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5 Ways It's Already Black Friday

PORTLAND, Ore. ( TheStreet) -- It's almost amusing that consumers think holiday shopping and the retail calendar have anything to do with the actual calendar or when shoppers think they're ready to buy gifts.

Because that's exactly what retailers want to do when the economy's sputtering and sales are slow: Wait for you to come around.

Home and garden stores and department stores will always put out Christmas decorations in September because the lawn furniture, grill sets and air conditioners just have to go. Costco (COST), Wal-Mart's (WMT) Sam's Club and BJ's Wholesale Club (BJ) will routinely put out reindeer lawn ornaments and bulk packs of wrapping paper in late August because they know you're there to shop roughly that far ahead anyway.

Even Target (TGT) is going to start throwing around the words Black Friday in July just to remind summer shoppers that they're closer to this Christmas than to Christmas 2012. Other stores have given a reason to exist this early in the year by releasing their toy catalogs in early October. If last year's lineup of sales circular releases is any indication, at least one major discount store or department store will join the fray before November.

Sure, that place that used to be a Borders still has racks of Trashy Librarian and CGI Hero From That Summer Movie costumes lining its walls. Yes, your grocery store has basically built a gantlet out of chocolate and sugar that you'll have to pass through several times in the next few weeks, with the occasional Snickers or pack of Skittles making their way into your cart as collateral damage. You may even be under the impression that anybody in the retail world cares in the slightest about your plans for Thanksgiving -- known to them as Black Friday Eve.

A full 22% of shoppers told market research firm NPD Group last year that they planned to start shopping Thanksgiving night. Knowing that, are you still so surprised by holiday shopping creep? If so, here are five more reasons Black Friday is already on the minds of folks on both sides of the register:

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