Get a 15.6-inch HP laptop for $299.99
Amazingly, this system is new, not refurbished, and shipping is included in that price. (You will, however, have to pony up for sales tax.)
In the market for a starter or entry-level laptop? You know, the kind that's good for things like word processing, Web browsing, and e-mail? Good for students and grandparents and folks with simplistic needs?
Look no further: While supplies last, Best Buy has the HP 2000-416dx 15.6-inch laptop for $299.99 shipped (not including sales tax). Surprisingly, it's new, not refurbished.
Not to gush, but that is just an amazing price. Granted, the HP won't win any speed awards (or, for that matter, design awards), but it covers all the computing bases well enough.
To wit: it comes with a dual-core AMD E-300 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 320GB hard drive. The 15.6-inch screen has a native resolution of 1,366 by 768 pixels--a bit low, perhaps, but certainly sufficient for everyday stuff.
The system also comes with three USB ports, a DVD burner, Bluetooth, a media reader, a Webcam, and Windows 7 Home Premium. In other words, all the usual accoutrements.
CNET hasn't reviewed the 5.5-pound HP 2000-416dx, but the dozen or so user reviews on Best Buy's product page are quite positive overall. A few users complained about the "flimsy" nature of the keyboard, so if you have a Best Buy near you, you might want to see if there's a floor model you can bang on just to make sure you don't mind the keys.
That said, I really don't expect this to last long, so it might be smarter to just damn the torpedoes. You can always return the laptop (within 30 days) if you're not happy. FYI, I searched up and down Best Buy's return policy and saw no mention of a restocking fee.
Bonus deal: Also while supplies last, Newegg has the Patriot Axle 32GB USB 2.0 flash drive for $16.99 shipped. That's after redeeming a $7 mail-in rebate (PDF), which comes in the form of a prepaid Amex card. Even without the rebate, that's a killer deal on a 32GB drive.