/*Christmas*/ shopping has unofficially begun at stores like /*Wal-Mart*/. The hope is that early markdowns will get consumers spending money now, before things get worse.
Wal-Mart reduced prices on their most popular toys; a strategy the giant retailer hopes will help push Christmas sales up.
"There is a limited amount of money available for consumers to spend so those who get in early have a better chance of getting more than those who get in late," said Eugene Muscat from USF School of Business.
A recent holiday shopping survey conducted on behalf of Wal-Mart showed how the recent economic downturn may affect the way you and I shop at Christmas.
That survey told Wal-Mart and other retail stores that consumers plan to buy less expensive items and that they will do so earlier than in previous years.
"It's really going fast, it really is," said consumer Pamela Lumford.
"Is that that money?" asked ABC7's Lyanne Melendez.
It's the money, of course. Everybody is holding on to whatever they have," said Lumford.
"Always the bargains, yes, always. That's the only way you could buy things today," said consumer Catherine Gutierrez.
Small mom and pop shops like Noe Valley's /*Smallfrys*/ will find it even harder this Christmas to compete with the big retail stores.
"Anybody who cares about their local schools, or cares about their local streets should care about trying to shop locally because that's where the tax dollars will stay," said Smallfrys owner Carol Yenne.
The National Retail Federation predicts holiday sales are expected to grow at the slowest pace in six years. Because of that, part-time jobs over the holidays will be harder to get.
Thomas Baity is with /*Manpower*/, an employment agency.
"What we are finding with the need for temps is that most of them are saying they are not going to have a large need for additional staffing, so obviously that impacts us as well," said Baity.
Less jobs will also mean less money to spend at Christmas.