Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Charles Owens

November 21, 2012

It’s time tIt’s time to shop until we drop — or fall over the dreaded fiscal cliffo shop until we drop — or fall over the dreaded fiscal cliff

It’s time to eat lots of turkey, and then go shopping. Yes the rumors are true. A growing number of stores across the country are opening their doors at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night — providing us a chance to walk off all that turkey. Black Friday is becoming Black Thursday by default. Get your credit cards ready.

Wal-Mart, Sears, Target, Toys R Us — they are all opening at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. So if you want to get the big Black Friday deals on Black Thursday, you will have to finish the Thanksgiving leftovers early, miss the final football game of the night and hit the road to beat the crowds.

Come to think of it, we might as well take advantage of the early deals. And we might as well go shopping. Because the future doesn’t look all that bright. That’s why we should spend money now — while we still can afford to do so. After all, if the dreaded Mayan doomsday prophesy doesn’t get us next month, the approaching fiscal cliff most certainly will. And once we go over the fiscal cliff, there is certainly no turning back.

Come the first of the year (provided the ancient Mayans are wrong, of course), our paychecks are going to shrink, and the amount of taxes we pay are going to go up. And for those who are holding out hope that Congress may reach a last-minute deal before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve to keep us from going over the fiscal cliff, I wouldn’t hold my breath on compromise. Remember the so-called “super committee” that was supposed to have resolved the debt crisis earlier this year. Well it was a super failure. And not much has changed since then. The Republicans still control the House. The Democrats still control the Senate. Barack Obama is still president. So nothing has really changed.

(Note to America: Why did we re-elect all of the same people? Now we are back in the same boat that we were in before the election — bitter bipartisan gridlock).

But at least we can go shopping Thursday night. And we don’t have to get up at 4 a.m. in the morning to get the big deals. In fact, we don’t even have to go to  bed. We just have to pull ourselves away from the Thanksgiving leftovers, and the football games, and head out to the mall or the local department store in time to beat the all-but guaranteed crowds.

Of course we still don’t have a Target or a Toys R Us, so it looks like our shopping options  will remain the same as they were last year. But we have a Sears and a Kmart, and at least five different Walmarts within an hour driving time. So finding a good deal shouldn’t be too hard.

While some don’t like the idea of losing holiday time with our family and friends on Thanksgiving evening, the truth of the matter is that going after the big deals at 8 p.m. in the evening is a lot easier than getting up at 4 a.m. in the morning to be in line waiting for the doors to open at 6 a.m. Some of us, after all, still have to work on the day after Thanksgiving. So if we get up with the chickens to go shopping at 6 a.m. in the morning, we are going to be very tired later in the day while trying to perform our jobs at work. So the 8 p.m. Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving night are actually a lot easier for those of us who are working during the long holiday weekend.

 But the stores are still coming up with new ways to keep us shopping throughout the night. According to the Associated Press, Wal-Mart and Target are staggering their Black Friday promotions, launching sales of popular products such as iPads at specific times throughout the evening and night in hopes that shoppers will return throughout the night and morning to get the lowest prices. For example, Wal-Mart will release different deals at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and again at 5 a.m. on Black Friday. Target, Kmart and Sears apparently are planning to do the same. I’m not for sure about Toys R Us — because, well, I’m a little too old nowadays to worry about Toys R Us.

So if you still want to stay up all night shopping — and get no sleep — you can still do that. The rest of us can go out shopping early, and get home and in bed by midnight. It sounds like a good plan to me. Eat. Shop. Sleep. And get up in time to be at the newspaper office bright and early Friday morning.

So go ahead and shop. Spend your hard-earned money while you still can. Because before you know it we will be heading over the dreaded fiscal cliff. And once we go over the cliff, things will only get worse. In fact, most economists say a lack of action by Congress to avert going over the fiscal cliff by year’s end will almost certainly result in another recession. Is that what our lawmakers really want? Will the Democrats and Republicans agree to no longer disagree before we go over the edge? Hang on. I have a feeling the next few weeks are going to be turbulent.

Charles Owens is the Daily Telegraph’s assistant managing editor. Contact him at cowens@bdtonline.com. Follow him @BDTOwens.

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