TAMPA (FOX 13) - Stores are stocking their shelves for Black Friday. The annual spending spree has grown from one day to almost an entire week.
But, as we're seeing this year, it has fewer people camping out for the big deals. By Wednesday evening, there were just two tents outside Best Buy on North Dale Mabry Highway. In years past, you could count on a long line of tents, filled with door-busting deal enthusiasts.
Jason Tutt spent 13 years with his tent pitched outside Best Buy. "This year, I said you know what, I think it's going to be better for me to spend time with my family, get some of the online deals, because the deals some of the places have right now, they're just not that big to camp out for," Tutt said.
According to FOX 13 Consumer Reporter Chris Chmura, though the draw of Black Friday deals will never change, the mad rush to be first, might. That's because sales have already started.
"That's where it's going," Chmura said. "Earlier, earlier, earlier. By the time Black Friday rolls around, we're done."
"You don't have to camp out to get a pretty good deal on a TV on Black Friday," Chmura said. "You have to camp out to get a fantastic deal on Black Friday."
According to the National Retail Federation, shoppers are expected to spend $630.5 billion dollars this holiday season, with $105 billion spent online. But, with early sales, 57% started their shopping before Black Friday.
"We've kind of done some of the specials early," said Jim Murphy of Best Buy. "It allows people to take advantage of those great sales before and not necessarily have to wait in line so we can stretch out our crowds more."
And, no need to camp out at Wal-Mart. You just have to show up in the first hour to get the big deals.
"We are going to have an HP notebook, a 15.6 inch display with a touch screen for $249," said Aaron Powell of Walmart. "This is a one-hour guarantee item. If we don't have enough quantity and you're still here within the first hour, you get it guaranteed before Christmas."
As for, Tutt, a retired Black Friday warrior, "It was definitely worth it then," Tutt said. "But now, not so much."
This year's strategy revolves more around a turkey than a TV.
"Food, lots of food," Tutt laughed.