Forget Black Friday - it's Black Thursday this year as the stores open earlier. This time around it starts right after the dinner plates leave the table. NBC29 hit the stores for a preview, and for what you need to know for a safe and hassle-free shopping experience.
Stores like Toys R Us and Walmart are opening at 8:00 Thanksgiving night. Target opens at 9:00.
"We've been anticipating this all year," said Ryan Harrison, an executive team leader of logistics for the Target off of Route 29 in Albemarle County.
Many people are pumped about getting in on the sales. "We'll be there bright and early," said Black Friday shopper Susannah Fuller. "Gotta get out there."
While other people are not so excited about getting in on the deals. "I have no intention of doing Black Friday shopping. I'll be going to work instead," said Dan Mallison.
The Target in Albemarle County expects 500 to 700 people to pack the store starting on Thursday night, and there are plans in place to keep people safe there while out shopping.
"We have of course beefed up our team member coverage throughout the sales floor, we have a team outside, inside, throughout the store to make sure people are safe," Harrison said.
Albemarle County police will have a presence at that Target as well. They say there can be an increase of theft around this time of year.
"Sometimes we have a little bit of an uptick just because there's more people are out, there's a lot more items in people's cars, there's a lot more valuable merchandise that people are carrying around," said Steve Watson, a crime prevention specialist with Albemarle County police.
Police say there are simple things you should remember when shopping throughout the holiday season to stay safe.
"If you see something going on and you're suspicious about it, trust your instincts because usually you're right," Watson said.
Albemarle County police said they haven't seen any serious incidents during Back Friday in years, but they say you should still remain cautious. You should always be aware of your surroundings, report suspicious behavior, and keep your purchases in the trunk, at least out of sight.
Here are some important websites with information about how to stay safe during the holiday shopping season: