Next week is the third week in October but, as far as online shopping is concerned, it may as well be the fourth week of November. That’s because Amazon Prime Day (October 13 and 14) will not only offer Black Friday-like deals to Amazon customers, but it’s spurring competitors

Larry Magid

to offer their own discounts.

Starting in 2015, Amazon has had a big one- or two-day sale, typically in mid-July. But this year it’s much later and not too far ahead of the holiday shopping season which, traditionally, kicks off just after Thanksgiving. Although, in recent years, Halloween — not Thanksgiving — has marked the beginning of both in-store and online holiday sales.

Walmart is rolling out what it calls “Big Save,” starting Oct. 11 at 4 p.m. PDT and running through Oct. 15. Target’s holding a sale called “Deal Days” on October 13 and 14.

The COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for Amazon’s delayed launch of Prime Day, but, for early holiday shoppers, it might be a silver lining that Amazon and some of its biggest competitors are offering sales more than a month before Thanksgiving. For one thing, it lets you buy household items — like kitchen supplies and TVs — that might come in handy ahead of Thanksgiving.

Some deals are now available

And just as Black Friday deals start showing up a few days before Thanksgiving, I started to see Amazon and its competitors start offering deals earlier this week.

When I visited Amazon’s Prime Day webpage on Wednesday, I scrolled down to a section called “Early Prime Day deals” where I saw a 55-inch 4K UHD TV with Amazon Fire TV on sale for $299 — down from $499. An Echo Show 5 — Smart display with Alexa was half-price at $44.99. Like the competing Google Nest display, the Echo Show doesn’t just speak to you but shows you things like recipes or weather reports along with videos. We have a Google display in our kitchen that we use often for step-by-step cooking instructions.

Like Amazon, Target is already offering some early discounts on its Deal Days webpage but unless you find something you really need or want, you might want to hold off to see what’s offered when the real sale starts.

Once its Big Sale starts, Walmart deals, according to, will include a JVC 55-inch 4K HDR Roku Smart LED TV for $248, the Nintendo Switch Super Mario Party video game will sell for $39.99 and the Tzumi Ion Robotic Vacuum for $99.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday (the first business day after the Thanksgiving break) remain important days for consumers to snag discounts, and that is likely to be true this year. But anyone looking for a head start on holiday shopping ought to pay attention to what they’ll find next week. And there is also my favorite shopping day, Small Business Saturday, when consumers are encouraged to visit local independent merchants who are often having a tough time competing with big-box retailers and giant online e-tailers. It’s not clear how many people will want to visit a local store this coming Thanksgiving weekend, but some local stores let you shop online or by phone. Some will even put the merchandise in your car at curbside.

While it probably won’t be as extensive as Cyber Monday, multiple online merchants will join Amazon’s effort to convince people to virtually open their wallets to grab bargains.

It’s good to support local businesses

Having giant online sales is especially tempting this year when many people are reluctant to visit brick and mortar stores because of the possibility — however small if all precautions are taken — of contracting COVID-19. I’m doing almost all of my shopping online, though I have called or visited webpages of local stores to see if I could order and pay for things on the phone and have a clerk put them in the trunk of my car. In most cases, they are happy to oblige, though sometimes they need a physical credit card. When they need that card, I just put it in my trunk so they can run it through their machine. I know it’s probably safe to enter a store with a mask and gloves as long as everyone in the store is masked, but I’m not taking any unnecessary chances.

I don’t know how many small businesses plan to offer deep discounts over the next few days or what they plan for Saturday after Thanksgiving, but, if at all possible, I recommend you try to shop in your own community, especially during this very difficult time for small businesses that have had to close their doors during periods of the pandemic. If I see a good deal online on a product that can be bought locally, I’ll sometimes ask the merchant if they can come close to matching the price. I’m happy to pay a little more if the profits are remaining in my community.

Larry Magid is a tech journalist and internet safety activist.


By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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