Getty Images/Justin Sullivan
With an unknown number of retailers teetering on the edge of going out of business, a gift card would be an unwise investment.
It's the day shoppers and sellers look forward to all year long.
This year, however, Black Friday may extend into Saturday, Sunday, and possibly all the way through Christmas. Retailers are already offering bargains, and those deals are expected to get even better in the coming weeks.
One professional personal shopper said she's never seen anything like it.
"It's the best time and it's going to get even better. Even some of my clients, I'm telling them hold on, hold on, it's going to get even better. Wait, wait, wait," said Monica Olsen.
Michael Shames with the consumer group UCAN agreed.
"This shopping season is unlike any that we've seen in decades," said Shames. "You're seeing deals and inventory dumping that you never would've seen in the past."
Part of the reason, says Shames, is retailers like Circuit City and Mervyn's are going out of business, and several others may be close. He says those stores have kicked off a chain of early bargains with their going out of business sales.
Shames said deals on items like electronics will get better closer to Christmas, and possibly even after the holiday. He said the only real advantage to shopping earlier this year would be because there is more selection.
His warning is to stay away from gift cards. With an unknown number of retailers teetering on the edge of going out of business, a gift card would be an unwise investment.
"If you buy a gift certificate, and that company closes, you've essentially given a loan to the company and you don't get any delivery. You don't get that money back," said Shames.