Instead of enjoying the holiday, then going shopping, they would do it backwards.They would use Thursday to travel and rest up for the big night (don't forget to hydrate. You don't want to cramp up while racing down the aisle to electronics).
After shopping from Thursday night into early Friday, everyone would come home exhausted, sleep in Friday, and then have a big meal, giving thanks for the bounty they secured the previous evening.
Does that go against the original intent of Thanksgiving? Pretty much. But the stores wouldn't be opening if there wasn't demand, would they?
-- Howard Primer