Check the ads. Make your list. Ready the team. Black Friday is coming more quickly than ever, with many stores starting their sales on Thursday night. Eager shoppers looking to score a great deal may leave the Thanksgiving table for a quick nap before heading to the stores.
Not everyone is pleased with the trend of starting sales on Thanksgiving Day. More than 60 petitions on www.change.org hope to persuade stores like Target and Walmart to keep doors closed, at least until the dinner dishes are washed. Some have hundreds of thousands of signatures, but no retailers have announced a change in sale schedules due to the petitions.
Scope out this year's sales in today's edition of the Lodi News-Sentinel. Local retailers have gone above and beyond to get their ads out to consumers, completely filling the newspaper's warehouse this week, said publisher Marty Weybret. The Thanksgiving Day paper is traditionally the biggest one of the year, but Weybret senses this one might be the largest in recent memory.
Today's paper is stuffed full of 25 supplemental ads, with more than 400 pages of merchandise on sale.
"It's hard to review that much information any other way than the written form," said Weybret. "You've got to read through the ads to really find the sales."
Sales hours for Lodi stores
- Kmart is running multiple rounds of sale sessions. Round one runs from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday. Round two runs from 8 p.m. Thursday to 3 a.m. Friday. Round three runs from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday.
- JCPenney sales are strictly on Black Friday, from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- Kohl's has stuck to tradition and won't open until the clock strikes midnight tonight (Thursday) with sales until1 p.m. Friday
- Target will have its earliest Black Friday sale opening to date: 9 p.m. Thursday. Sales continue until 11 p.m. Friday
- Walmart has staggered their sales with three events for different items. Event 1 begins at 8 p.m. Event 2 begins at 10 p.m. Event 3 begins at 5 a.m.
All sales begin online before they begin in the store, and many offer free shipping over the weekend.
Downtown Lodi shopping
Jaime Watts, executive director of the Downtown Lodi Business Partnership, said Downtown shops were encouraged to start their sales on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. That fits with Small Business Saturday, a national effort to keep holiday shopping dollars local.
"On Saturday, we have our big Downtown holiday open house. Stores are offering refreshments, entertainment and door prizes, along with holiday sales," said Watts.
This weekend also marks the beginning of the Holiday Shopping Incentive Program.
Shoppers should save their receipts from Downtown stores between Nov. 23 and Dec. 21. If they add up to $500 in merchandise, they can select a $50 gift card from participating merchants.
Contact the Downtown Lodi Business Partnership at 209-369-8052.
Shopping tips from a Lodi couponer
Pam Elrod is an avid couponer and bargain hunter. The following are her tips for scoring a deal during Black Friday and beyond:
- Review all the advertising supplements carefully.
- On a sheet of binder paper, write down the item numbers and prices, and note if an item comes with a rebate or a coupon.
- Clip the coupons and organize them by store; put a paper clip on all the coupons from one store so they handy when you get to the register.
- Take advantage of each store's rewards program — for instance, Walgreens has Register Rewards, CVS has Easy Bucks, Rite Aid has +Up, Orchard Supply Hardware has Club Orchard. "Those are your biggest savings," says Elrod.
- Don't forget, you can usually add up all the discounts. This system is important if you go early, because sometimes store employees haven't put up all the relevant sales signs.
"Do all this and you can pay pennies on the dollar for items," said Elrod. "It's like a hobby for me, I just love it."
Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at email@example.com.