Welcome to Black Friday

Black Black Black

I'll make it simple: the only way I am going to get an article done up tomorrow is to write about the thing that's currently distracting me. Today was Thanksgiving. Tomorrow is Black Friday. And I want to shop.

Ergo, I am cruising around all of my favourite online sites looking for deals from my sofa in Toronto. Ah, Toronto. Therein lies the problem.

I'm contemplating driving two hours across the border to the Niagara Falls outlets to get 40% off my entire purchase (!!) at Off Fifth tomorrow. But really, I should take my 3.5 year old to 'school' in the morning, and what about my 18-month-old's afternoon nap? Plus my practical husband has wisely speculated that Canadian immigration officials will probably be searching more cars than normal tomorrow. But really, if your stuff is almost free, who cares if you have to pay duty on it?

Black Friday has been around for all my shopping life, and I have some great memories of jam-packed malls and very excellent deals. The term was first used by the police in Philadelphia, after the city was repeatedly disrupted by the increase in people walking and driving downtown on the day after Thanksgiving. In the mid-'70s, the term started to make its way outside of Philly.

The other theory of origin is that because Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season, it's the day retailers - who make a loss 11 months of the year - go "in the black".

But in the last 10 years, things have gone a little crazy. Stores used to open at 6am, then it became 4am. This year, a number of stores will open at midnight, including Best Buy, Macy's, Bealls, Target and Kohls. And if that's not enough, this year a few stores started on Thanksgiving - Toys R Us at 9pm, Walmart at 10pm, and hell, Sears just stayed open all day.

I'm kind of jealous because I'm not in the US and can't throw myself into the fracas. But I know if I could, I'd run the other way - all the way back to my computer, where I'd no doubt start shopping online.