Shop Talk: Black Friday's Early Debut

Thursday is the new Friday.

Over the past several years, retail giants have been offering their “Black Friday” deals earlier and earlier, as eager shoppers are willing to line up with bellies full of pie to score deals on the hottest toys and electronics of the season.

Just last week, Walmart announced that their Black Friday sales would begin at 8 p.m. on Thursday, November 22. Shoppers can already view the store’s online ad, which highlights deals on televisions, laptops and video games. The Compaq Presario Laptop is offered at $179, the Orion 24’’ HDTV is $78 and DVDs start at just $1.96.



Target, too, is getting a head start on sales this year. Doors open at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving, three hours earlier than they did last year. Additional “doorbuster” deals will become available in the store at 4 a.m. on Friday, November 23.

Target’s online ad is heavy on electronics like e-readers, cameras and video game consoles. The NOOK Simple Touch from Barnes & Noble is offered at just $49 (regularly $99.99) and the 4 GB Xbox 360 Kinect Bundle is on sale for $199.99, down from $299.99.

Clothing retailers, not to be left behind, are getting into the game, as well. This year, there will be 1,100 Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic locations open on Thanksgiving Day, 100 more than in 2011.

Toys “R” Us announced that its Black Friday sale would begin as early as 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. To entice shoppers to queue up, the toy superstore will give the first 200 customers at each location a free goody bag full of stocking stuffers up to $30 in value. 

Holiday shopping for children comes with its own anxieties, as parents, pressured by advertising and children alike, venture out in the wee hours of Friday morning to wait in long lines for the year’s status toys.

Topping the list of must-haves are the Furby ($59.99, ages 6 and up), Hasbro’s sophomore incarnation of the equally adorable and infuriating alien-like toy that became a phenomenon during the 1998 holiday season, and the LeapPad2 Explorer ($99.99), a tablet designed for children ages 3 and up, equipped with learning adventures, creative apps, music selections and even a camera.

And, really, what would Christmas be without the “it” doll? 2012’s to-die-for mini-mes include the Lalaloopsy Silly Hair Star Doll Harmony B. Sharp, Monster High “Dot Dead Gorgeous” Dolls and the Barbie Collector Hunger Games Katniss Everdeen Doll.

If just the thought of braving the madding crowds this Black Friday (or Thursday, as the case may be) has you a nervous wreck, we’ve got the solution: shop in the comfort of your own home on Cyber Monday, November 26. 

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