There are six tents on the sidewalk outside the Best Buy at Gulfgate in southeast Houston. Folks are napping or chatting in the warm sun, there’s not a whole lot else you can do once you’ve decided to spend anywhere from three to seven days waiting to buy a TV.
Barry Ward was the first in line. He set up camp last Friday at 6 pm.
“Well you know I’ve been saving all year for this and they’re going to have some great bargains.”
Johnson: “What are you trying to get?”
“Well some TVs, or a tablet, or Playstation 3 and I might get an Xbox 2. But you know I’ve never did this before. But my neighbor here, she’s an every-year camper.”
Every-year-camper Dolores, who didn’t want us to use her last name, says she’s been camping out for Black Friday sales since her son was three years old. He’s 20 now.
“I take my vacation. This is my vacation time, so I’m still working. I’m still getting paid being out here. Then me and my sister we all shift and we rotate. I’ll go take a bath, you know the hygiene stuff. Then we all come back and family members bring us food.”
She says when her kids were younger, she’d spend her Thanksgiving waiting outside of Toys R Us and Walmart. Now they’re more interested in electronics than toys, so she’s waiting to buy tablets and gaming systems.
About 2,000 people are expected to come through the doors at this location in the first hour of the sale on Thursday night. Store Manager Robert Mays says he’s never seen the line form so soon and he expects it will wrap around to the back of the store by Thanksgiving Day.
“This is totally new, totally new, something totally different. I’ve been with Best Buy for ten years now and totally different.”
Johnson: “Why do you think they started so early this year?”
“Better pricing. There’s a lot more cheaper prices on product this year than there has been in the past.”
Mays says as a retail manager he welcomes the sales, but he does wonder what compels people to go to such lengths for a TV or XBox. But he says for some folks, these deals might be the only way they can afford to buy new electronics.