Let's face it, camping outside of stores for days at a time isn't really practical. It might be fun to do once or twice in your life, but you have too much shopping and cooking to do to wait in lines.
Plus, even if a store is advertising an incredible deal on TVs that you'll only get on Black Friday, there are other great deals to be had. (Note: Check out the exclusive Komando.com guide to Black Friday Deals 2015 before you head out.)
And, consult Google. This year, you can be one of the smartest shoppers around, if you don't mind Google using some of your Google Maps data from last year.
It's using last year's holiday shopping trends to predict when and where you'll run into the lines. Google is using anonymous, opt-in data. Meaning, it's tracking your Maps usage only if you say it's OK.
Google's predictions are fascinating. Notably, when do you think department stores will be busiest this holiday weekend? If you're thinking Black Friday, you're wrong. (See photo next page.)
Thanksgiving Day, right at dinner time between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., will be when department stores are the most crowded. (Avoiding a crush of shoppers: Another reason to stay in, enjoy time with your family, and shop online.)
Of course, there will be plenty of shoppers out on Black Friday, too. If you want to avoid the peak shopping hours, you may want to steer clear of the mall between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Friday. (See photo below.)
Google is also starting to share more information with stores, to better predict shopping trends. Those include correlations between the search terms you use to search for products online with the products you end up buying in stores.
What do you think of Google's Black Friday predictions? Let us know in comments.