Stores are dangling deals to attract customers while trying to improve safety during the shopping madness.
The big box retailers are taking active measures to make sure shoppers are safe and retailers are also offering great deals in hopes of luring people into their stores.
Shoppers were bundled up and sacked out outside a Best Buy electronics store near Sacramento Wednesday. The Black Friday sale of low-priced laptop computers and electronics does not begin until 5:00 Friday morning.
But, when you are first in line, you do not worry so much about the seller running out. And, stores are doing everything they can to lure shoppers in this year because they keep hearing consumers will be spending less, even though the falls sales evidence suggests otherwise.
Tod Marks with Consumer Reports says, "No matter how bad the economy is, even though people tell us they're going to be cutting back, they're still going to be spending."
The places that do get big crowds this weekend will be taking extra care to make sure there is no repeat of a Thanksgiving weekend incident last year in which a crowd trying to get into a Long Island Walmart stampeded, killing a security guard.
This year, Walmart will open at 6 a.m. Thanksgiving Day to give shoppers less of a reason to line up on Friday. Target will spread hot items to different parts of the store and provide maps to find them. Shoppers can expect even more measures to make the experience smoother and safer.
"The conversations start early. They happen often," said Joe LaRocca with the National Retail Federation. "Retailers prepare by making sure the store is staffed properly, the signage is right, the items are in place."
Some retail analysts say a price war is likely between perennial sales champ Walmart and brick-and-mortar challengers including Target and Sears, and in cyberspace, Amazon.com.
Lee Eisenberg, author of the book "Shoptimism" says, "This news about the price war in the end is very good for customers who are living pay check to paycheck, or in fact have no paycheck."
134 million Americans are expected to shop this Thanksgiving weekend. If you are one of them and do not know where to start, ABC7 can help.