Tis the season for shopping.
With the barrage of deals on TV commercials and in newspaper advertisements hitting us this holiday season, there are probably a couple deals you don't want to pass up.
Maybe you want to pick up a new toaster for Aunt Bertha for only $5 if you get to the store at 4 am on Black Friday. Or a new Razor scooter for your daredevil nephew that's only available on Thanksgiving Day, when you plan to be tending to a turkey and all the fixings.
Well, it's not a problem. Online classified sites like Craigslist have plenty of people who are willing to do the job for you -- for a fee, usually about 10 percent of the retail price.
One person in Western Massachusetts offers to sit in line, purchase your product and deliver it to your door.
"Why sit in the cold? I'll do it for you," the ad reads. "I take 10% of the cost of what I buy for you also in advance. So that 60" TV you want for 300 bucks, you pay me 30, and I deliver it to your door with your receipt in hand. Just that easy."
Customers are expected to pay for items in advance plus the cost of the service. In exchange, the provider keeps the customer apprised of progress. If the item is not purchased as expected, the money is returned.
In Chicago, one company is willing to stay in line for up to 25 hours for you to ensure you get the product you want. They are even willing to send you text message updates. You can either take the place of the line-sitter or have them complete the purchase; contracts are signed and paid for ahead of time.
A Seattle shopper charges $15 per hour plus 50 cents per mile to take care of your Black Friday needs.
If you are the kind of person who likes the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping but need a babysitter so you don't have to take the kids along at 4 am, that's available, too.
In Lincoln, NE, an all-night day care service advertises taking care of the little one from Thursday night until Friday around lunchtime.
Most of the services are offered by individuals (although a few are businesses), so it's always a good idea to check references before handing over a pile of cash. But most of the providers note experience and offer references.
For the crowded-shopping-averse, hiring a Black Friday shopper is one way to keep the season jolly. But Black Friday shopping isn't for everyone. There's still another 26 shopping days until Christmas.