Years ago, your Thanksgiving Day gift shopping would mean a trip to a convenience store for a cheap Samurai sword, a Bic lighter 3-pack or an artificial rose.
The lines are already forming and the doors are opening early, even before the last of your turkey cools.
In fact, Kmart has been open since before you probably awoke this morning.
Major retailers including Walmart, Sears and Target open this evening. Many stores at Tacoma Mall open at midnight. JCPenney and Nordstrom, among other mall stores, plan early Friday morning openings.
It’s called Black Friday because that’s when retailers supposedly start using black ink in their ledger books, rather than red.
• Fifty-one percent of consumers will go shopping this weekend.
• Seventeen percent of consumers, or 41 million people, will take advantage of the early holiday hours, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.
• Tomorrow, Black Friday, will see the heaviest consumer traffic of the holiday weekend, the center said. This translates to 33 percent of consumers, or 80.5 million people planning to shop that day.
• Fifty-eight percent of the shoppers will shop because of bargain prices.
• Thirteen percent, the council said, will go shopping because they are “motivated by the energy of the crowds.”
• The Consumer Federation of America said holiday spending will rise upwards of 4 percent this year, the fourth year of improvement. Twelve percent of consumers plan to spend more this year than last, and 38 percent say they will spend less.
The CFA advises that shoppers make a budget and a write a list of gifts. Decide how much you can spend, and stick to it. Check inside today’s News Tribune for weekend specials.
Remember that it’s not just about Black Friday – which this year falls on the earliest possible November day, which means you will still have more than four weeks to shop for sales.
State Attorney General Rob McKenna also advised shoppers to make a budget. Beyond that, McKenna said consumers thinking of giving gift cards should seriously consider whether the recipient will actually use the card. When does the card expire? Are there any fees involved? Read the small print.
Instead of a retail gift card, he said, “try a personal gift card – a day of yard work, take someone to lunch during the dark winter days, make a monthly dessert or a plate of cookies.”
Also, McKenna advised, use credit cards instead of debit cards when shopping online. It’s a matter of being protected against fraud.
Finally, his office said to avoid extended service plans.
And do keep those receipts.
SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY
It’s not just Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) that can get those shopping juices flowing.
The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber is encouraging consumers to participate in Small Business Saturday, which falls on the day following Black Friday.
It’s a day for shopping local.
But first, one more word about Black Friday. LeMay – America’s Car Museum on Friday will offer a $2 discount on the price of admission for anyone who brings in a receipt from a shop in the 253 area code. It’s part of the museum’s Shop 253 initiative.
And come Saturday (or even Friday, if you still have the energy), here are a few Tacoma alternatives to the big-box retailers you may have visited the day before.
• Purple Peacock, 1744 Pacific Ave. Scarves from India, pearls from Beijing. “I handpick things from around the world,” said owner Ashleigh David. “Last year Friday and Saturday were very busy days. I expect them to be busy again.”
• Design Cottage, 2624 N. 21st St. in the Three Bridges District bordering the Proctor District. Vintage furniture, repurposed furniture. Home dressings including pillows and accessories. Plus Annie Sloan paint.
“We’ve brought in extra merchandise,” said Cindy Hickly, marketing and merchandising manager. “It’s definitely a big weekend for us.”
• Giraffe, 622 St. Helens Ave.. Open in Tacoma for just over a month. Fair trade goods from around the world.
“We have products from 50 countries,” said owner Priscilla Schleigh. Look for furniture, reclaimed wood, tables, shelving, clay bakeware, dishes, textiles, Nativity sets from 20 countries – plus hand blended soap and house brands of blended salts.
“It’s exciting to be a part of what’s going on in Tacoma,” Schleigh said.
• Pacific Northwest Shop, 2702 N. Proctor St. All things Northwest, from smoked salmon to Almond Roca, blown glass to huckleberry jam. “Saturday is generally as good, or better, for us than Black Friday,” said owner Bill Evans.
“On Black Friday, the big chain stores seem to get more traffic. Traditionally, I find that the day after Black Friday is our day. Saturday is the day people go to small mom-and-pops.”
WHEN DOORS OPEN
Please check with your local retailer as some stores may choose at last minute to open earlier than the times listed. Also, keep in mind that most retailers start their Black Friday sales online today, while some, such as Amazon, started earlier this week.
6 A.M.: KMART.
8 p.m.: Walmart, Sears, Kmart (for start of Black Friday sales), Toys “R” Us.
9 p.m.: Target.
Midnight: Kohl’s, Macy’s, Best Buy (distributing entry tickets up to three hours before midnight — check with your local store to confirm).
5 a.m.: Cabela’s, Staples.
6 a.m.: JC Penney, Office Max.
8 a.m.: Nordstrom.
9 a.m.: Costco.
• For opening times for stores at the Tacoma Mall, see the list, back page. OPENING TIMES AT TACOMA MALL
Mall entrances open at 11 p.m. with Starbucks also open at that time.
8 p.m.: Sears (open at store’s exterior entrance).
Midnight: Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret, Pink, Hallmark, Express, Foot Locker, Yankee Candle, among others.
6 a.m.: JC Penney.
8 a.m.: Nordstrom, Apple.C.R. Roberts: 253-597-8535 c.r.roberts@ thenewstribune.com