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GIVING THANKS

Let us now praise Black Friday deals on Amazon

By Alison Griswold

It is perhaps fortuitous for Amazon that Black Friday is coming so close on the heels of its selection of cities for HQ2, its much-anticipated new headquarters.

There is, understandably, some rancor among the many US cities that poured their hopes and dreams, not to mention billions of dollars in promised tax cuts, into competing for HQ2 and the 50,000 high-paying jobs the company said it would come with, only to see Amazon choose the entirely predictable sites of suburban Washington DC, in Crystal City, Virginia, and Long Island City, New York, across the East River from Manhattan. Just as the backlash against HQ2 was starting to build, Black Friday arrives to shift our attention to other things.

You came here to read about deals, yes? Here are the five best Black Friday ones you can get on Amazon right now, according to USA Today. We at Quartz can also apprise you of the many deals you can find on Amazon (and at brick-and-mortar stores) this weekend. Delish, Fast Company, CNN, BGR, CNET, and plenty of others have your back, too. You can even go straight to the source and check out Amazon’s press release, featuring “seven days of Black Friday deals.”

Still thinking about HQ2 now?

Of course, HQ2 was itself a brilliant diversion. Amazon announced its search for a second North American headquarters in September 2017, during a moment of unease for Big Tech. Congress was contemplating regulations for Facebook, Twitter, and Google; Facebook’s top lawyer had been called to testify (Mark Zuckerberg would later follow); Amazon, fresh off its purchase of Whole Foods, was raising more eyebrows for monopoly concerns. Power brokers in Silicon Valley agreed a tech backlash was underway.

HQ2 changed the narrative. What better way to defer critiques and skepticism than by dangling a great prize for hundreds of cities across North America to chase, and to fear losing through a small misstep? Or to ensure that local politicians didn’t investigate warehouse conditions or take up Donald Trump’s cries that Amazon is a monopoly, than with a high-stakes contest that kept them on their best and most sycophantic behavior?

There is arguably just as much reason to scrutinize Amazon as there is to scrutinize Facebook. Amazon, like Facebook, collects tremendous amounts of data on its users. Its cloud-computing business, Amazon Web Services, is the de facto backbone of many internet companies. Its worker policies—in warehouses and at headquarters—are questionable. Amazon’s antitrust potential is serious. Its facial-recognition technology was pitched to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Yet, Amazon was crowned one of America’s most trusted institutions, behind only the military, in an online poll conducted this summer, while Facebook turned up as one of the least-trusted.

An estimated 60 million households in the US subscribe to Amazon Prime. If the people in those households were fretting about the company’s HQ2 process before, their critiques are sure to get drowned out now. Amazon’s Black Friday deals and its Aquaman promotion—Prime members can see the film a week early—are nearly here.