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Pittman: A Black Friday survival guide

Big Lots: 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Kmart (Covington): 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.,
8 p.m. to 3 a.m. Friday
Old Navy: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Starbucks: 7 a.m. to  6 p.m.
Target: 9 p.m. Thursday to
11 p.m. Friday
Toys“R”Us: 9 p.m.
Walmart: 24 Hours
The Pointe Bar: 6 p.m. to close;
Six Ways to Sunday Bar: 2 p.m. to
3 a.m.

Atlanta Cutlery/Museum Replicas:
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Bass Pro Shops: 6 a.m.
Best Buy: midnight to 10 p.m.
Belks: midnight to 10 p.m.
Big Lots: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Burlington: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
CVS Pharmacy: 6 a.m.
GameStop: midnight

Hobby Lobby: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Home Depot: 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Kmart (Covington): 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Kohl’s: midnight to midnight
Lowe’s: 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Office Depot: 6 a.m.
Old Navy: midnight to 11 p.m.
Radio Shack: 5:30 a.m.
Rite Aid: 7 a.m.
Ross: 5 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Starbucks: 11:30 p.m. Thursday to midnight Saturday
Stonecrest Mall: midnight to 10 p.m.
Target: 9 p.m. Thursday to
11 p.m.  Friday
TJ Maxx: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Walmart: 8 p.m.
Celtic Tavern: 11:30 a.m. to
12:30 p.m.
The Pointe Bar: 3 p.m. to close
Whistle Post Tavern Bar: 8:30 a.m. Friday for Post-Thanksgiving Celebration until 2 a.m. Saturday


POLL: Our online poll question this week is "Do you think businesses should hold off starting Black Friday until after Thanksgiving?"

To vote or see the results so far, click here.

I typically don’t subject myself to the Black Friday insanity. I used to go occasionally with my mother and sister, but I stopped when every trip ended with at least one of us in tears over something totally insignificant, like where to have breakfast. But I want to help you, dear readers, to avoid the madness associated with Black Friday. So while my tips may sound silly to your pre-Thanksgiving ears, don’t say I didn’t tell you so when you’re weeping in the parking lot of Target at 3 a.m.

Although it would be magnificent if I meant alcohol, I, in no way, condone drinking and driving. Also, I think many people actually are a little lit while shopping, which leads to awkward things like fights over the last Fur Real Friend puppy or Barbie Dream House. But the drinking I mean is caffeine. You start off all excited with your second wind, but about an hour later, you are dying, leaning against a shopping cart full of overpriced crap with “lowered” sales tags on it to trick you into thinking you’ve saved $3, while standing in a line that stretches the length of the entire store. Coffee, Mountain Dew, anything you can think of.

Take the ad, but read it first.
The taking the ad part without reading it first is what holds up lines and also makes people act crazy. You glance at the ad and think that Black Ops 2 is on sale for $40; you snatch it up and feel triumphant! You get to the register and it's actually only on sale for $40 if you buy three other video games at regular price. If you READ the ad first, you can avoid the embarrassment.

Be comfortable
You are about to stand outside in the cold, rush around inside a store that is going to be blazing hot because the employees hate you and your shopping insanity and want to make you pay. You're going to be leaning and crouching and reaching and doing general gymnastics to get what you want before someone else. And you are going to be standing. A lot. Do not come out in your “Pretty Woman” thigh high boots, in skintight jeans or jeggings, with your hair did and so much makeup on I can smell your face. You need to learn to shop like the regular folks do.

Leave your babies at home
I cannot stress this enough, people. If you do not have a husband, a mother, a sitter — someone who loves you or will at least take your money in order to watch your precious angel baby, then stay your behind at home. I have a kid and he’s not always great. But if I took him out in his pajamas and coat at 9 p.m., and kept him with me while I went from store to store all night and into the early hours of the next day, he would be a demon straight from the pits of hell. ’Cause he’s a kid, and he’s tired and he doesn’t want to sleep in the front of a shopping cart. Neither does your kid. I promise.

Be nice!
I know this is a hard rule. You’re tired. You don’t want to wait in those stupid long lines; people will inevitably do things like bring screaming kids and act like boneheads, but just be nice. As many people as are out who will be jerks, there are plenty who are just out trying to find a deal and they’re not wanting to fight you over Barbies and flat screen, plasma TVs. Is it hard? Of course it is. Do I often call people names in my head or maybe punch them in the throat — also in my head? Of course. But keep your words sweet. And if they mess with you, just “accidentally” trip them. If they’re wearing those ridiculous heels, it shouldn’t be hard.

Amber Pittman is a reporter with The News. She can be reached at