MAPLE GROVE, Minn. -- Black Friday starts on Thursday and it ends on Sunday. Or does it end on Cyber Monday? Confused?
Retailers are rolling out deep discounts throughout the weekend, but what if you don't want to fight the crowds? Can you still save some money?
"What we've seen in years past is that most of the door busters except those very few, limited quantity ones are available online and sometimes retailers have offered an additional coupon codes," Shopping Expert Carrie Rocha said.
Rocha is offering a deal or tip every day on her popular website www.pocketyourdollars.com.
Rocha says electronics like TVs, tablets and computers are good buys on Black Friday or Thanksgiving Thursday. She says housewares, like blenders and toasters, and hot toys are also good things to grab on the busy shopping weekend.
When can you shop? Most major retailers are going to unlock the doors on Thanksgiving Day. Kmart opens at 6 a.m. on turkey day, while Toys 'R' Us will get the party started at 5 p.m. Walmart and Best Buy will kick off their sales at 6 p.m., while Kohl's, J.C. Penney, Sears and Target start selling stuff at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night.
"I tell people get out as early as you can," Target Leader Mason Allison said.
He runs the Plymouth Target and has been a big part of around two dozen Black Fridays. He says people will start lining up outside the door in the early afternoon for the 8 p.m. opening, and folks will show up even earlier if there's good weather.
Allison says his employees will hand out maps to those waiting in line. It's a good thing too. The $229, 50-inch HDTV they're selling will be way back in frozen foods so crowds don't end up blocking the front door.
We're not breaking any news here. The Minneapolis-based retailer already has its deals and floor plans available on their website. Allison will tell you "the early bird" adage should be repeated.
"I think if you get here early enough you've got a really good shot at getting one of those big-ticket items. Of course, there's no guarantee," he warns.
There are a lot of myths that surround the busy shopping weekend. Many are sorted out on www.dealnews.com. For instance, retail experts say many consumers believe that stores have an ample stock of door busters. They also warn that not all the best deals can be found on Black Friday weekend, in fact, some toy prices are slashed right before Christmas Eve. Another misnomer is that all the good deals are advertised in the circulars. Not true. Many stores are offering bonus door busters throughout the weekend.
"It's not only to get some of us who don't want to camp out, but it's also to continue to drive traffic throughout the weekend," Rocha explained.
"We've pulled out all the stops," Best Buy Eden Prairie Manager John Dvorak told KARE 11.
He says he can't remember a selling season like the one the Richfield-based retailer is gearing up for. After opening the doors at 6 p.m., the retailer will reveal its round No. 2 mystery door buster deals online at 10 p.m. Consumer can grab those deals at midnight.
"Releasing another door buster at 12 o'clock that night is giving customers another unique opportunity to get something that we didn't offer at six. Or, maybe they didn't get off work or maybe they were still with their family (during door buster #1)," Dvorak said.
Toys 'R' Us is also offering a "second sale" that starts at 5 a.m. on Black Friday.
"Usually some of the most popular deals are going to be up front at the beginning of the aisles," Store manager Marco Beckstrand said.
She also says there isn't one, front-running toy this year. Instead consumers will be after several extremely warm toys. And like other store managers, she says if you don't make it out on Black Friday weekend, you don't have much reason to worry.
"Every day we have a new deal of the day, or items of the day, or every week we have things that go on sale that are great deals," Beckstrand told KARE.
Rocha says if you have the urge to get out of the house and join the crowds, make sure you do your research and have a little fun. Just don't have too much fun.
"So I think the backdrop to all of this is you need the game plan, but that has to include a spending limit!" she concluded.