Since I'm reflecting and since this column will be published the day before Thanksgiving (happy, Turkey Day!), I'm going to go the corny route and say what I'm thankful for because, well, how is that a bad thing?
Responding to consumer demand, retailers have pushed up store openings to the end of Thanksgiving dinner, started online price wars in November and replaced door buster opening events with waves of sales targeting different consumers.
It could well have been the hype and promotion of a shopping day with nearly as much shopping excitement as Black Friday that spurred the crowds to open their purses on a second big spending day. Then again, it may be another in the few small signs that have shown up in recent weeks indicating the bad times have bottomed out and an upswing may be in the offing.
This year, the packed-house madness of Black Friday was done well before dawn. With more and more stores opening at midnight and some starting hours earlier, thousands of Baltimore-area shoppers arrived — and left — in the wee hours.
Some of the nation's major chain stores opened late Thursday, competing for holiday shoppers to kick off a period that is crucial for the retail industry. After the crowds entered Toys "R" Us at 9 p.m., Walmart's Black Friday deals started at 10 p.m.