Ready, set, go!
As such, all of this bargain shopping is threatening to take a serious bite out of quality family time. More retailers are opening at midnight than ever before, and some stores will begin the sales as early as 9 p.m. (Toys"R"Us) or 10 p.m. (Walmart) on Thanksgiving day.
Save your strength and your sanity for the big stuff. We've sought out the bargains worth getting trampled over. The rest is up to you.
History and statistics have proven that low-priced clothing isn't worth fighting crazies at the crack of dawn. Plus Gap, Old Navy, Express and more clothing retailers are having deals of up to 60 percent off, online and in stores, from now through Saturday. That's not even touching the deals coming your way on Cyber Monday.
So save your strength and your sanity for the big stuff. We've sought out the bargains worth getting trampled over. The rest is up to you.
Someone special have an Xbox 360 on their wish list? Queue up at Walmart before 10 p.m. on Thursday to grab the 4 GB gaming console + Kinect for $199.96 (regularly priced almost $350), plus a $50 Walmart Gift Card. Memorize the Black Friday store map on the website to ensure that you're sprinting to the right spot. If you don't beat the crowd at Walmart, stand in line at Best Buy, where you'll find the Xbox holiday bundle for $199.99.
What about a television? Consumer News reports that stores will likely have better prices on televisions later in the year — but if you're in it for the thrill, it looks like Best Buy is the place to camp out after your turkey dinner. . . or before, if you're serious. Find a Sharp 42-inch 1080p LCD TV for an unbeatable $200 there.
Sharper Image iPod/iPhone docking stations? Find them for 50 percent off at Macy's at midnight on Thanksgiving.
LeapFrog Leapster Systems? They'll be half off, along with 150 other toys, at Toys"R"Us.
Amazon Kindle Keyboard 3G? Target will have it for $85 — more than $50 off of MSRP.
Though the premise of Black Friday has shoppers eschewing practicality for frugality and competition, it may be prudent to conduct some research before you line up. Check Retrevo.com for reviews on gadgets, and if you're worried that now may not be the best time to buy electronics, consult Decide.com for predicted price-drops.