Tag Archives: holiday shopping

Holiday Shopping Season Begins!

Seriously? For real?
Seriously? For real?

Holiday shopping season is upon us, so let the madness begin! It used to be so simple – around about 5am on Black Friday the doors would fly open and the trampling would commence. Now, the times are all over the place. Kmart is particularly tricky: Open at 6am Thursday, closes at 4pm, opens again at 8pm, closes at 11pm Friday! You get all that? If not, the folks at About.com have compiled a pretty thorough set of lists for Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday store hours, so check ’em out!

Thanksgiving Day Opening Times

(Click the header for a complete listing)

6:00 AM – Kmart (closes at 4pm, reopens at 8pm)
7:00 AM – Big Lots
8:00 AM – Bass Pro Shops
8:00 AM – Family Dollar
9:00 AM – Old Navy
10:00 AM – Gap
8:00 PM – hh gregg
8:00 PM – Kmart
8:00 PM – Sears (stays open until 10pm Friday)
8:00 PM – Toys ‘R Us
8:00 PM – Wal-Mart (stays open until 10pm Friday)

Black Friday Opening Times

(Click the header for a complete listing)

12:00 Midnight – jcpenney (open from 8 PM Thurs thru 9 PM Friday)
12:00 Midnight – Kohl’s (open from 8 PM Thurs thru 9 PM Friday)
12:00 Midnight – Kmart (open from 8 PM Thurs thru 11 PM Friday)
12:00 Midnight – Old Navy (open from 7:00 PM Thurs)
12:00 Midnight – Sears (open from 8 PM Thurs thru 9 PM Friday)
12:00 Midnight – Target (continuous hours from 8:00 PM Thurs)
12:00 Midnight – Walmart (continuous hours from 8:00 PM Thurs)
5:00 AM – Bass Pro Shops
5:00 AM – Lowe’s
8:00 AM – Radio Shack

So, what’s YOUR battle plan? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page! And don’t forget, we did an online Holiday shopping guide a couple of weeks ago. You can check that out HERE.

Know Your Layaway


We have talked over the last couple of Holiday seasons about the return of layaway, in posts like this one and this one. As many folks continue to struggle economically, layaway has grown even more popular. In fact…

While layaway currently lacks the explosive popularity of gift cards, it’s a trend that bears watching, says Butler. Depending on consumer reaction, stores offering holiday layaway could extend their programs year-round, and retailers without layaway could make it available, he says.  Bankrate.com

You may be new to the layaway game. Or you did it back in the 1970s, like everybody else’s mom. Either way, the game has changed a bit. So Bankrate.com has drawn up a handy list of 8 things you need to know about layaway. Here are the bullet points:

  • Availability may be limited
  • Different programs have different rules
  • Down payments or deposits are possible
  • Ask about payment deadlines
  • What if I miss a payment?
  • What if the price drops?
  • Your merchandise might not be held on-site
  • It’s smart to save those receipts

Like I said, bullet points MUCH more info at the original article. How about you? Will you layaway this year? Has the system changed – better or worse? Let us know at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Online Holiday Shopping Tips!

Um, yeah…let’s not, OK?

As we noted last time, Black Friday is approaching (way to look at a calendar, genius!) It’s a tradition that has undergone some change in the past few years. The deals have crept backwards in time, encroaching on Thanksgiving itself. Now we have Cyber Monday for the online shoppers. And the entire weekend in between is littered with deals, as well.

So, when do YOU hit the digital battlefield? That depends on what you’re after. Thankfully, the folks at DealNews.com have scoured their archives to note what items are the best deal online on which day. Here is a much-compressed list…

Thanksgiving Day/Evening: Smartphones, HDTVs and Gaming Items

Black Friday: Laptops, Computers,  Storage (like flash drives, etc.), iPhones and Kitchenware

The Weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Tools and appliances

Cyber Monday: Clothing and shoes

MUCH more detail at the original article, so check it out! So, what’s on your shopping list this holiday season? Do you shop online, hit the mall or both? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Christmas Comes Earlier, and Earlier, and…

Kipper Williams 30 August 2012We were in Kmart over the weekend – that would be September 14th – a time when it is 92 degrees in Charleston, and the streets are still lined with garage sales. And what do we see? The Christmas displays are already out.

It’s a terrible, terrible cliché that “Christmas comes earlier every year!” But, dang! Doesn’t it seem like it?  It’ still regular season baseball. It’s week 2 of the NFL (when the Bengals still have a shot!) I haven’t even raked my first leaf!

So it’s no surprise that the Today show has already done a feature on the topic, appropriately enough, on Kmart.

Kmart is receiving a lot of attention for airing a Christmas ad a full 106 days before the holiday. Many customers feel the retailer is jumping the gun, but business analysts think the ad is necessary for the chain’s layaway program. Today.com

Meanwhile, in Walmart yesterday, I heard the announcement reminding shoppers that “our Christmas layaway is in full effect!”

Watch the video, and tell me…is 106 days too early? Does it bug you, or are you already taking advantage of the savin’s? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

It’s the Thought that Counts?

Giver: “If you don’t like it you can take it back!”
Receiver: “Great. A lame gift AND an errand!”

Once upon a Christmas, I gave someone close a copy of the LIFE magazine from the day she was born. Mind you, the special day was in 1959. I sent away to an antique publications house in New York two months in advance, and paid $40 for it.

On Christmas Day, she opened the package and… just didn’t get it. She was polite about it but I could just tell, you know?

Well, according to a study in a recent Journal of Experimental Psychology…

The adage “It’s the thought that counts” was largely debunked. Gift givers are better off choosing gifts that receivers actually desire rather than spending a lot of time and energy shopping for what they perceive to be a thoughtful gift. The study found thoughtfulness doesn’t increase a recipient’s appreciation if the gift is a desirable one. In fact, thoughtfulness only seemed to count when a friend gives a gift that is disliked. Wall Street Journal

So, we really only want what we want. They say the only sure way to satisfy someone is to force them to make a list, and then buy something on it. And this is my defense in the previous example. I went the “thoughtful” route because she was TERRIBLE about making a wish list, always has been. After that, I switched to gift cards.

Oh well… if you are thinking that this is just one more sign of what stupid selfish babies we all are, I have to say that I don’t disagree.  Read the article, and tell us what you think!

* the “errand” joke isn’t mine. I would credit it if I could remember who said it!

Holiday Shopping by the Numbers, 2012

11454642-christmas-shopping-cart-with-giftsCaution: mind-numbing statistics ahead! Discover card has released their annual Holiday Shopping Survey. The survey looks at how much we are spending, on what and for whom. It also has a list of what men and women would most like to receive. Here’s a boildown…

  • $100: each family will probably increase their shopping by this much in 2012
  • $838: the average amount spent
  • $165: how much more women will spend than men.
  • 51%: how many actually set a budget for holiday spending
  • 42%: men who plan to sell their pocket watches to buy a fancy comb for their wives
  • 53%: women who plan to sell their hair to buy chains for their husbands’ pocket watches

I was going to say I made up those last two, but it was actually O. Henry.

Who are we buying for?

  • 42% for our children
  • 26% for significant other
  • 06% for friends
  • 01% for boss or co-workers

Where are we shopping?

  • 60% some combination of store and online
  • 14% majority online
  • 96% of online shoppers use their computer, only 4% use tablet or smartphone

What affects our buying decisions?

  • 42% sales and promotions
  • 27% household financial situation
  • 13% getting or losing a job

And the most important question…

What do we want?

Men top 5:

1. Gift cards, 2. Money, 3. Consumer electronics, 4. Games/video games, 5. Apparel

Women top 5:

1. Gift cards, 2. Money, 3. Apparel, 4. Jewelry, 5. Tablet or e-reader

I always say “read the original article for more info” like I am the boss of you or something. But those Top 5’s are actually Top 10’s in the original, and I’m glad I found them!  Also, notes on gender: as a great philosopher (Sinbad) once said, “women be shoppin, y’all!” But this article really shows how women are just better at it. Finding bargains, comparison shopping… it was really interesting. Anyway, read the original article for more info! And have a great weekend!

(photo: 123rf.com)

Black Friday Thankfulness

A fun chart. Multiply by 1.55 to get Dollars

Here’s a little bit of good news for all you Holiday shoppers here in the States. Imagine reading THIS article in the UK Daily Mail that says the following:

  • An iPod Nano costs $175 in London and $135 in Boston
  • UGG boots: $269 London, $147 Boston
  • Elizabeth Arden 8-hr cream: $39 London, $18 Boston
  • Men’s Ralph Lauren pullover: $185 London, $95 Boston
  • Sesame Street Rockin’ Elmo: $130 London, $62 Boston

What would you do? Would you buy a plane ticket and do your Holiday shopping in the US of A? Due to a relatively weak Dollar, and HUGE UK taxes, thousands of Brits are doing exactly that this year!

So, as you watch the Wal-Mart credit-card swiper start to smoke and throw sparks as it adds up your purchases, take heart…it could be worse!