This week, i've been working like a dog to bring you, dear reader, the best sales I could find on every possible thing across the internet. I've been scouring big-name retailers and small niche sites alike to find cheap boots, smart home stuff, PS4s and everything else I thought you might want, because if you by stuff we sometimes make a little money and that makes my boss happy. In fact, yesterday morning I was in the process of writing five different posts to go up this morning, rounding up everything I thought you could possibly want to save $20 or $100 bucks on.
I had the first one ready to go, and then I took a look at it, and then I realized that I saw that I didn't want to buy any of the stupid shit I was suggesting that you should buy.
It wasn't even cheap crap, but nice stuff like robot vacuum cleaners that should last for a while and will probably make your life more convenient. But as I went over my stuff, I realized that I didn't want it, which means you probably won't want it, which means I'd be lying to you if I told you to get it, which not only isn't something I want to do, but probably isn't good business in general.
I think a lot about buying stuff, not just for work, but in general, because I like nice things. I think having nice things can make our lives more convenient, more aesthetically pleasing, more entertained and more efficient. But I don't think that nice things can make life easier, and focusing this column on buying stuff for buying stuff's sake turns making life more pleasant via nice things into a base endorphin hit that burns out very quickly.
So, I paired this roundup of stuff to things that I think would make my life more pleasant. Some of these things are objects that I or one of my writers personally endorse. Some of them are things that other people I trust have endorsed and would very much like myself because I want my movies to sound better, or my fucking phone not to die in the middle of the day. Is this stuff that I need? Hell no. Is it stuff that'll make the things I like better? Yes.
So, this Black Friday, don't buy shit because you feel compelled because it's cheap. Buy new speakers because you love music and it'll make your music sound better. Buy a new pair of boots because they'll keep your feet warm and dry. Buy some new kitchen staples because you love baking. But don't buy stuff for buying stuff's sake because you're just going to be out of your hard earned money with a new thing you aren't going to care about.
It goes without saying that Black Friday is great for mindless, nihilistic consumerism. Yet, it can also be very good for comparatively controlled, measured consumerism, especially when you're using it to shave a couple hundred bucks off of a big purchase you've been planning for a couple of months. If they didn't sell out in my size I would've snapped up these runners from the most recent Adidas and Rick Owens collab (above) for over $200 off, but instead I'll be browsing around for another winter treat for my wardrobe. Nordstrom is taking up to 40% off huge swathes of their store. If you've been planning on being irresponsible with a purchase, now's the time.
If you haven't yet checked out Pete Cottell's foray into the world of starting a smart home (in his case, a smart bachelor pad), do so and see how it can make your life all the much more convenient. This Echo Dot/Fire Stick bundle is the smart home starter pack that kicked off Pete's whole obsession, letting him control his media streaming and online purchases with a simple voice command. For Black Friday, you can get it for $15 cheaper than what Pete paid for it.
And if you already have a smart home rolling, Amazon is hosting one zillion sales on their own Echo devices—you can get the Echo, which is like the Dot but with a much better speaker for $80 this weekend (down from $100), plus smart home accessories—plus extra Echo Dots for only $30. Or, check out sales on Nest's smart thermostat ($200 down from $250) which can pay itself off in two years, voice-activated lightbulbs ($14 down from $20), security cameras you can cehck from your phone ($150 down from $200), or just shop for yourself and see what you're missing.
3) Build the modern home theater of your dreams with Sonos' wireless audio equipment
Wireless audio company Sonos is beloved for their high-end audio equipment at comparatively sane (hundreds, not thousands) prices. Techy product review website Wirecutter called this Alexa-enabled sound bar their favorite because of it's three-channel playback, incredibly easy setup and rich sound. You can get it for $100 cheaper ($600) than usual this weekend.
Not only that, you can get most other Sonos products, like their playbase for stand-mounted TVs, their new, Alexa-enabled Play:1 speaker or entire surround-sound setups for at least $50 and up to a couple hundred off for Black Friday. This is the speaker system I'd have if I could afford it, and because it's comparatively inexpensive, I'm not that far away from affording it.
4) Replace that crappy nonstick pan you've had since college with our rapid fire kitchen tool discount bonanza!
This is the best possible day for finally buying real, adult products for your kitchen, replacing the plastic garbage that's long been ruined with real nice stuff that should last for years.
There's no product descriptions, no photos here: Just our picks for heavily discounted kitchen appliances, and you can Google them or check the reviews if you want another cosign.
Don't be a fool and wear sneakers around Portland all winter. Get a real pair of waterproof boots, stylish ones built for hellish Maine winters with all-rubber bottoms, triple stitched construction and leather uppers, and get them for 25% off with today's rare sale on L.L. Bean boots in just about every style. Just use the code FRIDAY25 at checkout.
Like most iPhone users, my iPhone 6s is completely dysfunctional following the new iOS, it's battery now constantly draining at a rate that can only be described as "deeply upsetting." This means I have to take a charger with me if I plan on going on some activity that's going to take most of the day. And if I have to do that, I'd might as well do it with the best charger.
Anker's Powercore is a 2-in-1 wall mounted phone and laptop charger with two USB ports and a micro-USB port. It's also a portable battery pack that you can use to charge your stuff on the go, and it comes with a carrying case and micro-USB cord. It's $5 cheaper today. It's as good as it gets for charging your stuff.
I like coffee, and I like my coffee at home not to taste like a boiled gym bag. Yet, I also don't have the patience for single cup pour overs in the morning, and I want to be able to make a full pot if I need to. Enter the OXO On Barista Brain, which simulates a pour over brew by heating water to 198-205 degrees and dispersing it over grounds with a special shower head that ensures even saturation. Plus, it looks sleek as hell, and is $75 cheaper ($128) this Black Friday. If you want good coffee and a sleek pot as much as I do, now's your chance.
Direct-to-consumer brand Status Audio is a hit over at the former Gawker network and the Amazon comments section alike. If you're hurtin' for a new pair of headphones and don't want to break the bank, the 4.6 starred CB-1 headphones are down to a bargain basement $55. They're studio-calibrated, meaning they have a neutral sound that's well-suited for any genre of music. If the left can (it's always the left) on your last pair of over-ear headphones died, pick up a pair for half the cost you normally would today.
(Cool Stuff is a new feature at Willamette Week where we feature product reviews, roundups, sales and other commerce and shopping-oriented content. All Cool Stuff reviews are editorially independent, meaning we provide honest reviews and aren't paid by the brands we write about. If you do choose to purchase something after following one of our links, Willamette Week may receive a commission, which helps fund our journalism.)