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Black Friday turns into 'Gray Thursday'

It's that time of year again. Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means families will be reuniting to carve turkeys, spend quality time together and discuss what they're most thankful for. Big department stores are trying their best to keep time short at the dinner table, though.

Black Friday is quickly being turned into "Gray Thursday." Some big department stores are doing away with the old tradition of opening on Friday at midnight and are instead unlocking their doors right around dinnertime on Thanksgiving. Some call it desperation. Some say it destroys the holiday. Others are happy to get a jump on the best deals early.

According to a recent Opinion Outpost Mini-Poll, when asked whether it was a good idea for companies to offer Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving Day and earlier, 58 percent of respondents - out of 2,793 - said "no."

The big name culprits
Not every big business is opening its doors on Thanksgiving. In fact, three states - Massachusetts, Maine and Rhode Island - outlaw opening during the holiday, according to The Huffington Post. Still, that doesn't stop many retail giants from breaking up the holiday festivities. Some are opening earlier than ever. Here's a list of just a few, according to CNBC.

  • Kmart - 6 a.m.
  • RadioShack - 8 a.m.
  • Best Buy - 5 p.m.
  • Toys R Us - 5 p.m.
  • J.C. Penney - 5 p.m.
  • Target - 6 p.m.
  • Sears - 6 p.m.
  • Kohl's - 6 p.m.
  • Macy's - 6 p.m.

Wal-Mart will also be opening at 6 p.m. on the holiday - two hours earlier than last year. 

What to expect in the shopper's rush
There's nothing like showing how thankful you are for what you have than by cutting family time short to go shop. Every year there are new stories about the insane things that happen during the Black Friday rush. If you need a reminder of just how hectic the shopping event can get, there are plenty of YouTube clips out there that capture the madness. Here are some examples of the worst disasters in the department store bum rush.

Few people have forgotten the Black Friday that turned deadly in 2008 when CNN reported that a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death after opening a store in Long Island, New York. The same evening, two men were shot dead at a Toys R Us in Palm Desert, California, after an argument in the store.

In another incident in 2011 - this one less violent - a man at a West Virginia shopping center collapsed amid the shopping rush. Walter Vance later died after going unnoticed by eager shoppers who stepped over him to snag bargain buys, according to New York Daily News.

Just last year, Time magazine called the intense day of shopping "calm" after just one death and 15 injuries were attributed to the frantic holiday shopping dash.

The shopping event that has so often turned violent has gotten so much media attention that a website dubbed blackfridaydeathcount.com has been created. It showcases all of the reported injuries and tragedies linked to the holiday. 


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