Black Friday...extended?

Only 1 more week...

What started out as the first day retailers typically made money (or went in the "black") in their fiscal year has become one of the biggest buying days of the year. People who don't normally "bargain" hunt do so on the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday, as it has become known, is a day people look forward to for months...literally.

There are far too many "Black Friday" ad websites out there to recount them here. (Although I'll list some of my favorites a bit later.) These sites begin posting ads as soon as 3 months before the official release date of the ads. How they get these ads is no real secret. There are people "on the inside" who are leaking them...and we don't mind. In fact, we rely on them.

Some stores, such as Wal-Mart and KBToys, have decided to go against the flow and fight their ads being posted early. They have both even gone so far as to threaten lawsuits against anyone posting the ads early. For the first time ever, this year Wal-Mart sent a pre-emptive letter warning the main sites not to post their ad. Wal-Mart has given an "official" "un-official" day for them to be posted. Make sense? In other words, Wal-Mart has said the ad can "officially" be leaked a week before Black Friday...which is earlier than the "offical" release date by Wal-Mart.

Other stores have gone the opposite direction from Wal-Mart with some even GIVING their early ads to the main Black Friday sites. Some of these same stores sponsor give-aways on the sites to encourage people to sign up and watch for the ads. These companies are wise. They have realized the marketing power of the web...and are utilizing it to their full potential. They decided that since they couldn't beat 'em, they would join 'em. I must admit I tend to support THOSE stores more than stores such as Wal-Mart which just aren't showing the true "buying" spirit with their actions. Okay. That's probably not completely true. If Wal-Mart had the best deal on something I was looking for, I would still shop there. (Just don't tell them. K?)

I have been preparing my ad list for about 2 months now. I even have a group of people to whom I send my list. Some of these people ask me to look out for certain items and add them to my list if there is a good deal. I am their pre-ad release shopper.

Over the past couple of years, I have noticed a trend. I don't think I'll call it a bad trend just yet. Largely because it seems to work well with my family's schedule to have this trend. We usually celebrate Thanksgiving the weekend before or after the actual holiday. As a result, I don't mind there being specials on Thanksgiving day. Others, however, might not be so "lucky". Neither will I when I start adding holidays to my work roster. (Maybe I'll still have to have Thanksgiving day off. It's so tempting to have double pay, though.)

What is this trend? Several stores are now having special sales not JUST on Black Friday, but on Thanksgiving day as well. I guess they just couldn't wait that extra day to go into the black. Thus far, Kmart, Meijer, and CVS have joined in the Thanksgiving Day sale game. They not only have earlybird and regular specials on Black Friday, but both on Thanksgiving day as well. This year, also, I have seen earlybird specials on Saturday.

In the past, you had stores closed on Thanksgiving day, earlybird specials (that started at 6am) on Black Friday, and then regular sales good on Black Friday and the Saturday after only. Now, we have Thanksgiving day earlybird, Thanksgiving day "regular", Black Friday earlybird...starting at midnight, 3am, 4am, 5am, and 6am, Black Friday "regular", Saturday earlybird, and Saturday "regular" as well as some sales that are good Friday & Saturday or all 3 days if the store is open on Thanksgiving day. It can easily become very confusing for the non-expert "shopper". (I define "expert" shopper as one who is a super-couponer or regular deal-finder NOT as one who knows how to spend lots of money and often. Given the funds, we ALL could be in the latter group.)

What are your thoughts on the changes? Will you boycott stores open on Thanksgiving day as some do? Will you not boycott the stores but only shop them on Friday and Saturday? Or will you (like me) be there every day if there is a deal that necessitates it?

How do you shop on Black Friday? Do you get lost up in the moment and just buy for the sake of buying? Do you make your list when the ads come out and buy carefully according to your list? Do you (like me) make your list as soon as the early ads come out and buy carefully according to your list only? Do you make a loose list and try to follow it but don't really? Do you add something to your list because something looks like a good deal or because you were already planning on buying it? Do you have a set plan for your stores or do you just go blindly from one store to another? Are you an early riser? Do you stand in line the day before? Or do you get up when you get up and if you miss the early deals then that's okay?

Me? I make my list as soon as the early ads come out, make it only according to what we were already planning on buying anyway, and only shop IF there is a deal on something we were already planning on buying. If there's no deal, I don't shop. If there is a deal, I will be there as early as is necessary to get that particular item. I plan my stores very carefully and plan my approach in each store. If there is a good deal, then I'm going to make sure I get it (I always have) and go on to the next store efficiently. However, I also don't usually want the "hot" items. Some of them might be "kinda" hot, but not the great laptop, etc deals that can be out some years.

What sites do you usually visit? My two favorite are the following:

They have the best, most comprehensive lists, by far. You'll find some advance ads at, but they aren't condensed into one place like at the above sites.

Any questions about Black Friday, deal hunting, or couponing? Shoot me an e-mail.


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