Back in the day, a shopper had to suffer for a Black Friday deal. This year, you'll simply take your after Thanksgiving dinner coffee in a to-go cup to Wal-Mart or Sears, which will open at 8 p.m. More civilized than last year's midnight openings, or crazier than ever? Depends on your appetite for promotional shopping. We knew retailers would have to cook up some way to trump last year's long hours. This year, the festivities will take on a theme park vibe with waves of promotions staggered throughout the night. Step up for the 8 p.m. show if you like coffee makers and blenders! Electronics star at 10 p.m.! Make no mistake: this is all about giving shoppers reason to be in the store all night long rather civic pressure to avoid the stampedes of the olden days, way back when Black Friday didn't start until 5 a.m. Kohl's announced its early bird Black Friday specials will be available online the day before Thanksgiving this year. You don't have to wonder what will take the place of the relentless political ads on TV. This is just the start of the retail games. May the least annoying holiday jingle win. Before you start plotting your shopping strategy (i.e. escape from the in-laws), be sure to read this eye opening Wall Street Journal report, The Myth of the Black Friday Deal. It's all about the research, shoppers.