CHESAPEAKE--Whether it's an annual family tradition or a day you completely avoid, Black Friday will be here before you know it. This year, there's something new - the start time.
"It gets earlier and earlier every year. It was midnight before. Now it's at 8:00 p.m. Soon it'll be Thanksgiving morning," says Janel Ayers, who admits she's not surprised.
Several major retailers are opening on a day when stores are traditionally closed. Among them, Sears and Walmart, which both begin doorbusters at 8:00 p.m. Target will open at 9:00 p.m.
Consumer blogger Laura Oliver of A Frugal Chick.com says earlier start times will mean people will get in line earlier, too.
"You're gonna be waiting outside in the cold because if a store opens at eight, the lines probably gonna start at five," predicts Oliver.
She says there's been some push back because of the change.
"People feel it's kind of encroaching on the holiday, on the time people are supposed to be spending with their family and doing things like that," says Oliver.
Target employees in California started an online petition to protest opening on Thanksgiving. It went viral.
Nonetheless, the ads are out and the stores are ready for shoppers.
Oliver says Sears is doing their doorbusters in waves for those who don't want to go out on Thanksgiving night.
One of the must-haves this holiday shopping season is the iPad 2 and since Apples sets the price, stores are finding other ways to get you in the door.
"They're offering incentives. So, you go to this store, you buy the iPad and you get a $70 gift certificate for that store or $60 gift card for that store," states Oliver.
Walmart's got a different strategy. From 10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, the retailer has a "One-Hour Instock Guarantee" on three major items, including the iPad.
Many stores do price-matching on Black Friday and year round for that matter. That's why Oliver says your smartphone is your biggest ally this year.
"If you can find the exact same item in the same quantity with the same description and everything else, online, cheaper than a store's price, you can take your smartphone into the store, show it to customer service and they will price match it," she says.
If wrapping up your leftovers in a hurry just to shop on Thanksgiving night doesn't appeal to you, you don't have to miss out. Oliver says last year, over 70% of the things on sale for Black Friday could be purchased online.
To find the best deals this year, go online and do a simple Google search using the terms "Black Friday 2012."
You can also check out her website: afrugalchick.com