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Yes, it was that time of year again this week, as sites feverishly awaited news of what Apple’s Black Friday deals would be, and then just-as-feverishly posted columns about how disappointing they were.

Forbes in particular was eager to show that there is no Apple molehill that it won’t try to turn into Mount Troll.

David M. Ewalt is here to whisper in your ear “The Dirty Little Secret Of Apple’s Black Friday Sale” (no link because trolling, thy name is Forbes).

When a company with super-hot products like Apple announces a Black Friday sale, consumers sit up and notice.

If you’ve been through this rodeo before, you might make sure to notice, but you wouldn’t bother to sit up. Apple’s discounts are always modest. Why? Because it doesn’t have to offer big ones to sell its stuff.

But here’s the dirty little secret that Apple doesn’t want you to know …

Dirty! Secret! What could it be?! Has Bob Mansfield put every iPad down his pants two or three times before they go out the door?! Does Jony Ive lick every MacBook Air to make sure it’s “farm fresh,” yet never explains what he means by that?

No! It’s much lamer!

You can buy Apple products cheaper if you buy them just about anywhere else.

At this juncture it is useful to remind ourselves of Forbes’s tagline: “Information for the World’s Business Leaders.”

Pardon the Macalope for saying so, but the world’s business leaders must be pretty thick if they don’t know that retailers often offer steeper discounts than manufacturers. Which, in Forbes’s defense, may be true.

This is yet another example of something that happens with pretty much every other manufacturer from Union Carbide to Victoria’s Secret, but somehow it’s only interesting when Apple does it.

Does Ewalt think that Apple is supposed to advertise for these retailers who are selling Apple products as loss leaders to get you into their stores to buy a bunch of other crap?

Wal-Mart Stores will offer a deal where if you buy the 16GB WiFi iPad 2 for $399, you get a free $75 Wal-Mart gift card with your purchase. The store will also be selling the 16GB iPod Touch for $195, but that’s only a $4 savings.

And all you have to do is debase yourself by fighting some other shoppers! Come on, is your personal dignity worth $75? Certainly not.

But Apple doesn’t want you to know that.

It’s important to note that these retailers may have limited quantities of the Apple goodies that are marked up for sale, and with huge crowds expected for this year’s Black Friday shopping, you never know if you’re going to get lucky or strike out.

Or get literally struck. In the face.

But if getting the best deal is what’s important to you, forget about Apple’s “one-day event” and head to the stores. The real deals are out there, waiting for you.

The Macalope has nothing against finding a bargain. Personally, a $75 gift card at Walmart is no bargain to him, because you couldn’t pay him to shop there; but if he were looking for a MacBook Air and could get it cheaper on Amazon, he’d do it in a heartbeat.

But here’s the thing: Apple doesn’t care. All they want to do is sell you a device. They don’t care if it comes from Walmart, Amazon, the Apple Store, or Mumbly Joe’s iPod Shack. It’s no skin off Apple’s, uh, apple. They still make money, they still get you into their ecosystem, they still chalk up another sale on the giant chalkboard o’ sales in Tim Cook’s office.

So Forbes’s “dirty secret” is neither dirty nor a secret. Surprise.

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