more of those. And I will say my daughter really, really loves using a touch screen for a virtual school. It’s just so much easier for her to kind of like, interact with because she’s not comfortable typing. So she tends to, like, draw her answers on the screen.

Amy:
Ah.

Rebecca:
No, that’s great. What about, you know, the big kahuna, apple like that, everyone waits like, will there be an Apple deal because it never happens. What are we looking at with Apple for Black Friday?

Michael:
So for Apple, because they just released a whole bunch of new like their latest generation of stuff, so like the newest iPads, the newest iPhones, those will get very, very, very modest discounts. But the previous generation so your iPhone elevons your the old Apple TVs and then older iPads, those are all going to be really, really good deals. It’s worth noting that, like home party, if you’re looking for smart home stuff, those will be around 200 dollars again. And then the newest iPad could potentially fall to 250. I haven’t seen that happen yet. But I mean, hope springs eternal.

Rebecca:
And where would that be, would that be on apples like this apple have the best deals themselves on their own website, or

Michael:
No,

Rebecca:
Is that a Best Buy kind of thing?

Michael:
No, definitely target tends to have the best iPad deals year after year after year. Best Buy is really good for those. If you’re signing up for like a new phone plan or whatever, they tend to have really competitive deals for like when you sign up for a new two year plan with Verizon or whatever, you can get this X amount of gift card whenever you buy a new iPhone. Wal-Mart also does that. But again, those are just for kind of new phone plans.

Rebecca:
So my last one, I guess, is gaming,

Michael:
Mm hmm.

Rebecca:
Because that’s also a big one, especially with families at home. I mean, maybe people feel like their kids have been doing a little too much gaming right now. But, you know, it’s I think it’s been a lifeline for people over the last nine months in a lot of homes. So are we going to see, you know, good gaming TVs? Because I felt like prices soared, particularly the beginning of the pandemic, because there was such demand.

Michael:
Absolutely, I will say one thing not to buy as the new X5 or the new Xbox series. Those are not going to be on sale, even like the typical kind of like holiday bundles that we see. Those are not going to get real discounts. However, the previous generation for PS4 Pro and last year’s like Xbox s those are going to be great deals, especially if you’re shopping from like GameStop. People don’t typically shop at GameStop anymore and lots of GameStop stores are closing. But if you can get a hold of one of their reverbs, you can save a ton of money. And the great thing about GameStop is if you buy a console from them, you know, during one of these big sales like Black Friday, you can typically get a huge bundle of video games to go along with it. So you’ll get like, you know, five games for the price of three or something like that. It is really worth checking out GameStop if you’re shopping for previous generation games.

Amy:
I’m a huge fan of reverbs for electronics because,

Michael:
Oh, yeah.

Amy:
I mean, so many of them just get opened and then returned and like they they go over them with a fine tooth comb and you get the full warranty. It’s fantastic.

Michael:
Mm hmm. Apple, Apple reverbs are like the industry standard because they’ll come within one year of apple care and Apple really does basically make a whole new device

Amy:
Mm hmm.

Michael:
And may have some, like, cosmetic issues. But like, really, it’s going to work exactly like a new one. So I would say don’t even bother buying a brand new Apple device. Just go ahead and buy a reverb

Amy:
Wow.

Michael:
And save yourself a little bit of money. But make sure that you’re getting a Apple refurbished Apple product because third parties are not as reliable.

Amy:
Hmmm, that’s a good point.

Rebecca:
Yeah, that’s a good thing to know, I know I’ve had multiple friends now who had Apple like with third party batteries put in and

Michael:
And

Rebecca:
They lit on fire.

Amy:
Are

Michael:
Wow.

Rebecca:
Yeah,

Amy:
Not what

Rebecca:
Yeah.

Amy:
You’re looking for.

Rebecca:
Really scary. Yeah, it was crazy, like bought off of eBay, you know, they bought new batteries off of eBay and whatever it installed them. And it happened to a few friends, which is what was so scary about it.

Michael:
Oh, my goodness.

Rebecca:
So and also I want to talk a little bit about toys because I think people are sort of used to these big toy discounts for Black Friday. Like toys are sort of a general thing.

Michael:
Mm

Rebecca:
But,

Michael:
Hmm.

Rebecca:
You know, you brought up things stuck at the ports then.

Michael:
Yeah.

Rebecca:
And I know the toy industry was really hit by that.

Michael:
Absolutely.

Rebecca:
And so how is what’s how’s that shaping up toy wise?

Michael:
So one thing that we have seen kind of consistently in these early Black Friday deals is Leggo. Leggo

Rebecca:
Oh.

Michael:
Is everywhere and Lego definitely is one of those toys that, like, only goes on sale in November and December. So, yeah, Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon, all of them have a ton of Lego deals right now. And it is very much worth shopping that if you are looking if you have someone who is obsessed with Lego like my son is.

Rebecca:
Yeah, like those are expensive.

Michael:
Yeah. That they’re not not cheap,

Rebecca:
Yeah.

Michael:
But you can get them for usually around up to 50 percent off. And the Lego store itself, the LEGO Brick Friday sale, we’ve seen discounts of up to 60 percent off in that sale before, which means if you’re going through, like their clearance section, that’s a really good time to kind of like get a bunch of small sets and just kind of toss them in a box and give them to your kid on Christmas.

Rebecca:
That’s great, or their birthday, just just hoard

Michael:
Yeah.

Rebecca:
Them throughout the year or just rewards for, like, the long days ahead. That’s great to know. So so here’s our takeaways, right. No, no one go to the store to shop

Michael:
Please

Rebecca:
Online,

Michael:
Don’t go to Staub.

Rebecca:
Although I did read that curbside pickup has just soared because people sort of want to get out of their house, but

Michael:
Yeah.

Rebecca:
They don’t want to shop in the store.

Amy:
Or they don’t want to pay for shipping.

Michael:
Yeah, now and a lot of stores have they have a lot of incentives for curbside pickup, so, you know, like them, you might find like little goodies in your bag. I know I went and did curbside pickup from GameStop recently, and they put a bunch of, like, little little minis and little toys in the bag.

Amy:
Ah.

Michael:
And it was it was really nice.

Amy:
That’s cute.

Rebecca:
That is nice, it’s like thoughtful and it’s

Michael:
Yeah,

Rebecca:
Like a chain, so you wouldn’t think those are the little

Michael:
Yeah.

Rebecca:
Touches I guess they’re doing and you have human contact of some kind, right? Like,

Michael:
Mm

Rebecca:
I feel

Michael:
Hmm,

Rebecca:
Like there’s a dearth of humanity happening

Michael:
For sure.

Rebecca:
In our shopping now. And I guess also it’s kind of a reminder to to shop small, like if there’s stores in your neighborhood, you live in places where there’s really neighborhood stores that are doing curbside, even though they might not have these big Black Friday deals like it is, I don’t know. It does seem like a time in this pandemic to really be thinking about how we’re going to save these stores.

Andrea:
Yeah, support your local stores, yep, absolutely, and, you know, if you don’t want to pay for shipping from those local stores, you certainly can go out and have someone sit in the car while you you know where you get your curbside pickup.

Michael:
Absolutely, and the same thing goes for those kind of like experiences and services. This is a great time to buy gift cards to like your local barber, your local tattoo parlor, so that you can, you know, give them some money now to kind of keep them open so that whenever you can go back, you’ll be able to take advantage of, you know, whatever gift card you bought.

Rebecca:
Yeah, that’s a great idea. So it’s like from the very big from the hundred and fifty dollar fifty TV to your local tattoo parlor. Yeah, it’s a it’s a it’s going to be an interesting Black Friday. It’ll definitely be interesting to see, you know, how people shop and what people buy this year. I think it’ll be a little different. Well, thank you, Michael. This was great as always. Now I know to look at a target every Thursday. Who knew?

Amy:
Yeah, I don’t know.

Michael:
For sure.

Rebecca:
I didn’t know that was a thing. But, yeah, I’m excited. I definitely have my my eye on an iPad. So now I’m like, OK, now I know what to do. I’m like refurbished. Go to Apple or keep watching Target.

Michael:
Absolutely.

Rebecca:
But thank you so much for joining us and have a good Black Friday and beyond.

Michael:
Everybody, stay safe.

Amy:
Yeah.

Rebecca:
Yes, stay safe, stay healthy,

Andrea:
Yes, stay healthy,

Rebecca:
Stay sane with your kids and hopefully

Andrea:
Happy

Rebecca:
Well,

Andrea:
Shopping.

Rebecca:
Happy shopping and hopefully we’ll talk to you again soon. Maybe maybe we’ll have a conversation about those patriotic sales coming up. We won’t wait for Black Friday, but it’s always great talking to you. Thank you so much.

Michael:
Take care, y’all have a good one.

Amy:
You too.

Rebecca:
We will be right back with our Bytes of the Week.

Rebecca:
So this week we thought we would do something a little different and our Bytes of the Week. are actually gift suggestions. We’re going to be compiling these over the next few weeks to make a gift guide that will have links to everything. But we thought we would kick off with things we think everyone might enjoy this holiday season. Amy, what do you have?

Amy:
All right, so I have two recommendations and the first one. Rebecca, you’re going to hate it.

Rebecca:
Cool,

Amy:
It’s

Rebecca:
It’s a cat. No,

Amy:
It’s well, I think you would love a cat if you were able to. That’s not

Rebecca:
I

Amy:
Your fault

Rebecca:
Would.

Amy:
Because you have allergies. But it is. You know, we talk a lot about trackers, about fitness trackers and smart watches. And I’m I always want the one with the most stuff on it, like, you know, the Fitbit sense. If I could download my own music to it, it would be on my wrist right now. But they need to fix that issue. But I recognize that a lot of people who don’t have smartwatches like my husband, it’s because they don’t want the distraction. They don’t want something buzzing all day and, you know, giving them notifications for their phone and all that stuff. And so Amazon has gone the opposite direction with their new Halo band, which has no screen. Everything you see is on the app. And it has some really, I think, cool features. Other people say creepy. So it’s in the in the eye of the beholder, but it does all the stuff you would expect of a fitness tracker. It’ll do steps and it’ll do it’ll do fitness. It gives you like fitness points during the day. But the cool thing is it also takes them away. If you’re not moving, which Fitbit doesn’t do, it does sleep tracking. It does heart rate. It does all that stuff. But then it also has a microphone and tracks your tone and your mood, which.

Rebecca:
Wo.

Amy:
Yeah, and like the reviews of people who have been using it for this, they say it’s like scarily accurate, like to the point where they’ve used it in arguments with spouses to say no. The Halo says that I wasn’t being snotty. So, you know, or like some people will like, you know, see what it said after a business meeting, you know, like like how is my tone during the business meeting? Things like that. So I think that’s really interesting. I don’t know of any other device that does that. It also will, in conjunction with the app to a 3D body scan. We’re kind of like you. You you know, you stand there in your underwear and turn around and and it does a 3D scan, which gives you lots of info about your body and then also lets you see how your body would look at different fat percentages, which has been controversial. But I also

Rebecca:
All

Amy:
Find

Rebecca:
The Rage:.

Amy:
Fascinating. So, you know, if you want something that does all of the fitness and body and mindfulness stuff without the connectivity to your phone giving you like, you know, call notifications and news notifications and all that stuff, I think this is a really good thing to look at. It’s right now 69 dollars with early access. And to get early access, you basically tell them you want early access. And I didn’t find it hard to get approved at all. I don’t know what their criteria is. Eventually it’ll be ninety dollars million and then there’s a 399 a month fee for all that stuff. But you get a six month free trial. If you decide you don’t want to pay three ninety nine a month, you get the basic stuff, you get the sleep tracking, you get the activity tracking, you just don’t get stuff like the mood tracking and the the, you know, fat scan and all that. So I thought that was very cool. The

Rebecca:
Yeah, the mood tracking is hilarious.

Amy:
Yeah I,

Rebecca:
Sorry,

Amy:
I cannot

Rebecca:
It’s

Amy:
Mind

Rebecca:
Just weird.

Amy:
Scan it. Mine is getting here. We’re recording a couple of days early. Mine is getting here the day that this episode is going up. So it will be on my wrist by then and I’ll, you know, kind of curious, I, I’m a little worried that like it’s just going to say that I’m a sarcastic bitch all the time, but then it would be accurate. So that was that was my first recommendation. My second recommendation is not one specific thing. It’s a category of things, but something that I’ve been doing a lot of research on lately because we were going to buy one and then decided to go in another direction. But I didn’t want to waste all of that research. So I am going to give you the list of the dozen or so fire pits that I had narrowed my prospective purchase down to, because I think that a lot of people, since they’re staying home or and hanging out with family more, and especially with the weather getting colder, supposedly not in Brooklyn yet, but it will be soon. They’re looking for other ways to hang out with their family. And hanging out outside around a fire pit is glorious. I mean, it’s I don’t know what it is about just having that warmth in the middle. Like, it’s not the same as just like, you know, being bundled up and being warm. Like there’s just something about having that fire in the middle of the group that. Is

Andrea:
And

Amy:
Oh,

Andrea:
It’s mesmerizing.

Amy:
It’s

Rebecca:
Yeah.

Amy:
Wonderful.

Rebecca:
And it makes Seymours.

Amy:
Yes.

Andrea:
I I bought that one for his birthday, which

Amy:
Oh.

Andrea:
Was in March, and, you know, he got it at the end of March, which was right when covid restrictions were being put in place. And he used it through the spring, not so much in the summer, but in the fall again, because he’s got a backyard and his friends come over and they sit outside and they social distance and they’ve got the fire pit to keep them warm. So you’re right, Amy, it’s a great

Amy:
It

Andrea:
Category.

Amy:
Is it’s just it’s it’s so I mean, it’s not like nobody had fire pits before this, but now I just see friend after friend after friend getting them. You know, they’re definitely having a moment. So I will put all of my choices up there. There are two basic categories. You can get the wood burning ones or you can get the propane ones which hide the tank under a pretty thing and you just, you know, turn it on like you would a fake fireplace. So depending on how much work you want to do with it, you can either go pretty cheap, pretty inexpensive for nice looking things with the fire burning, or spend a bit more and have a nice propane tank and just turn it on and off.

Rebecca:
Cool.

Andrea:
Ok,

Rebecca:
All right, Andrea.

Andrea:
Ok, so my my gift ideas for today are some practical things, some cool things that I’ve been using in the house and trying, you know, we’re home and we’re multitasking and like, I just keep needing to set reminders for everything. And so along with my Aleksa, which I have all over the house, as you guys know, Lenovo has the next version of their smart clock. It’s called the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential. And I love this thing because it doesn’t look like a smart assistant. It’s it’s kind of looks like a retro style clock radio. It’s got a four inch led display and it’s powered by Google assistant, which is different for me. And sometimes I prefer that to my miss a options all over the house. So the display gives you the time. You can set an alarm. Of course, you see your day of the week, you can get your temperature, you can get your weather. And then a lot of times I’ll just say, like, what’s my next appointment? What’s my next conference call? What’s the news? Sometimes I use it if I’m working out and I just have it play CNN in the background so I can listen to it. It it looks very discrete. It’s got this kind of textured gray fabric, the speakers, OK, I mean, I don’t know that I would play music for a party in it. It would be a little underpowered for that. But it’s definitely a good speaker for listening to music while you work out or listening to the news or a podcast for sure. And of course, like, I’ll use it at night to set my alarm. And then in the morning I can either, you know, say to turn it off or kind of smack it in it and it’s and it snoozes. It doesn’t turn off, but you can snooze it. So it’s pretty cool. And right now it’s fifty dollars, but you can get it on Black Friday sales. I’ve seen it as low as twenty nine ninety

Amy:
Wow.

Andrea:
Nine, which is a really great gift. Ideas the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential.

Amy:
Does it look like the old one, because I love the way the old one looked.

Andrea:
Yes, yes, very much like the old one, and I like that a lot. You know, it doesn’t look like a big honking, smart home device

Rebecca:
Right.

Andrea:
Or a big speaker. It looks like a clock radio. And then the other thing that’s super practical, you know, some of us have the new USB type phones or you SBC charging laptops along with iPhones in the house and everything else are micro USB. I know my electric wine opener is micro USB. So Otterbox, which is one of my favorite phone case companies, has a mobile charging kit and it’s basically a very slim portable external battery or mobile charger. Not big, not heavy. And it comes with a cable that does USB to lightning, USP Mini or USB C, so it’s basically going to charge anything you need. It’s got a 5.1 million battery, so that’s good for like two for iPhone recharge. So you can use it to charge things in the house. You can use it to charge things on the go if you’re going anywhere, you know, maybe if you’re going to curbside pickup and you want to take a take a charger with you, since it’s Otterbox, it’s definitely durable, good for outdoor use, comes with a lifetime warranty. And I think those started 34 ninety five. So that’s a great gift idea for someone who if you’re not sure what kind of phone they have or what kind of charger they need, and we’ll put a link to that on our on our little holiday gift list.

Amy:
That’s a great stocking

Rebecca:
Yeah,

Amy:
Stuffer.

Andrea:
It is,

Rebecca:
That’s

Andrea:
Yeah.

Rebecca:
So good, it’s so funny, the like the more things you buy, then you need like new accessories for I mean it’s like you can’t just ever get one like clean, like Khan. Everything is just one charging point like this. That’s it. Everyone decide it’s universal. I feel like I’m constantly needing like new little like dongles. Dock’s like all these things.

Andrea:
Yeah,

Rebecca:
It’s.

Andrea:
Well, and if you buy an iPhone 12 now, you’re going to need a power adapter.

Rebecca:
Right, I mean, it’s like bananas, so, all right, that’s a good one by necessity. So my two this week, I was sort of in my giftee had one is if you have a Bruce Springsteen lover in your house, there is a new giant coffee table book called Bruce Springsteen, the stories behind the songs. And it’s it’s interviews with the whole band and Bruce Springsteen. And then it goes behind the writing and the recording of pretty much every song in his career.

Amy:
Wow.

Rebecca:
So it’s really, really awesome. It’s a big honkin coffee table book. So if you have that person in your life and it is if you’re of a certain age, most of us do with

Amy:
Yeah.

Rebecca:
Someone, it’s a it’s a really cool new book and it’s not an expensive thing. I think it’s like retails for like thirty five. So I think on Amazon it’s probably about twenty five. It’s not like one hundred dollar coffee table book. And my other thing sort of in line with Amy’s list of fire pits is my recommendation for like a travel flannel blanket.

Amy:
Uno.

Rebecca:
A lot of restaurants are now BYOB. Bring your own blanket because they can’t give them out to the customers because of covid,

Amy:
Oh.

Rebecca:
But they want everyone to be warm outside. So they’re actually recommending that you bring a blanket to, like, lay across your lap. And so L.L. Bean, I think Eddie Bauer, there’s a bunch on Amazon you’ll see now this whole resurgence of stadium blankets, they’re called. So they’re really warm and fleecy on one side and usually waterproof on the other.

Amy:
For all the food

Rebecca:
And it’s what

Amy:
I smell when I eat, that’s perfect.

Rebecca:
Exactly I mean, kind of made for people who sit outside and watch football, you know, in the dead of winter. But now you will be using them to eat out at a restaurant to keep our restaurants

Amy:
So

Rebecca:
Open.

Amy:
We heard.

Rebecca:
So they’re great. There’s like a million of them online. If you look, I’ll put links to, like, some of the ones that I found that I like that kind of roll up and have a little handle for those of us who walk everywhere and maybe don’t take the car, but.

Amy:
Like a yoga mat, except for people who want to eat instead of do yoga.

Rebecca:
Exactly, and then you just kind of like put it across your lap, fleecy side down, and that waterproofs sign up for the crumbs.

Andrea:
So you don’t spell

Rebecca:
Exactly.

Andrea:
Anything.

Rebecca:
Or you can use it when you’re sitting around your firepit. But it’s sort of one of those things that will help extend the life of eating outside,

Amy:
That’s excellent.

Rebecca:
Which I’m all for. I’m sort of obsessed with how we’re going. I really am like, how are we going to keep eating outside? So all we think about, like, how are we going to keep these restaurants open?

Amy:
There’s someone a couple blocks from me. They they did plexiglass, they like basically a walled off each little booth and then each one has its own individual heater from the ceiling.

Rebecca:
Yeah,

Amy:
They just made a little

Rebecca:
We’ve

Amy:
Outdoor

Rebecca:
Had

Amy:
Restaurant.

Rebecca:
A couple of here, too. Yeah, they put out like electric heaters up above that are actually grounded so that they’re allowed to be in the street because I guess the propane ones aren’t allowed to be in the street.

Amy:
No, no, these are all the plug in ones, because I keep having to not trip over the the you know, like

Rebecca:
Rebecca

Amy:
They’ve got those

Rebecca:
Levey.

Amy:
Big things above, you know, containing all of the cords on the sidewalk.

Rebecca:
Yeah, I mean, I hope it works, I think certainly through till January, we should be good, but I think January, February are going to be tough. But we’re in for the long haul. We’re buying our little wool socks and our heat warmer things. You know, if you can do it when you ski all day, you could sit outside for an hour at a restaurant. So anyway, those are bites for today. That is our show for today. You can find links to everything we talked about on our show page at Parenting Bytes dot com, of course, on Facebook, dot com, such Parenting Bytes. You can see links to our show pages as well as leave us comments and ideas. And I don’t know if you can complain we’re OK with that, too. We’d like to just hear from you guys and wherever you are listening to us now, please rate reviews, subscribe and share. And until next time, happy parenting.

Amy:
By.

Andrea:
By.

Michael:
Hey, this is our Parenting Bytes disclaimer, everything we talk about on the show is our own opinion, any products we recommend, it’s our own personal recommendation for entertainment purposes only. If you buy something through our affiliate links or you just happened to buy or see or read or watch something that we recommended, it’s at your own risk.

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