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Camping Out at Stores for Black Friday – Stupid, Or Smart?

Major Retailers Begin Black Friday Sales Thanksgiving Night
(Photo by Andrew Kelly/Getty Images)

We’re still waiting for the first official sighting of Black Friday campers setting up outside their favorite store in the Tri-Cities, but reports from across the country say it started happening 3-4 days or more ago!

Black Friday represents the biggest retail shopping day of the year, and of course retailers continually try to outdo the competition by offering bigger and bigger shopping specials to entice customers.

So much so that for some,  they believe it’s necessary to set up a lawn chair or tent outside of their favorite store to ensure they are first in line.   Some believe they end up looking like homeless folks,  others say if the deal is good enough, it’s worth it.

An interesting item in the website tells of a pair of brothers in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, who set up camp outside their local Best Buy store ten days before Thanksgiving!  While the website uses some not-safe-for-work language, it captures the feelings of many people, who are starting to view campers as a nuisance.

The Christian Science Monitor ran a story late last week that indicated that while you may be able to score some rare in-store deals on Black Friday,  retailers such as Amazon and Walmart actually offer their best deals (and more of them) online for Cyber Monday.

The goal of Black Friday for retailers has changed over the years.  Once an attempt to pump as much retail-holiday money into their registers,  it’s now an attempt to compete with on-line sales.  Cyber Monday (online holiday shopping’s version of Black Friday) exceeded Black Friday sales several years ago, and the trend continues.   Retailers are trying to entice people to visit what they call the “brick-and-mortar” stores to give them a bump.

We realize many people like to get out and get a great deal, but camping out?   Standing in line for hours?   More and more stores are now opening on Thanksgiving, and the lines of campers in many parts of the country seem to get longer.    While it’s nice to get a great deal for the holidays,  maybe we need to examine our priorities.   Isn’t it more important to spend time with friends and family than wait in line for days just to get the best deal on an item that could never replace time lost with family?

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