TAMPA BAY - Black Friday now starts on Thursday. Several stores, including K-Mart and Sears, opened their doors at 7:00 pm or 8:00 pm on Thanksgiving tonight, and hundreds were lined up to find a great deal.
But a majority of major retailers open at midnight, and customers camped in tents for as long as six days to get a prime spot. At the Best Buy on Dale Mabry in Tampa, shoppers had tents rigged up with sleeping bags, video games, movies, and enough food to last for several days.
"The tablet that I want is $179, it's the Samsung Galaxy II, and the TV is the 40-inch for $179," said Melissa Fitzwater, one of the first in line.
Fitzwater says her family has waited outside the Best Buy every Black Friday for the last 10 years.
She said it's about the deals, but it's also about the group of friends she's made. She says the same group of people wait at the Best Buy every year, and she's gotten to know them and their families, even though they only see each other once a year.
"It's so much fun," she said.
Fitzwater's 5-year old son Caleb told us his birthday is Black Friday. Melissa Fitzwater says she was in labor when she was waiting in line 6 years ago.
"We went to the hospital, we delivered the baby, then my husband came back and he was able to go and get the stuff that he wanted," Fitzwater said.
For this family, waiting for a great deal on Thanksgiving night is their tradition. They say they'll still do the turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing- after they shop at midnight.