Can Cyber Monday redeem Black Friday?

As much as I love shiny new gadgets at deep discounts, I didn’t go out on Black Friday.

For one thing, I hate people. As a former New York City resident now living on marginally less people-infested Long Island, anything involving crowds and people in close proximity, particularly competing for something, makes me go all stabby. (Plus, I almost got into a catfight in Wal-Mart a few weeks ago over the last case of Diet Cherry Pepsi. I was there first and that woman lost her damn mind.) Considering the large volume of crowds expected by stores and riot gear calmly stacked outside in the hours leading up to the sales, I reasoned that shopping on Black Friday was not worth the hassle, no matter how many accessories my iPhone needs to really work as it should.

As is generally always the case, I was so right. Everyone I know who went out for the doorbusters came back worse than empty handed- they came back bogged down with shit they didn’t want or need, because no one wants to get up at 3am and buy nothing. The big “deals” we all salivated over for the past few weeks were like raffles, with few people scooping up a free Lego Rock Band at Old Navy or a $200 laptop.

Enter Cyber Monday, the online version of Black Friday. While your boss will notice you absent the office for a few hours and the piles of stuff stacked in it after if you nip out to the shops, lots of workers can sneak in some e-tail therapy at their desks under the boss’ radar.

One massive advantage to Cyber Monday shopping is the reduced ability of retailers to jerk shoppers around. While many people lined up at Best Buy for scarce, cheap netbooks and notebooks, your total investment of time for Cyber Monday shopping is a few clicks around a site to find where they’ve hidden the deals. If the quantities are super limited like in the stores, you’ll know without having to find a spot, push through crowds and knock down an old lady. Convenient!

While the big box stores warrant a post of their own, a great place to start your Cyber Monday strategizing is Retail Me Not, a deal aggregator with codes and deals submitted by the internet at large.Their list is exhaustive, but the site has quick, easy and intuitive search functions making the process pretty simple.

As listings for genuine Cyber Monday sales and deals are scarce or ambiguous, it seems the best strategy for the day is to surf early and surf often. Sites begin sales days at different time based on location and policy, so some update as early as midnight. And bear in mind that stores are just as desperate as shoppers this year to stimulate their finances, so deals are likely to go hot and heavy for the entire Christmas season. Do a quick Google shopping scan before searching to ensure the price you’re about to pay is indeed the lowest. And if you know of any fantastic deals we may be missing, ping me on Twitter at @klacapria and I’ll update with the good ones.