One Florida woman is hoping that the earliest bird gets the worm -- or a flat screen TV as the case may be.
Christine Orta of Tampa is ready to take advantage of big Black Friday deals at her local Best Buy. She's so ready, in fact, that she started camping out in a tent in front of the store on Wednesday, a full nine days before the deals will be offered, NBC affiliate Tampa Bay Online reports (h/t The Consumerist).
But Orta's not alone in her quest for discounts, she's camping with three other families who plan to share resources while awaiting the biggest shopping day of the year.
"You can't beat some of the deals they have on plasmas, flat screens and laptops," Orta told Tampa Bay Online. "We're all students; you've got to pinch a penny."
Retailers and shoppers are gearing up for what's expected to be one of the highest volume Black Fridays of recent years. Experts expected holiday spending to be down this year, so retailers are going to various lengths in hopes of getting shoppers in the door. This year, 10.1 percent more people say they plan to shop on Black Friday, according to a recent poll.
To respond to the expected demand, big retailers like Target, Macy's and Best Buy plan to open midnight on the day. Others plan to open even earlier: Toys 'R Us is slated to open its doors at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and Walmart opening up at 10 p.m.
As Orta points out, deals are expected to be widespread, but retailers are pulling out all the stops to get consumers to buy tech items like flat screen TVs, laptops and other gadgets. Competition will subsequently be fierce between TV retailers, which in part explains Best Buy's midnight opening.
But some are protesting the extended hours. Employees at Target and Best Buy started online petitions earlier this month in an effort to convince the retailers not to open up at midnight so that workers won't have to come in on Thanksgiving Day.
Officials at some retail outlets have also turned away from the trend. Nordstrom, for example, has posted signs reading "One holiday at a time" in its stores, a subtle nod to its choice to open at usual times on Black Friday, MSNBC reports.
In fact, past experience indicates consumers may prefer not to shop on Thanksgiving Day. Sears stayed open during the holiday last year, but has elected not to do so this year.
"The customers liked the deals," Sears spokesman Tom Aiello told MSNBC. "But they didn't like the idea of Thanksgiving shorted as a holiday."
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