It's fine to hate Black Friday – but there are diamond deals in the rough

I've been reporting on the Black Friday sales for over half a decade, and I now feel writing them off is a mistake

Women shopping in the Black Friday sales
(Image credit: Getty / Dan Dalton)

Yes, it's that time of year again, the time when every single brand in the world wants to hammer down your virtual door, grab your virtual hand, and then promise to guide you to the best Black Friday deals available.

And I'm the first to admit that we're doing just that at T3.com. We're not above this Black Friday drum banging in any way, although I do like to think that, as this is what we do all year round at T3.com, help our readers find the cheapest prices on top products, we do it better than others.

But, yes, I totally get those feelings of Black Friday fatigue through to outright revulsion that you're probably feeling right now. I get it as, let me tell you, I've reported on Black Friday for seven years now, written about hundreds of Black Friday deals, and I too totally run the gamut of those emotions each year as well.

"I mean, come on – Black Friday coffin deals?!"

My biggest Black Friday "WTF!" moment of this year so far came when I got an email from the maker of coffins (yes, you read that right, coffins, as in, what you're buried in) to let me know about its massive Black Friday discounts on top-rated coffins. I even got a follow-up email, too.

I mean, come on – Black Friday coffin deals?!

But that's the thing, right, no brand is immune from the lure of Black Friday, which over the past 10 years has grown into the biggest and most important worldwide shopping (and money-making) event, offering regular Joes like you and me the chance to get the products and services we desire for less.

Are Black Friday deals any good?

Ah, but I hear you say, "the Black Friday deals aren't actually good deals, Rob, it's all a racket to get us to spend money we really shouldn't on things we don't really need", and I totally hear you there.

Yes, I am sure that the biggest cases of buyer's remorse come from Black Friday each year, and I totally agree that you need to keep your eyes wide open to the industry standard dark arts that try to pass off things as a "deal" when actually they are far from it.

You can absolutely get burned in the Black Friday sales. That's a fact. What's also a fact is that nobody on Earth should ever, and I mean EVER, feel pressurised to spend money in the Black Friday sales that they normally wouldn't.

However, if there is one thing I would say after experiencing Black Friday for going on a decade of my life now up close and personal, I do think it is a mistake to completely ignore the event, and here's why.

How to spot those diamonds

There actually are plenty of diamond deals in the rough in each year's Black Friday sales, and there are also plenty of really smart, sensible discounts on everyday consumables and essentials that the vast majority of people can make use of and save proper money on.

For example, right now there's a seriously impressive deal on the Xbox Series S in Amazon's Black Friday sale that drops its price to £189. The console has never been cheaper than that and it would make a great gift for any gamer. It's a top piece of tech at a new lower price point that I feel most people can afford. To me, that's a great Black Friday deal.

But there's also a myriad of really great bargains on essentials and consumables in the Amazon Black Friday sale, too. Indeed, it is these less glamourous Black Friday deals that I've tended to buy most in years past, things like dishwasher tablets, lightbulbs, batteries, tools, candles and cleaning products.

I've written before for T3 that I'm a huge fan of Philips Hue smart lighting, and that is the number one product area that I've bought products in during the Black Friday sales over the past half a decade. And, you know what, I'm still using all of those Hue lights and products today. I bought them cheaper than normal and have used them, consistently, every single week since.

Like with the consumables, these Hue lights are things I was always going to buy but by engaging with the Black Friday sales I got them markedly cheaper. It's been a net win to my bank account, and my Hue setup, which is now quite comprehensive.

So, yes, while I totally understand feelings of "oh Black Friday can get stuffed", I genuinely believe it's still a smart idea not to ignore the shopping event entirely.

Top Black Friday tips

My top tips for shopping the Black Friday sales? Firstly, determine upfront the products you're looking for and stick to that list. Secondly, make sure you do your research on those products in terms of their pricing history, so you know what they've retailed for before the Black Friday sales started. And, thirdly, make sure you always cross-reference a deal price on a product with another store before pulling the trigger, as just because store A says it's a great deal doesn't mean it's currently even cheaper at store B.

For anyone who does shop the Black Friday sales this year, I wish you good luck. Just wish me luck, too, OK, as I've got Philips Hue lightswitch deals to find.

Deputy Editor for T3.com, Rob has been writing about computing, gaming, mobile, home entertainment technology, toys (specifically Lego and board games), smart home and more for over 15 years. You can find Rob's work in magazines, bookazines and online, as well as on podcasts and videos, too. Outside of his work Rob is passionate about motorbikes, skiing/snowboarding and team sports, with football and cricket two favourites. Feel free to contact him with any related products, events, and announcements.