The annual retail version of the Super Bowl is today. And odds are you’ll be impacted by the frenzy.

Black Friday gets its name from the massive role Christmas gift giving has in the American retail economy. Since coming into common use in the 1980s, it’s often said the Friday after Thanksgiving represented the point in the year when retailers begin to turn a profit. In bookkeeping jargon that means going from “in the red” to being “in the black” or profitable.

Whatever the details, the focus on Black Friday has exponentially grown with massive sales, early hours and any number of promotions aimed at wooing shoppers.

With all that in mind, here are a few things to consider when you experience shopping today.

An important thing to remember this holiday is local stores pay local taxes, support other local businesses and hire local people.

While you are out, notice the local shopping venues with vacancies. Did you shop at those stores, last Christmas or the season before? Do you miss the chance to visit Sears or Kmart or wish you could walk around H.H. Gregg or thumb through some books at Lifeway?

As consumers, we are the best guarantee of a store’s success. Retail is a struggle these days and national businesses are fickle friends who have no reason to be here other than profit.

Local entrepreneurs often face even larger challenges as they compete for your loyalty amid the giants. These store owners will be excited to see you.

Drive carefully. Black Friday means a lot of extra vehicles in the most congested and well-traveled portions of the community. Be on the lookout for a distracted driver and take precautions both on the streets and in the parking lots where a fender bender can spoil your outing.

Also, be alert for Grin­ches looking to snatch your packages or make off with your money. Thieves often like crowds and the hectic pace that causes you to leave a purse unattended in the shopping cart or packages stacked in plain view in your vehicle. Police encourage you to be alert to suspicious activity.

But most of all, shoppers should be kind. After all, that’s the perfect holiday gift. There’s no need to push or shove. The reason for the season is not greed. Also, be mindful store clerks and cashiers deserve respect and most likely their feet hurt and their head aches with the tension of the day.

And to the stores, their managers and staff, value each customer.

There’s nothing that drives a consumer to online offers faster than a poor shopping experience. Show respect and remember that keep your priorities in order. Customers were not created to provide jobs. Quite the opp­osite. Jobs depend on customer satisfaction.

Customer service is more than grunting and pointing when someone has a question. Being helpful and going the extra mile is not forgotten by customers. It begins with being attentive and polite. Try smiling, even when you don’t feel like it and especially when the customer doesn’t deserve it.

Remember,Christmas is a season of giving. If we can all just give a little extra patience on these busy shopping days, we’ll be just fine.

This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.

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