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Black Friday 2015: A retrospective look

I wasn’t planning on taking part in Black Friday this year. I’ve long since held that SA does not truly “do” Black Friday, for a myriad of reasons (including our particular history, social factors etc).

My suspicions were of course confirmed by 8% off sales trumpeted as if it were heaven-sent. Canal Walk was already full at 10am when I slipped away from work with a colleague to get supplies for our function on Friday afternoon. I wanted to go to Checkers to buy lip balm and withdraw cash, but had to turn back because the doors were closed and there was a huge crowd standing outside waiting to get in.

The “5 Cokes for R50” was just too much of a bargain for those people I guess.

The difference in Takealot’s Black Friday offering this year compared to 2014 was also noticeable. Last year they went head to head with Kalahari, with both sites going offline throughout the day. Now that Takealot has acquired Kalahari, this year’s deals were less than impressive.

The shop which really brought it this year was Spree. I didn’t even know they were doing Black Friday, but they went all in. After I got over the disappointment of Takealot, I was clicking through my other favourite online haunts when I saw Spree unloading tops and dresses for R40, R50, R60…The faster I tried to add to cart, the faster the items disappeared.

I managed to snag two dresses, a pair of pants and a skirt for R250 (!), and three work shirts, two pairs of jeans and casual slip ons for the SO for R600. As noted previously, clothing was the only thing I was looking out for in the sales since the SO and I both need to replace our wardrobes due to the physique changes we have undergone over the last year.

I also snagged a backpack off Zando for the SO, as a “yay on starting your first job” present. It’s a good bag, and I was willing to pay its R800 price tag, but I decided to wishlist it and wait a day. I then paid R479 for it the next day, and will get my 4% partner eBucks + 3% FNB ebucks of course.

Overall, Black Friday turned out quite well for me. Now that it’s Cyber Monday, I used Spree’s 30% off to purchase the gifts for my bridesmaids (which I will personalise later myself). I honestly see no reason to ever set foot in a shopping mall again.

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My biggest couponing coup yet: 94% off!

Last year, we bought our parents an air fryer. It’s normally R1799, but it was marked down to R750. The SO and I considered purchasing one as well, but we decided against it. I left it in my wishlist though.

We’ve been enjoying using it over the last few months. It’s convenient, makes the chips super crispy without oil, and can be used to bake or heat basically anything. We’ve made English muffins in there a few times, back when I was friendly with carbs – it was amazing.

On a normal weekday evening last week, I was trawling my Takealot wishlist, as I often do. I’m in the habit of doing a daily sweep of all my online shopping haunts, to keep a mental comparison of prices.

When I scrolled past the air fryer though, I stopped. I called my sisters to verify that it was indeed R99. I closed the browser and came back in: R99. I added one to my cart: R99. I checked out: R99.

R99!

So we ended up buying 8. Guess everyone we know will be getting air fryers for their birthdays.

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This is the one: Connected scale edition (decision)

This situation escalated rather quickly. So last week:

  1. Monday: I log a return on Takealot for my previous scale. I had only used it about 5 times in the 4 months I had it. I could not get it to calculate my body fat % no matter how many times I reset, and it had somehow managed to drain its battery. When it showed my weight as 10kg less than it really is, that was the last straw.
  2. Tuesday:T he SO and I start researching alternatives. Some options appear promising, but we can’t really decide.
  3. Wednesday: I’ve chosen the Aria. I then remember that I’m kinda over Fitbit and I don’t want to give them so much money, so I change my mind to the Withings WS-30. I then realise that’s still more than I’m comfortable paying for a scale, so I settle on the Prestigio Smart Body Fat Scale, which is cheaper and does some nifty things like bone density mass as well. However, Computer Mania does not have it in stock, and the guy tells me that they are phasing out Prestigio items, so probably not the best choice.
  4. Thursday: I come across the Withings Smart Body Analyzer again, and discover that Incredible Connection is running an online promo for it. Which ends that day. The SO declares that since it’s for my (our) health, and since it’s top of the range it better bloody well last a long time, I order it.
  5. Friday: I pick up my scale.
  6. Fry scale

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This is the one: Heart rate monitor (decision)

This is the HRM which gets bundled with the Vivofit as part of a deal:

Garmin HRM

After much debate (with myself), deal checking, number crunching, and review reviewing, I chose to get the Vivofit by itself and bought this separately instead:

Garmin Soft Strap Premium HRM

When I bought it two months ago, it was R400 off at Takealot. That’s right. The bundled deal (including that entry level, old model HRM) at the time was R1899, so I could have done that, or do what I did, and get the Vivofit for < R900, and the premium HRM for R679.

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Finally built my home server

Am I doing it right?

After a year of umming, ahhing and researching, 3 weeks ago I went ahead and purchased the remaining parts I needed for my home server (now known as Tangytop). I had already purchased the case in July (discounted 28% on Raru, with free delivery), and my PSU in September (discounted on 20% Takealot via daily deal, knocked an additional 20% off by using some eBucks, with free delivery). I had a spreadsheet tracking the various components I had my eye on across about 10 different sites.

I ended up buying the motherboard, processor and RAM off Takealot as well. In total, I paid about R3 200 for the system. That’s not counting the hard drives inside, as those I mostly had lying around and/or were swapped with the SO’s drives. Currently there is a 160GB Seagate running Win 8.1 Pro, a 3TB WD Green drive containing my watchables, and a 1TB Seagate containing my music, apps, games and misc. There’s also an external 80GB IDE drive containing photos and a 500gb portable drive containing a backup of my kdrama folder (priorities…).

I knew I wanted a smaller case this time around, and the PSU was actually supposed to be swapped with the SO’s 550W Antec. It would make more sense for the 730W to power the recently acquired graphics card, but due to a series of misunderstandings, we were left with the impression that the Raidmax was a dud (and some Googling seemed to confirm that). Happily though, it isn’t, so I now have a monster PSU powering Tangytop.

I decided on the APU as many HTPC forums and pcpartpicker confirmed that the A6 was an excellent choice for a home server: low power usage, dual core, and integrated GPU to help with streaming. I am delighted to say that it runs The Sims 2 excellently (but more on that headache later). I was going to steal 4GB of RAM from Sweetiepie, but ended up getting the 8GB stick and swapping it with the SO for the old 2x4GB sticks.

I was originally eyeing the MSI A55M-E33 mb, but lo and behold when I went to add to cart, “Out of stock”. I then found the A75M (for the same price, natch) but the shipping time was 15 – 20 days. No. For R100 more, I ended up with the A88XM. No optical drive, because seriously people, CDs have to go the way of floppys and stiffys already. Come on!

Currently, Tangytop is sitting next to the router (elevated on the desk), with an empty VGA cable stuck in the back (again, more on that later). I’m streaming music to my phone and tablet via Tonido (moooar, later) and will be setting up the VPN on it soon.

I’m very glad I decided to roll my own build this time – last time, I bought my parts through a place which also built Sweetiepie, so it ended up costing quite a bit (the parts were decidedly more high-end). Putting Tangytop together myself (with a little bit of help from the SO), without any issues, made me happy 🙂

IBM

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Since there’s only a limited time left

I’ve decided to “casual things up”. In my teens I never really wore “sneakers” or that kind of thing – I got my first (and only) pair of Chucks when I was 22. They are light pink, and still look new because I’ve only worn them a few times. No worries, because they were massively couponed (>50% off).

Seeing as I only have 5 4 and a bit years left before I am an Adult adult, I’m starting to wear my tshirts a lot more, and sneakers instead of pumps. I’m also wearing bright colours again. Or rather, brighter colours than I was already wearing before, in a more casual format.

What it boils down to is the fact that I needed to justify this:

Puma Sky High Sneaker Wedge in Purple and Black with Pink

Many thanks to my sisters for heeding my request for a Takealot voucher as a Christmas present, as well as the SO for putting up the rest of the funds. Also got 31% off the price because of #TakealotTuesday. Couponned! 😀 I don’t think that’s a word, but I have been and will continue to use it around here.

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Didn’t really want to mention this

I cannot keep quiet about this any longer. Kalahari’s Black Friday sale was a total shambles. I thought Takealot Tuesday was a fail, what with the desktop site being unavailable most of the day, but at least the app was running most of the day, and the mobile site worked perfectly. If one managed to get to the checkout page, the orders went through (based on anecdotal evidence – I didn’t actually buy anything from Takealot on Tuesday). I bought from them on last Monday, Friday and over the weekend using the app and desktop site – no problems.

Kalahari, on the other hand. No. All week I was eyeing a few items, and after seeing their TV ad I was quite amped. I even stayed up until midnight on Friday to be part of the dramatics. I managed to order the fragrance the SO likes for 60% off, and the fragrance I’ve been wanting forever for 70%. I’ve also been using voucher codes to get more discounts, so it was going well.

Friday rolled around, filled with promise, and the potential of spending my hard-earned cash. Unfortunately, Kalahari would not let me do that. That evening, as I tried to checkout multiple purchases for myself, my sister and my parents, the site kept rejecting our cards. Visa, Mastercard, cheque cards, credit cards, different accounts…It didn’t matter what I tried, I could shop around, add to basket and go through the checkout process, only to be rejected with a “possible phishing attempt” error.

To say I was irritated is an understatement. I kept trying all weekend, to no avail. By Sunday night, the items I had been eyeing were out of stock, or low on stock. So imagine my surprise Monday morning when I tried checking out again, all the items were back in stock (at either their original prices, or still discounted but higher than the Black Friday price). Not cool, Kalahari.

On the plus side, my sister had been trying to buy two watches, and yesterday the sale was 60% off those watches, so she actually ended up paying less for them than she would have if the order had gone through over the weekend. With the voucher code, it was R100 off that sale price as well. The cards were still rejecting though, so at the behest (ha) of my friend –

Ok I stopped there because Kalahari sent an email about >50% off fashion and beauty, my word I lost the plot there now for about 15 minutes, but guess what, I CAN’T EVEN GET TO MY BASKET BECAUSE THE SITE IS SLOW/DOWN AGAIN. So I got excited now about getting skincare and makeup for half off when I should know better by now, I should know that it will never work. Anyway, as I was saying –

I paid via EFT, the payment was processed 3 hours later and my package should arrive today. I had 8 packages scheduled for delivery yesterday, and most of them came so that was quite exciting. Another thing I did not like about the way Kalahari handled the Black Friday debacle was that their alleged solution to the browsing problems was to disable eBucks as part of checkout, so no one could earn eBucks on their purchases. Wow.