By Mike Hellgren

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—It’s Thanksgiving, and your bellies are probably full or getting there. So what’s next? Head to the stores for Black Friday, or in some case, Black Thursday, shopping.

Mike Hellgren did just that, speaking to shoppers who lined up early.

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Kenneth Warren camped out Wednesday night at a Best Buy in Baltimore County. He’ll have Thanksgiving dinner there with some new friends.

Hellgren:  “What was it like being out here overnight?”

Warren:  “Cold. Very cold. Very, very cold.”

The sales are starting earlier. The average shopper plans to spend more than $700 on gifts.

“They have a plasma TV on sale for $178, so  I wanted to make sure I was one of the first ones in line so I’d be able to get it,” said Debbie White-London, shopper. “Early bird catches the worm right?”

While a lot of people are in line across the country at these brick-and-mortar stores across the county, the real growth for shopping will be online.

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It’s expected to rise 12 percent.

For some, though, there’s nothing like being front and center in the action.

“You meet new people.  You have a good time. You’re saving a dollar.  The economy is just getting back on its feet, and if you can save a dollar here and there, why not?” said Corey Tolver, shopper.

Some shoppers may get a side of controversy. At Wal-mart, protests are planned. One took place earlier this week in Maryland. Employees are demanding better wages and health care.

“They want us to be silent because in being silent then they don’t have to hear what changes need to be made in the store,” said Cynthia Murray, Wal-mart worker.

It can all be a feast of the unexpected, and that’s how some shoppers like it served.

“It’s like more of a tradition for me. I’ve been coming out here for the past couple of years so I just do it,” said James Williams, shopper. “Leftovers always taste better anyway.”

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Maryland’s comptroller has led a push for online retailers to charge sales tax. Many don’t. He says it costs the state $200 million a year.