Thursday, November 24, 2011


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By Diane Forrest
(Smart shopper)

Years ago when my 4 cousins from Texas were young, they would travel to Mississippi for Thanksgiving.  The following day was the Annual Crackerjack Sale.  The local department store would hand out boxes of crackerjacks to the early shoppers and the prize inside were percent off coupons.  Some 10%, 15% and 20%.  There was also a diamond ring and a gift certificate per store. Since my mother and aunt took a little longer to get dressed, I would take the 4 girls with me.   The store has several doors, so we would go in one door, get our crackerjacks, then go out and come in another door.  We would hit all the doors, then head out to my mother's, by then my mom and aunt would be dressed, then we would go back again for more coupons.  At the end of the day we would pour all the crackerjacks into a zip lock bag and give them to my grandmother who would take them on a church trip that the seniors would take following Thanksgiving.  We did this every year for many years.   It was wonderful fun and made for many good memories.  Later on my husband, who was unable to move around in the store in his wheelchair, was asked to hand out the crackerjacks to incoming customers, a job he really loved doing.

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Black Friday is not a "holiday".  It refers to the shopping day that takes place the day after Thanksgiving.  It is called Black Friday because it indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or "in the black."  Black Friday has not been considered the biggest shopping day of the year until 2003.  In 2004 it came in second, but has held first place in the years that have followed. There have been occasional problems with Black Friday.  People lining up at the doors wanting to be the first in line, fighting over sales have resulted in police being called, and in 2008 a 34 year old man was trampled with the rush of shoppers, and later died.

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One of my best Black Fridays’ happened a few years ago, in 2007.  My stepson was getting married the following March, and I had been looking for a kitchen aid mixer for them.  I happened to look at Wal-Mart’s website and noticed a secret sale.  Each store was going to have one mixer for $199.00.  It was so secret even the employee’s didn’t know about it.  I went at 4 a.m., since the store is open 24 hours, but they were not going to ring up items on sale til 5 a.m.  I picked up the mixer, put it in the cart, and stood at the register until time for them to start ringing up.  I was the first to get the mixer, so I won!  I was so excited I told everyone I met the rest of the day.

The best way to shop is to check out the sales, make a map of the items you want, purchase your items, then head back to bed.  Be safe, have fun and good luck!

Did you know?
In 1939, retail shops would have liked to have a longer shopping season, but no store wanted to break with tradition and be the one to start advertising before Thanksgiving. President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the date for Thanksgiving one week earlier, leading to much anger by the public who wound up having to change holiday plans some even refused the change, resulting in the U.S. citizens celebrating Thanksgiving on two separate days. Some started referring to the change as Franksgiving.

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For the official Black Friday deals online, check here:

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