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Guide to Black Friday 2012

Sale times, ad scans for major retailers, and how you can prepare for your shopping trip.

Black Friday scares me. Last year I stood in line at Kohl's and entered on the stroke of midnight. All the people rushed in and I crowd surfed to the back of the store and stared wide-mouthed as carts with ten fleece blankets and five food processors careened past me. Perhaps, I thought, perhaps...I have not planned appropriately for this shopping insanity.

Economy Retail Sales

Best Buy

Doorbusters are available at midnight, however, tickets may be required for deals and in-store discounts and will be handed out up to two hours before doors open. You can see the sales ad here. Expect lines to begin days in advance. You can apparently save money or time, but not both. See Best Buy's Doorbuster & Black Friday FAQs.

Some "Hot Deals" will be available online on Black Friday (prices TBA) and don't forget about Cyber Monday!

Shoppers camped at Best Buy 2 days before Black Friday sales began.

Shoppers camped at Best Buy 2 days before Black Friday sales began.

Dick's Sporting Goods

Dick's will open at midnight, with online sales beginning at 12:01am.

Dick's Pre-Black Friday Sale: Sunday & Monday Online Only

Dick's Black Friday Ad Scan


Kohl's will open at midnight. The Kohl's ad scan says there are over 500 earlybird specials available from midnight Thursday to 1pm Friday, and there are coupons like these from RetailMeNot available all over the web.


Macy's cornered the market for Thanksgiving advertising many years ago with their eponymous parade. Having their name etched into your brain as floats and a gigantic Snoopy slowly stream past on your TV for hours? Genius. You can shop Macy's online sales from Thursday to Saturday (November 22-24) and Macy's Black Friday from midnight to 1pm on Friday.

Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade


Sears is proving their Shop Your Way belief in a big way. Though the store's Black Friday doors open at midnight, Shop Your Way members can shop Thanksgiving/Black Friday doorbusters online starting on Sunday, November 18 at 6pm. That's a 5-day shopping head start! The special sale is available until Tuesday, November 20 and available for in-store pickup only, while quantities last, etc.

In store Sears ad scan with over 1000 doorbusters


Target is opening its doors at 9pm on Thanksgiving Day. Its sales will last until Saturday and are valid while supplies last with no rainchecks.

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Toys R Us

Toys R Us will open at 8pm on Thanksgiving Day and will offer some items 50-60% off. Shop the online catalog and enter to win a shopping spree here. Online sales will include free shipping. The in-store ad scan is here, though if you have a tangible catalog your kids will love circling their choices (which may include circles on every item).

Cyber Monday sales online only, good Monday and Tuesday.



If Walmart is able to follow through on its Black Friday promises, it will be the decided retail winner. Sales begin at 8pm on Thanksgiving Day for "family oriented products," 10pm for brand name electronics, and 5am for other savings available through the weekend. See the main ad circular here but be sure to check the Walmart website for local store information.

Walmart is offering a unique guarantee: Between 10pm-11pm, every customer in the store or online is guaranteed ability to purchase the following three products at sale prices.

  • Apple iPad2: 16GB with Wi-Fi -- on sale for $399 plus receive a $75 Walmart gift card
  • Emerson® 32" 720p LCD TV -- on sale for $148
  • LG Blu-ray Player -- on sale for $38

Suggested Shopping Tips

  1. Look at all the ads and make lists of what items you need at which stores.
  2. Gather like-minded friends and divide into teams with each team assigned to a few stores to buy items needed by the whole group. Divvy up the goods and settle accounts later.
  3. Have a plan of attack for what items you need and where you'll go in the store. Otherwise you'll just follow the herd's mad drive and waste time.
  4. Dress warmly to stand outside in line, but have one teammate take coats back to the car before the doors open. Insane crowds, an adrenaline rush, and then a cashier line make for a warm shopping experience.
  5. Be patient and nice. The desire for a good deal doesn't need to crush your spirit or anyone else's.

'Tis the Season!

More about Black Friday, Shopping, and Thanksgiving. Yes, Thanksgiving is sandwiched in there, too.

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