Just days before Thanksgiving, mega-retailers Target and Wal-Mart have launched a price war over toys, and the consumer will be the winner.  Since I’m an avid bargain shopper, Black Friday may be my favorite day of the year.  Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving, traditionally marking the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.  Yes, I am one of those crazy people who will venture out at 3 a.m. in the bone-chilling cold to stand in a long line, all for a “good deal” at a mega-retailer such as Target.  After all, Black Friday is frequently referred to as the “busiest retail shopping day of the year.”

Now, only days after Halloween, the annual battle to win the dollar of toy-buying parents is already off to a fierce start, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.  Wal-Mart has long been known for being the largest discount retailer, slashing prices on everything from home goods to toys.  Minneapolis-based Target’s playful response: “Game on!”

Most recently, the new Barbie with the embedded video camera is $6 less or 13% cheaper at Wal-Mart ($39) versus Target ($45), according to the Wall Street Journal.  Target countered with Matchbox’s joke-telling Stinky the Garbage Truck at $6 below Wal-Mart, with coupon.

Keep in mind that both retailers offer a price matching guarantee (with a print ad).  Target is also offering an additional 5% savings, when consumers use a Target Visa or debit card.  Wow!  These savings can add up, for a smart shopper!

Why the battle over toys?  The answer is simple.  While parents are trying to cut back on their spending, one thing will remain the same.  Parents will always buy toys for their kids on Christmas.

But all of this price slashing and competitiveness makes me wonder how low these rivals will go…and more importantly, if they’ll “play nice.”