It used to be that the early bird caught the great sales on Black Friday. This year that reward will be doled out to the night owls.
Instead of opening their doors at 6 a.m. (or even 5) many merchants this year are going with a midnight start time.
Plenty of people are voicing their opposition to this trend -- and plenty more are lacing up their racing shoes.
The naysayers are lamenting that the store workers don't get to spend Thanksgiving with their families. Yes, that's one of the hazards of being employed -- a problem some among us would like to have.
People who really feel strongly about the early opening can opt out, get a good night's sleep and take whatever socks are left at 10 a.m. Friday.
(We're guessing there will still be plenty of good deals left for those who value their shuteye.)
We don't think it's our business to tell people what time to shop. But we can pretty much guarantee that the only reason a merchant would consider opening in the middle of the night, literally, is because there will be customers at the ready.
And we don't make it a habit to tell stores how to run their businesses. Shoppers do a pretty good job of that.
After all, we all vote with our dollars.
Which leads to another trend that interests us -- Small Business Saturday. (It's wedged in there between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.)
This concept was started last year by American Express. The idea is to shop at local businesses on Saturday and reserve at least some of your holiday spending budget for the little guy.
It is something to consider.
According to the National Federation of Independent Business' research, small businesses said their No. 1 problem is "poor sales," followed by government regulation and taxes.
Again, we all vote with our dollars.
Many will be "casting ballots" over the weekend. Unlike the political arena, we're not going to make recommendations in this "election."
We are, however, asking that regardless of where you shop this weekend, please be on your good behavior.
If you're set on being a sleep-deprived zombie, um, shopper, try to also be a considerate one. And at the very least, be alert, as much as one can be in the wee hours of the morning.
It seems every year, we hear about some poor shopper or store employee crushed by the throng.
Even here in the normally polite Mid-Columbia, there are stories of wrangling and wrestling over limited-quantity items. There is no excuse for rudeness.
We also are concerned for your safety on the road. Sleepy drivers are nearly as dangerous as drunken ones.
All the way around, be careful, thoughtful and wise when shopping this holiday season.