Just hours after millions of unpardoned turkeys are devoured in the United States on Thanksgiving each year, armies of shoppers head out to get a start on their annual Christmas gift list. Black Friday sales traditionally launch this national weekend shopping bonanza, which wraps up on Cyber Monday, a more recently minted tradition that's grown in popularity with the rise of online shopping.
In 2010, the National Retail Federation conducted a survey, and estimated that more than 200 million shoppers went online and to stores around the nation during the weekend after Thanksgiving, with 106 million Americans planning to make purchases online come the following Monday [sources: Grannis, Grannis].
Most of those shopping on Black Friday arrive at a civilized time, but many diehards take the tradition a step further and start the day at a gruelingly early hour. In rare cases, riots or deadly stampedes have even broken out among shoppers slavering to get a certain deal or a particular product.