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The Shophound's Black Friday Shopping Guide

Christmas creep has been in effect earlier than ever this year what with with chains like TJMaxx and Marshalls running their Holiday TV commercials a full two weeks before Thanksgiving. Black Friday, an industry term that has seeped out to the public over the years, continues to be a focus of Holiday shopping promotions with more stores than ever choosing to open their doors at 12:00 AM on Friday if not earlier, not willing to waste a minute of precious selling time. Here's our advice for how to handle the shopping frenzy this weekend.
Just stay home.
Stay out of it.

We would admit that it seems counter-intuitive for The Shophound to actually encourage our readers not to shop, but we have to draw the line somewhere, and it has gotten to the point where Shopping is threatening to ruin Thanksgiving. Not for us, but for the thousands of people who work for Target, Macy's Walmart and all the other stores that insist on ruining their employees' holidays by forcing them to go to work at midnight and work through the night. The Gap has announced that it will open more stores than ever this year on Thanksgiving Day. These are some of the country's largest employers. What the hell kind of holiday is that?

What's the rush? This year, we have an unusually long Holiday Shopping Season of 30 whole days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and Hannukah is pretty late this year beginning on the night of December 20th. There should be plenty of time to find gifts and bargains this year, and the notion that you won't find any good deals if you don't cram yourself into an overcrowded store as soon as possible is a myth. Retailers will be offering sales and bargains during the whole season just like they did last year and the year before that.

The Shophound has spent many years working in stores, and one of out least favorite aspects of the job was having to work on nearly every weekend while the rest of the world seemed to be off. Conversely, our free time happened while everyone else was at work, which made it tricky to make social plans with people who weren't in retail. The idea that we might travel out of town for a family Thanksgiving was out of the question. We were lucky early in our career to work for a famous store that observed holidays like the 4th of July, Labor Day and Memorial Day, and even closed on Sundays for eleven months out of the year, but by now even that store has bowed to market pressures, and is open about 363 days a year just like everyone else. Imagine how the huge chains' employees must feel knowing that one of the last holidays they could count on not having to work along with the rest of the country was being ripped from them no matter what kind of family plans they may want to make. At least Macy's executives expressed some remorse at having to interrupt their employees' holiday, but but not apparently enough to keep his stores closed until an appropriate hour.

Actually we don't have to imagine. A Target employee has started a campaign on to try to get the giant retailer to reverse its choice to open at Midnight. As of this morning it has gained nearly 200,000 signatures. We aren't really sure that it will have any real effect on the chain, but it may remind tham that not everyone feels the need to rush to the mall right after Thanksgiving dinner.

So what should you do this Friday (assuming you don't have to work yourself)? Relax. Sleep late. Go to the movies (preferably not at a mall) or maybe to a musem. If you must shop, go find an independent store to patronize, or go online where there will probably be just as many bargains and you'll be able to shop in your pajamas.


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