Black Friday 2013 (From The Sidelines)

Coming of Black FridayI’m not sure why anyone would go out on Black Friday—or, lately, Thanksgiving Day—to brave the mayhem, riots and crowds for a few door busters that could be bought online. The last time I physically prowled the stores on Black Friday was for the mythical Wii-Beast when the Nintendo Wii first came out in 2007, which I didn’t get then and never got after it became widely available. A few years before that, my father and I arrived at the Wal-Mart in Mountain View to find 16 police cars in the parking lot after a riot broke out over a flat screen TV.

Since I’m still unemployed, I had to make every Black Friday purchase worthwhile.

A big-ticket item I would have gotten if Newegg had it at the right price was an Acer 23″ monitor to replace my eight-year-old Samsung 19″ monitor that recently died and match the Acer 23″ monitor that I already have. My right price was under a hundred bucks with free shipping. Didn’t happen. Newegg had that monitor listed with the suggested retail price of $199.99 USD and sold it for $129.99 USD with free shipping. Alas, $129.99 USD has been the regular price for many months. Even when the price dropped to $119.99, it still wasn’t a Black Friday deal.

An email from OfficeMax arrived the night before Thanksgiving Day. One item that popped out was the Skullcandy earbuds for $4.99 (50% off). I listen to audiobooks on my iPod Touch while walking, working out or waiting for the light rail. A pair of earbuds can last three months before disintegrating from wear and tear. I tried to order four pairs of the black earbuds, but the website limited me to two pairs of any color. So I ordered two pairs each of black and purple. Since I was four cents shy of getting free shipping, I added a canister of Clorox disinfecting wipes for a buck.

I downloaded “The Exorcist: 40th Anniversary Edition” by William Peter Blatty at $1.99 USD for the Amazon Kindle. Despite being a short story writer who published in a dozen horror anthologies over the years, I haven’t read the classic novels that defined the genre. After watching horror movies since I was a toddler in the 1970’s (I’m a big “Creature Feature” fan), and reading almost everything that Stephen King wrote, I knew enough horror tropes to wing it without being widely read. Reaching the next level of writing requires some extensive reading.

My final Black Friday purchase was the “CCNA In 60 Days” program for $70 USD (30% off). This is the first time that the author, Paul Browning, has ever offered a discount for his 60-day program on getting the Cisco Certified Network Associate certification. After building out an equipment rack of Cisco routers and switches, and reading every available study book, I haven’t committed myself to knowing the certification beginning to end between my ears. If everything works out, I’ll take the first exam in January and the second exam in February.