Reports of Black Friday's demise have been greatly exaggerated, and if you doubt that, show up at a big box retailer at 3 a.m. this Friday. But it's undeniable that the shine around shopping's biggest day has dulled a little, and that shows up in the data. Last year, 134 million people shopped during Thanksgiving weekend, down from 141 million the year before, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
This drop could be good news for consumers (lower odds of getting injured by a massive crowd?) or it could be bad news (struggling retailers more likely to pounce on consumers' wallets with tricks?). So here's a list of Black Friday "gotchas" to watch for as you get into the gift-giving mood. (We'll leave the self defense to you.