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5 Ways Black Friday Holiday Shopping Has Already Begun

2. The sales are starting: Are you going to hold off until Black Friday to buy an Elmo doll, a TV or a pair of Uggs? Good, more deals for the rest of us.

The folks at consumer price research firm Decide.Inc did some digging for The Wall Street Journal at retailers such as Amazon, Wal-Mart, Macy's (M) and Toys R Us and found that September and October -- and not a certain tryptophan-hangover day in late November -- are the best time to buy certain items. A pair of Classic Cardy Uggs listed for $160 and selling for and average $135 on Black Friday sells for an average $85 in early fall. A Samsung 46-inch LCD TV that sells for $1,355 on Black Friday averages $1,159 in October.

That Elmo doll? Yeah, prepare to pay 31% more for it on Black Friday than you would right now. A KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer drops 20% off its price on Black Friday, but most other items aren't worth the wait.

3. The rich are getting richer: Every day is Black Friday when money's no object, which is why Neiman Marcus puts out its Christmas Book at the beginning of October.

Want a wooden tailgate trailer with a flatscreen TV, Blu-ray player, state-of-the-art sound system, leather furniture, wood finishings made from bourbon barrels and a year's supply of Bulliet bourbon and rye to stock it with? That'll be $150,000. Want a pair of his-and-hers Van Cleef & Arpels "Poetic Wish" watches with art of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame on their faces, diamonds ringing their crystal, 18-karat white gold and handmade mother-of-pearl inlaid wood cabinets to take them home in? That'll be $1.1 million, but at least it includes a trip to Paris and Geneva and business-class airfare.

Maybe you're just looking for a stocking stuffer. How about a walk-on role in Annie: The Musical on Broadway and tickets for six of your friends? At $30,000, it's the Neiman's equivalent of a pair of socks or a stale candy cane.

4. The secrets are slipping: We don't know what it is about this time of year that makes marketing departments so loose-lipped. Maybe it's a few too many pumpkin ales at Halloween parties or the warm comfort of the year's first cup of hot cider, but retailers' Black Holiday sale ads aren't left to the imagination for very long.

While none of the big box or department stores have slipped yet, Sprint (S) let it slip that the $200 Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone will be on sale for $49 at its stores on Black Friday. Oops!

5. The gamers are giggling: After years of upgrades and bupkus, video game lovers finally got a reason to be excited. Nintendo's Wii U is hitting the market and giving the video game world its first new console in nearly a half-decade. Nintendo announced that the console's hitting stores five days before Black Friday, on Nov. 18, and will come in a 8-gigabyte $299 version and a 32-gigabyte $349 model.

Reviews have been mixed thus far, but the original Wii was one of the best selling consoles of all time. Also, since you can't really find Mario, Link, Samus, Kirby, Pokemon, kart games or of Nintendo's other intellectual property anywhere else, there's already a built-in audience. For the first time in a long time, there's a new big toy angling for space beneath the tree.

-- Written by Jason Notte in Boston.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

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Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Esquire.com, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, the Boston Phoenix, the Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent. He previously served as the political and global affairs editor for Metro U.S., layout editor for Boston Now, assistant news editor for the Herald News of West Paterson, N.J., editor of Go Out! Magazine in Hoboken, N.J., and copy editor and lifestyle editor at the Jersey Journal in Jersey City, N.J.
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