Thousands of shoppers were out before sunrise. Many were desperate for a good deal in this tough economy. All things indicate that people are spending, if the price is right.
The battle for bargains started early. At 5 a.m. at Walmart in Oakland shoppers raced in by the hundreds.
"It was crazy it was real crazy. They were pushing and shoving and running around," recalled Trina Newsome.
Many shoppers camped outside all night for a chance to be one of the first inside.
"They were trying to knock my babies over. Just pushing. People don't have manners," said Christina Thomas, describing the scene.
The deals seemed to be driving the crowds.
Walmart reports stores in Antioch, Richmond and Oakland had two times more shoppers waiting when doors opened at 5 a.m. than Black Friday last year.
"They are definitely here this morning to take advantage of those great prices," said Walmart spokesperson Amelia Neufeld.
Retailers say it's still too early to predict how the holiday shopping season will play out. But, shoppers say with this down economy, they are on the hunt for deals more than ever"
Some shoppers said they held off spending until Black Friday.
"They have TV's for $400 dollars. You can't beat that," said Alicia Flood.
Those televisions were the hot ticket item at Walmart. In just seconds shoppers swarmed the electronics department. 50-inch HDTV flatscreens sold for $598 and 42-inch LCDs sold for $498.
Shopper Raynetta Lewis got to the store early for those deals.
"A 50-inch flat screen and a 42-inch flat screen… Wonderful deal. It was worth it to be out here at 1 o'clock in the morning," she said.
Deals like that on TV's were over early, an early reward for excited but sleepy shoppers.