Has Black Friday gone too far?

Black Friday shopping deals start a day early at some stores.

The battle for holiday shoppers is on with several stores kicking off Black Friday bargains earlier than ever before.

Toys R Us, Kmart, Sears and Walmart, will open their doors for bargain hunters at 8 p.m. on Thursday. But have retailers gone too far?

Shannon Foster said she loves Black Friday. She's thrilled stores like Walmart are giving shoppers an even bigger head start.

"It's the rush to see if I'm first in line to get what item I want to get and then be off," Foster said.

Linda Miller has an entirely different take on the shopping frenzy.

"I am not a Black Friday gal. I'm an online shopper," Miller said. "The hustle and bustle, it's too much stress and it's dangerous."

Things have changed dramatically over the years. In fact, yes Virginia, there was a time when Black Friday was known simply as "the day after Thanksgiving," when stores didn't open early and when there were no major sales until the day after Christmas.

So how did we get to this point? Make no mistake, retailers have always looked for ways to attract more shoppers.

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade actually began in 1924 as part of an advertising campaign. At the time, there was an unwritten rule among retailers that holiday ads wouldn't begin until the parade was over.

Then, in 1939, with retailers still hurting from the Great Depression, they convinced President Franklin D. Roosevelt to move Thanksgiving from the last Thursday in November to the second Thursday to lengthen the season.

Given the controversy that followed, Thanksgiving was moved two years later to the fourth Thursday in November.

As for Black Friday, it was supposedly first coined in the mid-1960s, not by Wall Street, but by Philadelphia police officers who loathed the traffic jams and mobs of shoppers.

It didn't catch on for a few decades, though. Now, most people associate it with the profits retailers make during the holidays - "being in the black" as opposed to "being in the red."

No matter what you call the day after Thanksgiving, it is widely accepted as the busiest shopping day of the year, but not the most profitable. Retailers say that designation typically belongs to the Saturday before Christmas.