This week marks the start of the Great American Shopping Spree.
Oh, and it's Thanksgiving, too.
The traditional Black Friday kickoff of the Christmas shopping season has crept even further into Thanksgiving. Last year, some stores opened at midnight Thursday, and a few as early as 9 p.m. Now, big chains such as Wal-Mart, Sears and Toys 'R' Us have pushed up their opening times to 8 p.m. A handful of others, including Kmart and Old Navy, plan to stay open during the day on Thanksgiving.
As they did last year, workers at some retail chains are protesting the loss of family time. But retailers say it's what consumers want, and people get antsy sitting around after dinner anyway.
As an event signaling the advent of the season of comfort and joy, Black Friday has sometimes come up a bit short. Last year, a woman competing for merchandise at a Los Angeles Wal-Mart pepper-sprayed her fellow shoppers.
This year, Wal-Mart is trying to keep everyone calm. The retailer promises that anyone in line between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving night is guaranteed an opportunity to buy a 32-inch TV for $148 or an Apple iPad 2 for $399.
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