Credit: iStockphoto

If the sale is right, we will do anything to save some pennies and score sweet swag for under the tree — except maybe camp out in front of the store. On second thought, if Michael Kors had a 90% off sale, we’d plank on the curb as long as it took to nab those fabulous snakeskin heel Cyprien suede pumps. Sorry ... were we drooling?

Everyone knows that Black Friday deals are nearly upon us, so to save you a headache and a whole lot of money, we put together a little survival guide for Black Friday 2012 — the essential opening schedule for all the major retailers, some tips on places to look within your store of choice for even better deals, and some advice on what not to do as we look back on some unfortunate events from Black Fridays past.

And We’re Off!

To kick things off, it’s necessary to decide ahead of time what stores you’re going to hit and when. To help with this huge decision, have a look at the Black Friday ads already out to see which retailers have the best deals on the stuff you want — and take note of how many of each item they will have in stock that day if it’s printed to see if it’s worth your time to line up.
Here’s the skinny on opening times and the biggest retailers’ baddest deals this year:
Walmart (8 p.m. Thursday)
Sears (8 p.m. Thursday)
J.C. Penny (6 a.m. Friday)
Target (9 p.m. Thursday)
Kohl’s (midnight)
Macy’s (midnight)
Best Buy (midnight)
Lowes (5 a.m. Friday)
Home Depot (5 a.m. Friday)
Toys R Us (8 p.m. Thursday)
Staples (5 a.m. Friday)
Radio Shack (6 a.m. Friday)
Kmart (8 p.m. Thursday)

To Doorbust or Not to Doorbust?

Credit: iStockphoto

Most stores offer “doorbuster” deals on big ticket items like TVs and laptops, but they may only have 30 in stock. If you feel your sales spirit is at 11 this year, then pull that tent out of storage and wear layers because you’ll need to camp out to nab those sweet deals. FYI, people are already lining up, so it’s now or never!


If you’re not one to spend your Thanksgiving on a slab of concrete for the best sales, there’s still hope for finding amazing deals, even on unadvertised treasure. Some of the best gifts are stocking stuffers, so head for the Incredibly useful USB drives, cute and cozy leggings or fuzzy socks, and those phone cases that you just know your best friend would absolutely love. Small items like these will be on extra sale for the holidays and especially on Black Friday. Many stores also sell their own brand names like Kenmore to Sears or Insignia to Best Buy, so avoid the pricier Cuisinart or Toshiba in favor of these names to save even more.

Safety First!

Finally, there are some Dos and Don'ts for Black Friday. Does anyone remember the year that man was trampled in Walmart as they opened the doors? Let's not be hasty in our hunger for a good deal this season and forget our manners or courtesies. Use common sense! Walk, don't run; be fair when heading for the last item on the shelf (Remember Jingle All the Way? Yeah, we thought so); and just be patient. The registers will be packed and everyone will be tired and likely cranky, so with emotions running high, there's always that one person who ruins it for everyone with their lousy attitude. Don’t be that person.

Our takeaways? Research the best deals using the Black Friday retailers' websites and printed ads, plan your route from store to store, be careful of other shoppers — especially kids and elders — and definitely record your savings to offset any buyer's remorse you may have at the end of the day. Or just don't think about it and have a crazy amount of fun!

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