Black Friday shoppers are split between two camps these days: Those who gobble up Thanksgiving dinner to hit the stores early or those who skip the shopping until early Friday morning to savor turkey day.
Stores are following suit, choosing to open earlier every year or refusing to open on Thanksgiving Day so their employees can have the day off to spend with friends and family.
Either way you play it, from Grey Thursday and Black Friday to Cyber Monday, deals abound. A few things to know this year:
Just say no: While many stores will open Thanksgiving Day – such as Kmart, which opens at 6 a.m. Thursday and will stay open for nearly two straight days, and JCPenney, which will open at 5 p.m. Thursday – some retailers are bucking the Grey Thursday trend. Stores such as Academy Sports, Dillard’s and HomeGoods will not open until early Friday.
Staggered shopping: Since stores will open at such varied times this year, shoppers might need a map to keep straight when they need to be in line.
Columbiana Centre has a list of stores and hours, for example, on its website. And while many stores will be open from 6 p.m. to midnight, some of them are open hours earlier or later. Belk, for example, will stay open from 6 p.m. Thursday until 10 p.m. Friday. Toys R Us will open at 5 p.m.
And Walmart – which started Black Friday prices 10 days before Black Friday – is starting “one-hour guarantee” deals at 6 p.m. Thursday so customers who line up for the deal by 7 p.m. are guaranteed the sale price even if the item sells out.
Online instead of in line: There’s good news for those who like a nap after their Thanksgiving meal or who don’t want to get up at 4 a.m. for a spending spree. Many online retailers and traditional stores with websites are offering Cyber Monday deals the Monday after Thanksgiving. And some already have started offering deals online for the holiday season.