Long lines, massive crowds, and parking at least a mile away are all part of the “joy” of the upcoming shopping extravaganza. “Black Friday” is known as the biggest and most stressful shopping day of the year, as it truly kicks off the holiday season.

The much-anticipated day falls on Nov. 24, the day after Thanksgiving. Hundreds of stores will fling open their doors before the sun has even risen to provide “door-buster” discount sales on a majority of their items.

Although Black Friday is perceived as the busiest shopping day, it happens to be a myth. “It’s one of the busiest days in terms of traffic but not in sales,” said Pam Rucker, spokeswoman of the National Retail Federation. In sales, Black Friday actually ranks the fifth busiest shopping day, falling behind the two weekends before Christmas. The busiest day is usually the Saturday before Christmas Day, Dec. 23 this year.

Sales statistics aside, people still love shopping on Black Friday. This year, stores such as J.C. Penny will hold early-bird special sales starting at 5 a.m. and promptly ending at noon. According to their Web site, discounts will be on clothing and apparel, electronics, health and beauty, home and garden, kitchen and housewares and more. Circuit City is another store that has disclosed information about holding a somewhat larger sale. Automotive products, digital cameras, computers and digital media cards are among the items that will be discounted and presented to the hungry shoppers.

Local malls like the King of Prussia Mall, will be packed from early in the morning until close at 9:30 p.m. Exton Square Mall, is also holding a “shop early” event for the money-dropping customers. All of the stores in the mall will open at 6 a.m. and a raffle will be held with the winner getting a $500 mall gift card for every month for an entire year. As well as a TMX Elmo, rated the “hottest toy of the season,” and family and individual memberships to the Chester County Art Association. According to the Exton Mall Web site, the mall will also offer free refreshments compliments of McDonalds and Chick-Fil-A in the morning.

“I don’t mind the crowds or stress on Black Friday. I love shopping on this day, it’s tradition and part of the holiday season!” says Laura Kurtis, West Chester senior and an anticipated shopper.

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