Days before the busiest and most heavily promoted shopping day of the year, the retail industry is going out of its way to make sure this year's holiday shopping season doesn't spin out of control.
Financial pressures are compelling retailers to get more aggressive with promotions - and shoppers are getting more aggressive about finding deals.
Despite retailers' attempts to get consumers to start their holiday shopping early, 16 percent of consumers expect to begin on Black Friday, up from 10 percent in 2008, according to an International Council of Shopping Centers survey.
After a Walmart store worker in New York was trampled to death in a day-after-Thanksgiving doorbuster stampede last year, the National Retail Federation, the retail industry trade group, issued for the first time crowd control guidelines. The recommendations include placing barriers to manage traffic, announcing the availability and locations of products over the intercom and spreading sale items throughout the store.
In another first, Walmart will keep almost all of its stores open on Thanksgiving and through the night into Friday. The doorbuster deals will still begin at 5 a.m., but the measure will allow the discount chain to avoid long lines of shoppers waiting outside.
Best Buy passes out product vouchers before doors open. Several years ago, Sears and Kmart began handing out tickets to customers in line for doorbuster sales and announcing when sale items are out of stock.