For Savvy Shoppers, Black Friday Started Last Tuesday

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If you missed out on a great deal for a humongous flat-screen television at Best Buy today, you can only blame yourself. Some folks, like Becky H., put a lot of effort into making sure they got door buster prices for televisions, computers and other big-ticket electronics.

"Tuesday night we were looking at the news," she tells us, "and we saw where one Best Buy store had like 12 tents out front. My husband said, 'Let's drive by our Best Buy and see how many people are out there.' So we did and there was nobody out here. We went home and got our tent." The couple, who has never camped out for Black Friday sales, have been taking turns manning the tent since then. They were out there by themselves for a while; the next group of people didn't show up until 8 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

Becky says the economy was a major factor in their decision to camp out. "We knew what our [three daughters] wanted, but I had talked to them about not being able to afford so many things this year. But by doing this, we'll be able to get what they want at a price we can afford."

Becky expects that their $500 budget will cover everything on their list. "This will complete all our Christmas shopping, except for the stocking stuffers. And the good thing is, I don't have to stress about it, it will all be done."

A few feet down from Becky, Tony M. and Carlos A. were watching a football game on a television they had hooked up in their SUV and texting on their phones. "It looks like you already have all the electronics you need," we comment. "What else are you looking for?"

"We can always use more," laughs Tony. The two admit they are well-stocked with gadgets, computers and televisions, so they're shopping for bigger and better versions of what they already have and gifts for family.

Tony and Carlos are experienced Black Friday shoppers. In fact, Tony has spent Thanksgiving Day camped out in front of some store or another for more than 15 years, while Carlos started five years ago.

"I started doing this with my mom when I was ten or 11 years old," says Tony. "If you know what you want to get, you can pay really low prices. It really is worth it."

They arrived at Best Buy at 6 a.m. on Thursday. Told that one couple arrived on Tuesday night, Tony says, "When? Aw, naw. I got a thing called work, so I can't do that.

The men are armed with about $500 each. Tony is looking for a tablet computer and a television. Carlos wants a camcorder and a television.

"What type of tablet computer?" we ask Tony. "The one that's on sale. I don't know what brand it is."

And what will the tablet do for him that his other computers and gadgets don't already do? "Nothing!" he laughs. "It's just another luxury I want to have."

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