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For E-Commerce Shoppers, There Is a Santa Claus

For E-Commerce Shoppers, There Is a Santa Claus
Photograph by Carolyn Cochrane/Getty Images, Illustration by businessweek.com

The holiday shopping season officially kicks off this week with the frenzy of profligacy known ominously around much of the world as Black Friday.

There will be two vastly different common experiences among those who indulge in this annual rite. Customers of traditional stores will encounter crowded aisles, long lines, limited parking, and overworked employees as they jostle to grab the hottest holiday gifts. For some, the chaos will be energizing. Others will return home slightly traumatized, credit limits dinged by bulging bags.