TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Millions of people across the country–and many here in Maryland–put down the leftovers and head out on the busiest shopping day of the year.

Meghan McCorkell was outside Town Town Center–which opened its doors to Black Friday crowds at midnight.

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Huge crowds came out to shop this Black Friday. Analysts predicts consumers will spend more than $12.2-billion this weekend alone.

‘Tis the season–to spend.

“It’s crazy, it’s really crowded,” said one shopper.

“That’s how I do it. I shop til I drop,” said another.

“It started to get busier, and more busier, and more busier,” one man said.

At Towson Town Center major Black Friday deals drew big crowds.

“Even if you come out here and you don’t intend to spend something, you end up buying something because the deals are spectacular,” said shopper Marilyn Shannon.

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Holiday sales are expected to increase 4% this year–a smaller rise than last year’s 5.6%.

At the Pandora store in Towson, this time of year is vital.

“It’s essentially about a third of our business for the entire year, so November and December are extremely important,” said Pandora employee Angela Schultz.

Some Walmart workers nationwide used this critical period to walk off the job. In Laurel, they picketed poor working conditions.

“They don’t care. All they care about is getting their work done,” said Walmart employee Tyrone Jackson.

“Walmart associates are getting paid lousy wages… Really bad working conditions, scheduling issues,” said Sarita Gupta, Jobs with Justice.

A Walmart spokesman calls walkout a union publicity stunt. In a statement to WJZ, Walmart says:

“Only 26 protests occurred at stores last night and many of them did not include any Walmart associates.”

They say the protests did not hurt their Black Friday sales–which are really essential. Some retailers could make as much as 10% of their holiday profits this week alone.

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147-million people are expected to hit the stores this weekend.