Black Friday now begins on Thanksgiving Thursday

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One of the biggest shopping days of the year, Black Friday, may have some stiff competition when it comes to Thanksgiving Thursday.

In a celebration of true American capitalism, several of the nation’s biggest stores are opening their doors on Thanksgiving night. If previous years are any indication of 2013’s turnout, customers will be lining up outside store doors hours before they open for business.

Those willing to combat the Black Friday madness are rewarded with special promotions and pricing. The early birds who leave their homes at 4 a.m. are rewarded the most, which is appropriate because they're out shopping before their Thanksgiving meals have even been digested.

While I am in full support of starting the Christmas shopping season with a sale, I have to wonder if retail stores opening on Thanksgiving Day is worth it.

Last year, I decided to participate in the annual Black Friday sale after some convincing from my sister. For three hours I scoured the store ads, circling every item I wanted with a think red pen. After standing in the cold with other competitive shoppers for two hours, the doors opened and frenzied customers ran in every direction. The advertised items were stocked on end caps and in the middle of aisles with displays at every entrance. In the midst of the excitement, or maybe just the hunger for a bargain, people were trampled, checkout lines were endless and items were sold out within minutes. In a mere ten minutes the store had turned into a zoo. And what for? A deeply discounted wristwatch? What happened to the meaning behind Thanksgiving Day?

To quote Bob Dylan, the times, they are a-changing. Thanksgiving is now about more than family and food. It's turning into a feast to prepare the shoppers for battle early the next morning, or possibly even that night. 

So to the wave of crazed customers and early birds who end up saving $100 on that new Nikon Coolpix, I say congratulations. After one failed attempt at Black Friday shopping, I have thrown in my shopping shoes and called it quits.

Come Thursday night, I will be sticking to my own Thanksgiving tradition — sitting fireside, eating a slice of homemade pumpkin pie and watching “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving."