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General David Petraeus’ daughter Anne beamed as she blogged about her Thanksgiving Day, spent with her new husband Matt Mauney – as the couple ran the “Turkey Trot” run near their home alongside her brother Steve.

Anne Petraeus, 30, showed no signs of the fallout over her father’s affair as she posted pictures of her Thanksgiving dinner on her website fannetasticfood.com.

A close friend of David Petraeus said the disgraced general spent Thanksgiving with Holly, his wife-of-38-years, as the couple try to rebuild their shattered marriage.

The friend said: “I spoke to David before Thanksgiving and wished him and Holly happy holidays. I think that things are dying down.”

Anne Petraeus and husband Matt Mauney spend Thanksgiving Day at Turkey Trot run

Anne Petraeus and husband Matt Mauney spend Thanksgiving Day at Turkey Trot run

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A close friend of David Petraeus said the disgraced general spent Thanksgiving with Holly, his wife-of-38-years, as the couple try to rebuild their shattered marriage.

The friend said: “I spoke to David before Thanksgiving and wished him and Holly happy holidays. I think that things are dying down.”

General David Petraeus’ daughter Anne beamed as she blogged about her Thanksgiving Day, spent with her new husband Matt Mauney – as the couple ran the “Turkey Trot” run near their home alongside her brother Steve.

Anne Petraeus, 30, showed no signs of the fallout over her father’s affair as she posted pictures of her Thanksgiving dinner on her website fannetasticfood.com.

Retired U.S. Army Col. Steve Boylan, a close friend of General David Petraeus and his former spokesman, had told how Holly Petraeus was “furious” at her husband’s betrayal.


Even though her husband was forced to resign over his shocking indiscretion, Holly Petraeus has been seen back at work with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where she is described as being a “tireless voice” for military families.

A spokesman for the organization said last week that she remains a “key leader” – despite the unwanted spotlight of her husband’s sex scandal – adding: “Mrs. Petraeus remains a key leader and valued employee of this organization. We will have no comment on her personal situation, nor will she release any statement.”

David Petraeus spent Thanksgiving with Holly, his wife-of-38-years, as the couple try to rebuild their shattered marriage

David Petraeus spent Thanksgiving with Holly, his wife-of-38-years, as the couple try to rebuild their shattered marriage

Col. Steve Boylan said General David Petraeus, 60, was still living at home in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife despite revelations of his eight-month affair with his biographer.

And describing Holly Petraeus, he said: “She is very classy, very unassuming. She has established herself and her own career in her own manner.

“She’s a very lovely lady, endearing. But she is also someone I would not want to get angry at me.

“It’s those reserved, quiet types you have to look out for. But she’s a joy to be around, a very gracious and caring individual.”

David Petraeus, America’s most celebrated military leader in a generation, stepped down on November 9 as head of the CIA after admitting to an affair with Paula Broadwell, a counter-terrorism expert and lieutenant-colonel in the Army Reserve who had co-authored a biography of the general.

The FBI stumbled upon the affair when Jill Kelley, a Florida socialite and friend of the Petraeus family, asked investigators to look into threatening emails that turned out to be from an apparently jealous Paula Broadwell.

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A recent survey shows in-store retail sales on Black Friday, the “busiest shopping day”, dropped from last year.

Holiday shoppers spent $11.2 billion at stores across the US this Black Friday, down 1.8% from last year, according to a Saturday report from the Chicago-based retail technology company ShopperTrak.

Those lower in-store sales figures were apparently impacted by hundreds of thousands of shoppers hitting stores on Thursday (Gray Thursday) evening after filling up on turkey and stuffing.

“Black Friday shopping continues to expand into Thanksgiving Day and will impact the way we look at all of the <<Black>> weekend results, since more shopping hours allows for more shopping visits and a smoothing of sales across all of the days,” said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin.

Big chain outlets including Sears, Target, Toys R Us and Walmart opened their doors as early as 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

A sharp rise in online shopping likely added to the drop in spending at brick-and-mortar stores this year.

E-commerce sales rose 17.4% on Thanksgiving and 20.7% on Black Friday, compared with last year, according to a recent IBM survey.

A recent survey shows in-store retail sales on 2012 Black Friday dropped from last year

A recent survey shows in-store retail sales on 2012 Black Friday dropped from last year

Still, ShopperTrak said Black Friday foot traffic increased 3.5% this year to more than 307.67 million store visits – a sign that more people were browsing store shelves, if not making actual purchases.

“Black Friday continues to be an important day in retail,” Bill Martin said.

“This year, though, more retailers than last year began their doorbuster deals on Thursday, Thanksgiving itself. So while foot traffic did increase on Friday, those Thursday deals attracted some of the spending that’s usually meant for Friday.”

ShopperTrak estimated that foot traffic increased the most in the Midwest, up 12.9% compared with last year.

Foot traffic in the Northeast increased the least compared with last year, up 7.6% in regions that include those hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy.

ShopperTrak, which counts sales numbers from 25,000 retail outlets across the US, had forecast that Black Friday sales would grow 3.8% this year.

A separate survey from the National Retail Federation says holiday spending on both days combined will likely rise 4% this year.

Some positive signs of spending growth have been in the news in the past few months. U.S. consumer confidence rose to 72.2 in October, its highest level since February 2008 and up from 40.9 a year ago.

Yet many consumers are still worried about the slow economic recovery, high unemployment rates and a looming fiscal cliff.

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Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, with customers queuing for days and sometimes even resorting to violence in order to get their hands on the best deals.

But the post-Thanksgiving sales may not in fact be the best time to snap up low-priced merchandise, according to a new analysis.

Researchers found that around a third of products advertised as being on sale for the holiday have been available at lower prices earlier this year.

More people than ever before are expected to abandon the tradition of family time  and head to stores to get a head-start on Christmas shopping or treat themselves to cut-price gadgets.

This year, the consumer frenzy has even spread to Thanksgiving Day itself – redubbed “Gray Thursday” – with a number of major retailers opening as early as 8p.m. to attract those who are keen to leave the house after a day of turkey and television.

In the past, the Black Friday sales have resulted in riots as customers compete to snap up limited bargains – but for many shoppers, the threat of violence is apparently worth it for the prospect of uniquely good-value deals.

However, an analysis by the Wall Street Journal and Decide Inc. has revealed that many products popular on Black Friday are actually available cheaper at other times.

Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, with customers queuing for days and sometimes even resorting to violence in order to get their hands on the best deals

Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, with customers queuing for days and sometimes even resorting to violence in order to get their hands on the best deals

They surveyed more than 500 “doorbuster” bargains which have been promoted by stores such as Sears and Best Buy, and concluded that nearly a third had been sold for a lower price earlier this year.

The fact that Black Friday is not always the cheapest time to go shopping is not surprising, according to McKinsey’s Rob Docters, who suggested that many customers assume that the best bargains are available then without bothering to check prices on specific items.

“People associate Black Friday with good prices, and that eliminates the need to check price,” he told the Journal.

Sears is advertising the KitchenAid Series Stand Mixer at the special price of $319.99 this holiday season.

But in March, the same device was on sale at Sears for $296, according to Decide.

A spokesman insisted: “Our advertised prices are competitive.”

At Home Depot, a GE Adora dishwasher is advertised for $598, said to be a saving of $151.

But a Columbus Day offer in October pushed the price down to $538.

The company claims that the majority of its Black Friday deals are the best bargains of the year.

Other deals work out as uniquely cheap only when you include the value of gift cards given away with some items.

Experts told MarketWatch that while some items, such as gadgets and white goods, are particularly good bargains on Black Friday, customers should hold off for other purchases.

Winter clothing and linens, for example, tend to be cheapest in January as stores clear out their stock in preparation for spring.

And those hunting for deals on luxury goods such as jewellery are likely to be disappointed – retailers like Tiffany’s are too worried about the blow to their high-end image to offer any sort of Black Friday bargains.

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Cyber Monday vs. Black Friday: As the two streams of commerce – retail stores and online stores – converge, it’s hard to say where the best deals will be.

And, of course, many of the stores that consumers might visit in person are the same brand names that one might visit online.

But who ever said bargain hunting was easy? You have to do some homework.

To scope out Cyber Monday, definitely check the CyberMonday websites, and also the sites of any of your favorite stores or brands.

For Black Friday, check out the local newspapers, TV and radio ads, as well as looking online, on Thanksgiving Day.

5 Pros: Reasons to Shop Cyber Monday Rather Than Black Friday Sales

  1. It’s easier and faster.
  2. If you were busy with family or travel on Thanksgiving Friday and missed the in-store sales, Cyber Monday gives you another opportunity to take advantage of reductions.
  3. You can easily compare prices online.
  4. You can shop in your pj’s, from work, or while waiting for the plumber.
  5. You don’t need a babysitter.

The five cons of Cyber Monday? You can’t “kick the tires” and see the merchandise, it might be hard to access a computer for shopping purposes, you’ll have to wait for shipping, and some people hate returning purchases by mail. Most importantly, your boss really might not love it if you spend Cyber Monday shopping at your desk!

Cyber Monday vs Black Friday

Cyber Monday vs Black Friday

5 Pros: Reasons to Shop Black Friday Rather than Cyber Monday

  1. You can actually see what you are buying — measure it, try it on, see if you like the color.
  2. The prices might be better.
  3. Not everything that’s on sale on Black Friday will be available on Cyber Monday.
  4. It’s an outing. You can bring a friend or spouse for fun and advice.
  5. If you don’t go, you might miss some great bargains!

The five cons of Black Friday? Some of the merchandise is lower-end; prices may continue to drop as the holiday season approaches; it’s too easy to over spend in the midst of a buying frenzy, it’s crowded, and the real bargains may be limited in quantity and sold to earlybird shoppers.

So, when to shop? Whatever your personal answer is, the smart thing to do is decide beforehand not just what you want to purchase, but also your budget parameters.

That way, come post-Thanksgiving Tuesday (a day for which, gratefully, there’s no retailing name yet), you won’t feel like a turkey with a hangover of buyer’s remorse!

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While many use the Black Friday sales as an opportunity to get big-ticket items at a bargain price, the style set knows that it is also the perfect chance to bag new season stock at a serious markdown.

And fashion retailers are well aware, with some opening as early as 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day so that fans can make the most of the holiday discounts.

This year, sartorially-inclined shoppers will find some of the best deals at Tibi, where fall collections will be 60% off, and J Crew Factory, where already discounted items will have a further 40% off.

For the cheapest bargains, head to H&M, where party dresses will cost from just $5, and Forever 21, which will have some items going for just a dollar.

Earlybirds will most definitely be catching the proverbial worm at Bloomingdales (the sale lasts from just 7 a.m.-1 p.m.) and C Wonder (an extra 50% off between midnight and 8 a.m.) – it’ll be well worth it for bleary-eyed shoppers at Zara on Manhattan’s 34th Street, who will be rewarded for their efforts with free tea and coffee from 5 a.m.

It’s worth getting in line ahead of opening time too, as those at the front will get gift cards at H&M and Topshop – and don’t forget store cards as there will be extra discounts at Saks Fifth Avenue and Target.

Even if the discounts aren’t that impressive, it’ll still be worth hitting some stores for the free giveaways. Victoria’s Secret will be giving away generous beauty goody bags on spends of $60 or more, and at Piperlime’s SoHo store, there will be free hot chocolate and holiday treats for all.

Black Friday 2012: An A to Z of the most stylish sales

AEROPOSTALE

The brand fronted by Chloe Moretz is taking 60% off everything apart from fragrances and beauty on Black Friday.

BANANA REPUBLIC (from 12 a.m. on Friday)

Banana Republic will be offering 40% off everything all day. Stores will also be open on Thanksgiving Day.

Banana Republic Factory Stores will feature 70% off everything from November 16-25.

BLOOMINGDALES (from 7 a.m. Friday)

At the Manhattan flagship, there will be discounts in all departments including 25% off all women’s denim – head down early though, the fun stops at 1 p.m.

C WONDER (from 12 a.m. Friday)

Before 8 a.m., there will be a further 50% off all sale items in store, and throughout the day there will be a 25% discount on everything online.

DIESEL

The denim favorite will be taking 30% off the whole fall collection.

DKNY

A further 30% off sale items, currently discounted by 40%.

FOREVER 21

The Forever 21 sale starts tomorrow, with 30% off sweaters and some items priced between just $1 to $15.

On Black Friday itself, there will be further discounts on denim, pajamas and accessories.

GAP (from 12 a.m. Friday)

Shoppers who arrive before noon can get sweaters for as little as $19, and kids’ T-shirts for $5. The big discounts start well before though, with 60% off everything from Tuesday until Sunday.

H&M (from 12 a.m. Friday)

New season items – including holiday party dresses – on sale from as little as $5. Plus the first 100 people in line at H&M stores will win scratch-off gift vouchers, some with a value up to $300.

Black Friday 2012 A to Z guide of the most stylish sales

Black Friday 2012 A to Z guide of the most stylish sales

JCPENNEY (from 6 a.m. Friday)

There will be discounts across the board, but winter wear looks to be where the strongest discounts are.

Boots will be discounted to $25, $50 puffer jackets at $30, and JCPenney winter jackets, usually $70, will be discounted by up to $30.

J CREW FACTORY

From tomorrow until Monday, J Crew’s outlet is discounting every item by 40%.

KOHL’S (from 12 a.m. Friday)

The first price drops start online at midnight tonight, but on Black Friday itself there will be up to 70% off winter coats and jackets, sweaters for $9.99 and up to 60% off all winter fashion accessories.

Expect $20-30 off most other fashion items, and up to 60% off sterling silver jewelry.

MACY’S (from 12 a.m. Friday)

Discounts of up to 50%. Among the offers will be Charter Club cashmere at $49.99 Nine West and Kenneth Cole coats at 79.99 and boots for just $19.99.

The store has also launched a special Black Friday app to help customers plan their shopping day.

MADEWELL

The J Crew sister chain is offering a 25% discount on all purchases throughout Black Friday.

NORDSTROM and NORDSTROM RACK

There will be extended opening hours on Black Friday (times vary according to region), and Nordstrom Rack shoppers will get a $10 gift card for every $100 spent.

Cardholders can claim double points on Nordstrom Rack purchases over the weekend and Twitter users can follow clues to find 25 green “Dots”, each worth for a $50 gift card.

OLD NAVY (opens at 12 a.m. Friday)

Everything is discounted with deals on coats, denim and tees. Shoppers can expect fleece tops and jeans from $15 and women’s boots for $12. Sales will continue into Saturday.

PIPERLIME

In celebration of Piperlime’s first holiday with a physical location, the SoHo store will open its doors an hour early on Black Friday and offer a hot chocolate and holiday treats.

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

Winter clothing will be discounted by up to 50per cent, with a further 50% off sale items.

Spend over $100 on beauty and get a $25 gift card. Make purchases on your Saks credit card after midday, and you’ll get another 10% off sale stock.

SCOOP NYC

Get 25% off everything (with select exclusions) on purchases made in store.

SEARS (from 8 p.m. Thursday)

On the fashion front, Sears is offering discounts of 60% on handbags and 75% off on jewelry, as well as boots for as little as $19.99.

SEPHORA

Ten items, from brands including Stila and Korres, will be on sale for $10 each.

There will also be generous discounts on many other items including Urban Decay eyeshadow for $6 and the Prada Candy Gift Set for $82 (usually $104).

The biggest discount will be on the Sephora Collection Color Daze Blockbuster, available for $49.50 instead of the usual $370.

TARGET (from Thursday at 9 p.m.)

There will be special discounts across the board, including clothing from as little as $10.

Those paying on the stores’s REDcard get an extra 5% off.

TIBI

Pieces from the fall and pre-fall collections will be discounted by an impressive 60%.

TOMMY HILFIGER

There will be 40per cent off all stock, plus a 25% discount on spends of over $200 before 10 a.m.

TOPSHOP

The chain is offering $10 off $30 spends, $20 off $50 spends and those spending over $100 get $50 off and a pair of mittens (NY and Chicago) or a glitter nail polish and scarf, while stocks last.

There will be 30% off selected merchandise, spree prizes of $100, $200 and $500, and the first 200 in line at the New York and Chicago stores will get Early Bird gift cards.

The Las Vegas flagship will be open from midnight, and the first 500 will be eligible for gift cards.

URBAN OUTFITTERS (from 12 a.m. Friday)

The holiday sale has already kicked off at Urban Outfitters, but on Black Friday there will be an extra 50per cent off before 10 a.m. on all sale items.

VICTORIA’S SECRET

Shoppers spending over $65 on Black Friday will get a limited edition tote filled with “Beauty Must-Haves” from the lingerie giant’s range.

ZARA

The New York stores will be open from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m., with the exception of the 34th Street store, which will be open from 4am (with free tea and coffee from 5-8 a.m. for those early birds).

There will be discounts of 50% off selected items in all New York locations.

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The wild turkey (Meleagris gallopa) is native to North America and was a staple in the Native American diet.

It was imported to Europe in the early part of the 16th century by the Spaniards via Turkey (the country.) It was confused in those early times with the Guinea fowl which also arrived via Turkey, and both birds were called turkeys in those days. When it was assigned its Latin name in the 18th century, the name turkey still stuck. Native Americans called it peru with no reference to the country of the same name.

Turkey was introduced to the early Pilgrim settlers by the Native American Wampanoag tribe after the Pilgrims arrived in 1620. The first year for the settlers was bleak, with many dying from the journey. Their seeds, aside from barley, did not produce any usable crops. The Indians assisted the settlers, introducing them to native foods such as corn and squash and showed them how to hunt and fish. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 at the behest of Governor William Bradford, and the Native Americans were invited guests of honor.

Thanksgiving became an official holiday in the United States on October 3, 1863, via proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln. This was largely due to the lobbying efforts of Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Godey’s Lady’s Magazine who had lobbied for 17 years for the holiday. The proclamation declared the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.

Turkey was introduced to the early Pilgrim settlers by the Native American Wampanoag tribe after the Pilgrims arrived in 1620

Turkey was introduced to the early Pilgrim settlers by the Native American Wampanoag tribe after the Pilgrims arrived in 1620

By 1916, Thanksgiving was referred to in writings as Turkey Day due to the popularity of the bird at the traditional feast.

Interestingly enough, in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to move the official Thanksgiving date to earlier in November in order encourage a longer Christmas shopping season as a Depression recovery strategy. His idea was shut down by Congress, and the official date was declared permanently as the fourth Thursday in November via Public Law #379.

The popularity of wild turkeys nearly wiped them out. The federal government stepped in with protection in 1991, and they are now found in 49 states.

Turkey was most-associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas, making winter the prime season for turkey farmers. In 1935, the per capita consumption of turkey was only 1.7 pounds.

Today, turkey has been recognized as a lean substitute for red meat. Aggressive marketing by turkey farmers by advertising and availability of parts rather than the necessity of cooking a whole bird has increased consumption to 20 pounds per person per year, with 74% of the consumption being in sliced turkey sandwiches.

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Black Friday is the name given to the shopping day after Thanksgiving. It was originally called Black Friday because so many people went out to shop that it caused traffic accidents and sometimes even violence.

This was first recorded in 1966 by Earl Apfelbaum, a dealer in rare stamps. In his ad, he said: “Black Friday’ is the name which the Philadelphia Police Department has given to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day. It is not a term of endearment to them. Black Friday officially opens the Christmas shopping season in center city, and it usually brings massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as the downtown stores are mobbed from opening to closing.”

The Police Department coined the phrase to describe the mayhem surrounding the congestion of pedestrian and auto traffic in the Center City downtown area. (Source: The Chicago Tribune, Black Friday – Why and When?)

Black Friday crowds hunting bargains can still give the police headaches. The most dangerous places seem to be in the Wal-mart consumer electronics departments. On Black Friday 2011, a woman pepper-sprayed a crowd at a Wal-mart in Los Angeles. She was trying to get a Wii for 60% off. The year before, crowds at a Sacramento Wal-Mart forced the store to evacuate when they started pushing and shoving to get deals on consumer electronics at 5:30 am. On Black Friday 2009, another California Wal-Mart, this time in Rancho Cucamonga, needed police protection from unruly crowds – again, in the early-morning hours in the consumer electronics department. The store was briefly close a few hours after another store in nearby Upland was closed.

The worst Black Friday occurred in 2008, when a man was trampled to death. Despite being 6’5″ and 270 pounds, temporary worker Jdimytai Damour died a asphyxiation when crowds stampeded into another Wal-Mart (this time in New York). At least 2,000 people broke down the doors, trapping Damour in a vestibule where he suffocated. Eleven other people were also injured, including a pregnant woman. It seems the police have a right to call Black Friday by a negative name.

Black Friday is the name given to the shopping day after Thanksgiving

Black Friday is the name given to the shopping day after Thanksgiving

Retailers did not appreciate the negative connotation associated with a black day of the week. They had a good point. For example, Black Monday was given to October 19, 1987. On that day, the Dow Jones Average fell 22%, the largest percentage drop on one day in stock market history. Another dark day, Black Thursday, occurred on October 24, 1929. It was the day that signaled the start of the Great Depression. It was followed the next week by Black Tuesday. On that day, the stock market lost 11% despite attempts by major investors to support stock prices. This destroyed any confidence investors had in the stock market, which in those days was perceived to be the economy. Many had invested their life savings, and were totally wiped out.

No wonder retailers wanted to make the name Black Friday mean something positive. And, to them, the Friday after Thanksgiving is a very profitable day. To compensate, they decided to follow the old adage: “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

They used the name to reflect their success. Accountants generally use black to signify profit when recording each day’s book entries. Red is used to signify loss. Therefore, Black Friday means profitable Friday to the retail industry and to the economy.

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While most Americans are preparing to break bread and offer thanks for their bountiful blessings on Thanksgiving, some are already looking ahead to what presents will sit beneath the Christmas Tree and forgoing a traditional feast in lieu of saving a place in line for Black Friday.

The start of the Christmas shopping season will kick off on November 23, the day after Thanksgiving, and eager customers have already begun camping out at their favorite retail stores to save a place so they can rush in to nab their discounted deals.

Tony Avitar, an Ohio father-of-five, has set up shop outside a Best Buy in Cuyahoga Falls. He pitched his tent on Thursday to become the first in line for what promises to be a shopping extravaganza next week.

He has camped out for the past nine years, before the busy shopping day, and his family will join him at his tent on Thanksgiving Day for a family meal, which has become a tradition.

“When you have five kids and you have limited income what you want to be able to do is – is want to be able to provide for them and get them decent Christmas presents,” he told WJW-TV about his motivation for coming out so early.

Though most of his time is spent inside the tent, he does venture into the electronic shop to scope out the options.

“Every year, I save at least a thousand dollars. I think this year the good sales are a 40-inch Toshiba flat screen that’s normally about $500 bucks, it’s $179. Also laptops. Anyone who can’t afford a laptop, I think there’s one for $180 bucks,” he said.

Tony Avitar’s friends and family help out and take turns staying in the tent so he can shower and get food.

But even his friend, Summer Morgan, told the local news station that he might be taking his bargain hunting just a tad too far.

“I understand the concept of saving money, but going out a week ahead is a little crazy,” she said. Other shoppers chimed in to agree, also calling it crazy.

But another local resident was inspired by the thrifty dad and a day after Tony Avitar’s tent appeared, another tent joined the queue on Friday.

Eager bargain hunters camp out for Black Friday more than a week before the Christmas shopping extravaganza kicks off

Eager bargain hunters camp out for Black Friday more than a week before the Christmas shopping extravaganza kicks off

The store manager, Nick Dolansky, expressed his excitement at the scene and said the campers help kick off the season.

“It’s always great to see the passionate customers every year who are camping out, making the effort. It’s a tradition in itself,” he said.

Across the country in El Cajon, California – a pair of shoppers hoping to nab some steep discounts started a line outside a Best Buy on Thursday… but their hopes were soon dashed.

The two ladies, Rhiannon Buckingham and Alicia Gomez, were kicked off the property by mall security, who told them to go home and to return on Thanksgiving.

Rhiannon Buckingham and Alicia Gomez sat in lawn chairs and had packed a full bin of food in preparation for the wait.

“They said, <<You guys can’t stay here. You guys look homeless>>,” Rhiannon Buckingham told KGTV about what she was allegedly told by the security guards.

“I mean, I may be trailer trash but I’m not homeless,” she quipped.

Despite the frosty welcome from security and the jeers from other shoppers, Buckingham insisted that she is only doing what it takes to secure a decent place in line.

“Last year, I came on Tuesday and I was 17th in line,” she said.

“They only had 15 TVs,” she added about the disappointment she experienced.

Undeterred, Rhiannon Buckingham has moved to another Best Buy location in La Mesa, where she expects to save more than $2,000 when she purchases four TVs, a BluRay player and some earphones.

She arrived on Friday and soon another eager shopper, Jason Faust, joined her in line.

“I’ve got nothing else better to do,” he told the local news.

Down in Miami, local news reporter Betty Yu tweeted yet another photo of campers outside a Best Buy.

“Can you believe these guys are already camping out for #blackfriday? Guy took vacation to do this!” she tweeted.

Black Friday, the busiest day of the shopping year since 2005, marks the start of the Christmas shopping season.

Stores typically offer heavy discounts and open their doors in the wee hours of the morning to accommodate the massive demand.

The name indicates the day when retailers start to enjoy a profit or “are in the black” as hordes of customers rush in to nab gifts for the holidays.

It has become a cause for concern though, with violence breaking out and even deaths occurring from stampedes as some customers compete with other shoppers.

In response, heavy security has been set up to monitor the opening of stores and many customers are choosing instead to shop online.

Cyber Monday now indicates the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday when employees return to work and shop online – on the company’s time.

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Black Friday falls on the day after Thanksgiving and has earned the reputation of being the busiest shopping day of the year.

The name was adopted from an accounting term – red ink denotes a negative profit margin, where as “in the black” denotes a positive profit margin. Many retailers make or break their sales goals between Thanksgiving and Christmas, with the season kicking off on the Friday after Thanksgiving, hence the name “Black Friday.”

1. Check Out the Ads:

Your local Thanksgiving Day newspaper will be stuffed like your Thanksgiving turkey with ads, coupons, and circulars. This will be your number one source to local Black Friday savings. It will also help you organize your day to maximize savings, since many stores offer special discounts that are time specific. Example: Receive an extra 10 percent off if you shop before 11 a.m.

2. Do Your Research Before Friday:

If you are hoping to scoop up a deal on Friday on a big-ticket item, go ahead and get your research out of the way as soon as possible. A bad product is a bad deal no matter how cheap it costs. Being knowledgeable about the products you want to buy will help you avoid being sucker-punched with loud advertising for poor products. About.com is chocked full of buying advice on a wide variety of products from professionals who have the knowledge to help you make good decisions.

3. Compare Prices:

Utilize price-comparison Internet shopping sites such as PriceGrabber.com to assist you in comparing product prices. Compare the “options” included with the product. Some retailers will low-ball the advertised price on a stripped down product, and then you will be charged extra for the necessary parts that will make the product perform as expected. A good example of this is often seen with super low-priced computer printers that come without the cable (cord) or printer ink.

4. Look for Early Bird Shopper Discounts:

The Early Bird Shopper will be the real winner on Black Friday. Stores offering early-day shopper specials usually run the deals from 5 a.m. until 11 a.m. and with no “rain checks,” which means once they run out of the products, you are out of luck. Scanning the ads and routing your trip based on your buying priorities will be important with the time-sensitive deals that will be offered.

Black Friday falls on the day after Thanksgiving and has earned the reputation of being the busiest shopping day of the year

Black Friday falls on the day after Thanksgiving and has earned the reputation of being the busiest shopping day of the year

5. Beat the Crowds with Night Owl Discounts on Thanksgiving:

Internet shoppers can beat the early birds by shopping online in the pre-dawn hours of Black Friday. Many retailers will be posting their Black Friday specials, which can be ordered online and picked-up at your local store. Special “Web only” deals will also be available starting as early as Thanksgiving eve. Many of the aggressive outlet malls and factory stores will be opening Thursday at midnight, with early bird promotions in hopes of capturing your dollars before the competition has opened.

 

6. Bring the Ads:

Many stores offer a “lowest-price” guarantee; however you may be required to produce a copy of the exact product being advertised for less. Most local retailers will not meet Internet prices even when the product is advertised on the same company’s website, but it cannot hurt to try. Print the Web page that details the product and shows the advertised price. It may give you additional bargaining power and push the sales person into waiving other charges such as assembly fees.

7. Know the Store Policies:

Knowing the store policies on returns can help you determine where to buy. A previous trend of extending “return days” during the holidays is being seen less this year. Many retailers are including restocking fees and shorter return deadlines. Almost all of the major retail chains have clamped down on requiring receipts for returns and exchanges, and many keep a database of individuals who tend to abuse return policies. If you get onto an “abuse” list, prepare yourself to be turned down.

8. Ask for Gift Receipts:

Gift receipts generally include a description of the item purchased but do not disclose the price paid. Including gift receipts inside the gift box will make returns or exchanges easier for the gift recipient. Without proof-of-purchase, the recipient may be turned down for returning or exchanging the item or risk receiving an exchange for the current selling price of the item.

Since many retailers begin permanently slashing prices as soon as Black Friday is over, the difference between what you pay for a gift during December and what it sells for in January can be significant. Including a gift-receipt should help insure a hassle-free return experience for gift recipients.

9. Saying “Charge It” Can Pay Off

Obviously, there is no bargain in running up high credit card bills and paying big interest rates, however, with proper spending disciplines intact, using the right charge card can be of value to consumers. Many credit card companies entice consumers with free benefits, which include extended free warranties, return protection and sale price protection.

  • Warranty Coverage – Your credit card company may offer to double or triple a manufacturer’s warranty for free on a product you purchase – a good option instead of purchasing a service contract that costs money and has a shorter duration period.
  • Return Protection – A credit card company may guarantee a refund on a product up to 90 days where as the store may not. This is becoming particularly more important as retailers stiffen the allotted return days.
  • Sale Price Protection – Some of the credit card companies will offer this protection and refund you the difference if a product you buy is marked down further than the price you paid within a certain time frame (usually 60 days).

An enormous amount of advertising, locally and online, can be confusing and nearly paralyzing to the Black Friday bargain hunter. To maximize the benefits of hitting the stores on a day where there are big crowds and a better deal around every corner, developing a plan and doing preliminary research will help insure that the day is a shopping success.

10. Have fun saving money while you shop!

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2012 Black Friday sales will have Wal-Mart throwing open their doors earlier than ever before.

Opening at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, two hours earlier than last year, the world’s largest retailer says they hope to relieve shoppers’ anxiety while also guaranteeing three of their most popular items for a special one hour.

If lined up inside the store between 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, those three items guaranteed are: an Apple iPad 2 with Wi-Fi for $399 plus a $74 Wal-Mart gift card; an Emerson 32-inch LCD TV for $148, down from the original $228; and an LG Blu-ray Disc player for $38, about half off the original price.

If those inside during that one-hour window find the product sold out, Wal-Mart will offer a guarantee card for the item.

The item must be paid for by midnight and registered online. The product will then be shipped to the store where it was purchased for the customer to pick up before December 25.

“We know it’s frustrating for customers to shop on Black Friday and not get the items they want,” said Duncan MacNaughton, chief merchandising and marketing officer at Wal-Mart’s U.S. division.

To satisfy customers’ demands for coveted items, Wal-Mart “bought very deep” on products that matter to its customers, he said.

Duncan MacNaughton declined to offer details but he told reporters on Wednesday the discounter is offering sharper discounts and broader, deeper assortments for the kickoff and the rest of the season compared to years past. For example, Wal-Mart doubled the number of tablet computers it’s bringing in for the winter holidays.

2012 Black Friday sales will have Wal-Mart throwing open their doors earlier than ever before

2012 Black Friday sales will have Wal-Mart throwing open their doors earlier than ever before

The stepped-up strategy comes as Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, is counting on keeping its momentum going at its U.S. business, which started roaring back late last year after struggling during a more than two-year slump.

It’s critical for the holiday shopping season, which accounts for as much as 40% of a retailer’s annual sales.

Wal-Mart’s strategy raises the competitive stakes for the start of the holiday season.

American retailers have increasingly expanded their hours on Black Friday to get ahead of the competition, but now the kickoff is creeping earlier into Thanksgiving Day.

Starting with the 8:00 p.m. sale on Thanksgiving, Wal-Mart will have two more rounds of sales that will also include a consumer electronics sale two hours later and a sale at 5:00 a.m. on Friday.

Last year, Target, Best Buy, Macy’s and Kohl’s were closed on Thanksgiving and kicked off Black Friday sales at the stroke of midnight, their earliest starts ever. Best Buy Co Inc, Macy’s and Kohl’s all plan to open at midnight again, while Target has not given its plans yet.

Sears Holdings Corp’s (SHLD.O) Sears and Kmart stores will be open on Thanksgiving Day. Last year, Sears kept its discount chain Kmart open on Thanksgiving but the Sears chain was closed.

This year, Sears stores will open at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and stay open overnight until 10:00 p.m. on Black Friday. Kmart has been open on Thanksgiving for the last 21 years.

In 2011, Wal-Mart began with deals on toys, home items and clothing at 10:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving, followed by electronics deals at midnight and other offers at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, November 25.

Most Wal-Mart stores will be open on Thanksgiving, unless they are required to close by local or state law.

Wal-Mart has faced protests in various U.S. cities lately and some workers have planned to walk off the job on Black Friday. Such actions are being sponsored by groups including a contingent of workers called OUR Wal-Mart that receives union support.