Some stores packed with deals, shoppers on Thanksgiving

Ray Solomon was the first person in line at the Best Buy on Dale Mabry Highway.

"I got here Monday night and I was the only one here until yesterday," he said.

And he wasn’t alone.  Everyone who queued up early secured a spot for the special offers you can only snag in-person.  At Best Buy, it was a 50-inch television doorbuster shoppers said was worth the wait.

“This is gonna be about $400 savings, and it's a 4k, so it's the next level,” said Solomon.

Veterans and first-timers trading in a traditional Thanksgiving holiday to save big bucks.

"Everyone in my family and my friends think I’m crazy,” Fernando Cespedes said.  “They're like it's Thanksgiving, I’m like nah, I’m gonna try it out and see what happens."

Most big merchants were open by 6 p.m. Thursday.  Customers were calm and workers were organized and ready for the crowds.

"And this is like the greatest sales ever, like it's amazing,” Debbie Marciano said.  “When you have as many kids to buy for, you're working hard to try to earn a dollar, this is the best sales I’ve seen yet, so we're totally into it."

What used to be a one-day shopping bonanza is now spread across the whole weekend-- Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.  The National Retail Federation estimates 69% of Americans will hit the stores.

"We're probably going to go to Target, and then go to the mall, why not, family affair, might as well do it together,” said Melissa Gallway.  “Some cheaper deals, save some money."

Online shopping is definitely on the rise, but the National Retail Federation expects Black Friday to still be the busiest shopping day.  Many people FOX 13 News spoke with said they prefer to do their shopping in stores.