The most confusing Black Friday ever - made simple by Team 10

SAN DIEGO - Shoppers are calling the 2012 holiday shopping season the most confusing one ever. Retailers are opening earlier and rolling out different deals at certain times.  Team 10 streamlined the information to help consumers make sense of the madness.

First, Black Friday is no longer just on Friday.

“We are used to it being a single day but it's really become a whole season and consumers might not know when the best time to shop is,” said Lindsay Sakraida, features editor at

Team 10 had to construct a spread sheet to keep track of the times and deals for major retailers. (See that spreadsheet here.)

Kmart has the most complicated schedule.  Kmart stores open at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving, when their “three-day sale” deals begin.  Like the name suggests, these deals are good Thursday at 6 a.m. through Saturday at 11 p.m.  Kmart stores close between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Thursday.  

When stores re-open at 8 p.m., Kmart starts a new wave of deals called “Thanksgiving night doorbusters.”  These doorbusters are good from Thursday at 8 p.m. through Friday at 3 a.m., when the stores close again. 

Kmart’s last wave of deals is its “Friday doorbusters.”  They start when the stores re-open Friday at 5 a.m. and are good through Friday at 11 a.m. 

Wal-mart and Toys R Us will also be open on Thanksgiving at 8 p.m. 

Wal-mart has three different waves of deals.  Deals aimed at families start at 8 p.m.  They include toys, video games, DVDs and household products.

At 10 p.m., Wal-mart releases deals on electronics and gadgets.  The last wave of deals will be released on Friday at 5 a.m.  Items include jewelry, tires, and more TVs.

Wal-mart stores have something unique this year – guaranteed doorbusters.  Three items are being guaranteed to customers who want to buy them as long as the customer is in the store and in line between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. 

Target opens on Thanksgiving at 9 p.m. 

Best Buy, Macy's, and Kohl's all open at midnight on Thanksgiving.

J.C. Penney opens at 4 a.m. on Friday.

Sam's Club opens at 7 a.m. on Friday.

Costco opens at 9 a.m. on Friday.

Some of Sakraida’s best bets for deals:

  • Best Buy has a doorbuster for a Toshiba 40-inch 1080p LCD HDTV for $179.99.
  • Target is offering a $60 Target gift card with any iPad purchase.
  • Sam’s Club is offering the Samsung Galaxy S III cell phone for less than a dollar ($.96) with the purchase of a qualified two-year service agreement and select data plan.

See more deals on the ads released by stores in our special Black Friday section.

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