Must-have shopping apps: TGI Black Friday, FastMall

With Thanksgiving behind us, prepare to be forcibly thrust into shopping during the busiest time of the year. Here are a pair of iOS apps to help you in your quest for the ultimate gift.

One thing that I don't like about the Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S. is the kickoff to the holiday "shopping season." I don't even like the term "shopping season."

My philosophy is that with the exception of things like apparel (shoes, for example), certain foodstuffs and haircuts, all retail commerce should be conducted online. I can't stand malls to begin with, and Thanksgiving means that I have to avoid driving many of the roads that run near malls because of the almost crippling traffic.

With the impending holidays coming, most people are obligated to purchase gifts for loved ones, and thus forcibly thrust into shopping at retail stores during the busiest time of the year. If you wince and cringe at the thought of purchasing atom-based gifts in the meatspace, here are a couple of iOS apps that could make shopping a little easier.

TGI Black Friday

Black Friday (November 26th, 2010) is the busiest shopping day of the year. Retailers, desperate to get you to part with your money, hold ridiculous sales on the day after Thanksgiving as "loss leaders" -- low-priced items designed to get you in the store in the hope that you'll purchase other, more profitable, items. The problem is that thousands of people clamor for the limited-quantity "door buster" items, so some advance planning is required if you expect to snare any of the deals.

TGI Black Friday (free, iTunes preview) give you a sneak preview of all of the Black Friday discounts and flyers that get leaked from major retailers. With it you can view and search all of the Black Friday ads from all major retail stores before they appear in your local paper. The app is updated frequently, has downloadable PDF scans of flyers, but my favorite feature is its push notifications: the app can alert you when a new ad is posted.


If you must go to a mall to make your purchase (again, I advocate buying online whenever possible) install FastMall (free, iTunes preview) on your iOS device. FastMall can be used to find, then be guided (turn-by-turn) to restrooms, stores and restaurants. You can also navigate almost any shopping mall without the need for GPS or WIFI. Once you download any mall map you can get interactive navigation even without an Internet signal.

FastMall can be used to remember where you parked your car, share items that you discover, and even check in at the mall or your favorite store. You can even shake your iPhone to locate and then be taken to the nearest restroom. Good stuff.

Runners Up

Other apps in my iOS "Retail" folder include: Amazon (duh), eBay (duh), RedLaser, CraigsPro+, CardStar, StubHub and Apple Store.

What are your must-have shopping/Black Friday apps?

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