8 of the Worst Black Friday Deals We’ve Seen (and We’ve Seen ‘Em All)

Various Black Friday ads sit inside a wired waste basket.
Aileen Perilla/ The Penny Hoarder

As shopping has evolved, it has become a holiday event all its own.

While Thanksgiving once held the promise of a leisurely day spent with family and friends, for many that same dinner table is now the locker room. The big game is coming: Black Friday.

While we spend a lot of time here at The Penny Hoarder scouring advertisements and circulars in search of the best discounts and deals, we can’t help but notice a few duds in the pack.

Not only are these items not worth your time hauling the family out of bed for Black Friday for — or worse, leaving your pumpkin pie on the table to start shopping on Thanksgiving Day — they’re also probably not worth your money at all.

But we’ll let you make the call.

1. PopSockets

Target isn’t selling just ordinary PopSockets — you know, the doohickeys that attach to the back of your smartphone so you can hold it easier to take selfies. They’re selling HOLIDAY THEMED PopSockets. While normally $9.99 each, these are just $5 on Black Friday. Do the kids really buy these? I usually get mine from swag tables at professional conferences, then immediately lose them.

2. Apple TV 4K – 32GB

Courtesy of BestBlackFriday.com

Best Buy does not even pretend the latest Apple TV is on sale. It just threw it on page 22 for fun… or something. It’s $179.99. That’s regular price.

3. Num Noms Baking Oven Kit

Regularly $54.99, the Num Noms Baking Oven Kit will be on sale for $27.49. This looks like a bootleg Easy Bake Oven to me. If you’re going to let your kids cook using the power of only a single light bulb, let them do it in a real Easy Bake Oven.

4. Arcade1Up Pacman Retro Arcade Machine

Courtesy of BestBlackFriday.com

Tucked away on the back cover of the Walmart Black Friday ad is a bit of nostalgia: The Arcade1Up Pacman Retro Arcade Machine. Regularly $299, it is on sale for $249. But there is one big problem with this game machine: its height. At 46.5” tall, it’s only big enough for the kids to play. Meanwhile, the adults are the only ones who remember Pacman and will want to play it. Also: Assembly required. I warned you.

5. Cooks 6-Quart Fast Pot Multicooker

JCPenney is discounting the Fast Pot from $140 to $49.99. Sort of. You need to mail in a rebate to get $20 back after paying $69.99 at the register. You might as well just buy a real Instant Pot.

6. ‘Game of Thrones’ Bookend

Courtesy of BestBlackFriday.com

Head to Barnes & Noble for discounts on books, but skip this bookend, discounted 30% from $65.95. This is not a home accessory. This is a weapon.

7. Gloria Vanderbilt Ladies’ Amanda Jean

These Gloria Vanderbilt jeans are available only on Costco’s website, regularly $14.99. Sale price: $11.99. A measly $3 off. There is a limit of 10 pairs per customer, in case you were planning to stock up. You know what is another way you can save $3? Keeping your eyes closed in bed.

8. Hi-Pile Unicorn Throw Blanket

Courtesy of BestBlackFriday.com

This holiday season, Sears is like, “We have so many bills to pay, will you please buy something?” One option: This unicorn-emblazoned throw blanket is discounted from $39.99 to $19.99. As of this writing, it was already on sale for $21.99 online, plus a coupon code is listed for another 10% off. Which makes it $19.79. But, really, let’s all show our support for Sears.  

Lisa Rowan is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder, where this is her fourth year covering Black Friday deals (and duds).