It's almost that time again, when shoppers oil their carts and set their alarm clocks early for what seem to be the best deals of the year.
"I get up pretty early," says St. Johns resident Lisa Marier. "If it's a really good deal, maybe 5 a.m.; 4 or 5."
These shoppers are looking for record-low prices. But those exact item prices are usually kept secret until Thanksgiving Day, when they arrive en masse on the driveway in the morning paper.
"A lot of times we won't know the prices until right up until that week," says Chris Wilson, the Lake Lansing Meijer store director. "I'm sure every company has some sort of confidentiality policy. We're no different."
Wilson says price secrecy is all about the competition.
"Obviously we want to keep all that information as close to the vest as we can so the competition doesn't get a jump on us."
But this Black Friday may especially be a bargain hunter's paradise. Ads from stores like Wal-Mart, Best Buy and K-Mart have been leaked onto the Web and are available on sites (See our Featured Links Section). They're projecting plasma TVs, digital cameras and Sony Playstations to be among this year's best deals.
The stores aren't happy, but customers are. Meijer's information hasn't been leaked, but Wilson still worries.
"With 178 stores in the company, there's a lot of potential of information getting out, so I think they send that information to us last minute."
So in two weeks, when customers show up before the sun has risen, they may have known for weeks what surprises the stores have up their sleeves.