If you were up in the wee morning hours to nab some ever earlier Black Friday bargains, Oren Etzioni has some bad news for you.
The University of Washington professor says that the best deals on electronics, the products that are among the biggest sellers on the crazy shopping Friday after Thanksgiving, actually show up in early December.
If you didn't buy a home sound system or new HD 3-D television, then mark your calendar for your next shopping excursion in a couple of weeks.
Of course, for many Black Friday is about the experience as much as it is about saving money. Personally, I don't get it. But then I'm not a shopper.
And if people enjoy the crowds and fighting for the last item on the shelf, then far be it for me to judge.
Plus, they're doing their fiscal duty by pumping some cash into the economy.
Why Black Friday? This holiday weekend, I had a couple of relatives admit that they had no idea why the Friday after Thanksgiving famous for shopping is called Black Friday.
There have been other Black Fridays throughout history, as DailyFinance's Jason Cochran details in the video below.
And several of them, notes Cochran, live up to the dark fiscal moniker.
On May 11, 1866, Overend, Guerney & Company in London collapsed, sending the markets into a panic.
On Sept. 24, 1869, a group of New York bankers jacked up the price of gold, panicking more investors.
Four years later, on Sept. 18, 1873, there were two Black Fridays, one in Vienna, Austria, and one in America. On that day in the United States, the Jay Cooke & Company bank failed, kicking off the Long Depression.
And you thought we had it bad now.
Bad day at some Black Friday stores: Such dire connotations also were initially applied to the busiest shopping day of the year.
The day was dubbed Black Friday back in 1966 because so many people went out to shop that it caused traffic accidents and sometimes even violence.
Unfortunately, Black Friday 2011 lived down to that characterization, as violence erupted at Black Friday sales today across the United States.
One bargain-hunter was critically injured after being shot during a robbery and 15 people injured when a woman used pepper spray on other shoppers to to gain a "competitive" shopping advantage.
This is just one reason I'm not, as I noted earlier, a shopper.
But in this marketing day and age, retailers like to put a more positive spin on Black Friday.
The term now generally refers to the money that stores make thanks to the crowds. Their bookkeeping ledgers go from red ink designating losses to black ink recording profits.
No Black Friday sales tax holidays this year: A couple of states used to hold sales tax holidays in connection with the busy holiday shopping season. No more.
Strapped for cash, they've put the tax holidays on hold. They need every last cent, sales tax inlcuded, they can get.
The one I miss the most is South Caronlina's Second Amendment Tax Holiday held on prevous Black Fridays.
As recently as last year's day after Thanksgiving, the Palmetto State waived collection of its state sales tax on purchases of firearms.
But not in 2011.
So South Carolina marksmen, if you get a hunting rifle for Christmas this year, be extra grafeful. The price paid by the gift giver included taxes.
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