Fewer Valley shoppers are showing up this year

FRESNO, California

At the front of the line for Black Friday at Bet Buy, Nicholas Estrada has invested almost 48 hours to kick off his holiday season with a new TV and some other electronics.

"I figured if I wanted to get what I wanted this year, I had to be first in line so that's what happened," Estrada said.

Estrada bypassed the traditional Thanksgiving meal with his family for this marathon of sitting and shopping, but he's not alone for the holiday.

"I have some family, some friends, but everybody has to work," he said. "I mean, we're still in hard times so everyone has a job they have to keep so they have to work."

Work is on the Thanksgiving agenda for employees at retailers like Old Navy and Walmart, where door buster deals are staggered through Thursday and Friday.

Fresno State marketing professor Bill Rice says businesses are jockeying for position when it comes to holiday dollars, so the shopping season is now encroaching on the actual holiday.

"These people are constantly thinking about, 'How do I get inside their head, the first person inside their head, the first person to come along and say we're going to grab hold of your attention. We're going to grab hold I your perception of value,' and they're moving it up. They're moving it up," Rice said.

So far, the earlier than ever Black Thursday deals haven't totally captured the minds of Central Valley consumers. An Action News poll conducted by SurveyUSA shows only 16% of Valley residents planned to do any shopping on Thanksgiving.

But for folks like Javier Chavez, who lined up for Thursday door busters at the Clovis Kmart, waiting in line for a deal is a better option than sitting at home alone.

"I've been away from home for Thanksgiving, for holidays, so it's like another day," he said.

Best Buy won't bring in its employees until just before midnight, but Walmart has many of them working all day. Action News talked to a couple who were disgruntled, but too desperate for work to join a national walkout.

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