It took two long days, but for Kathy Calle and her niece, Karisa Pasay,
“It is all for this kid,” said Calle, pointing to a picture of her son on her smart phone. “He’s 17, and he needs this TV.”
Calle and Pasay, both of Moosup, camped out at the entrance of starting on Wednesday morning in preparation of the Black Friday sales today. The number one item they both wanted was a $199.99 Sharp 42” television, a product listed normally for $549.99 on Best Buy’s website.
Not that the two were alone. Thousands and thousands of people stood in line at several of Waterford’s largest chain stores, including Target, Walmart and Toys “R” Us, for a chance at deals. Most of the stores had “doorbusters,” such as the 42” television, where there was a limited amount of the product that people at the front of the line would get. Also, the stores had general sales as well on nearly every product.
“It’s a family tradition,” said Jeremiah Csubak, who went to Best Buy with some of his cousins. “We don’t get to see each other that often so we just hang out in line.”
It was also the first year many of the Before, the stores would open early in the morning, around 4 or 5 a.m.
"It is easier at midnight," Csubak said. "Now we don't have to stay up all night."
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Calle and Pasay came Wednesday morning to wait in line for Friday’s 12 a.m. sale. At that time, the store was open for regular hours, as customers coming in and out would stare at the two, they said.
They slept in their car Wednesday night, and then waited outside Best Buy's entrance all day Thursday. Thanksgiving dinner was brought to them, they said.
“The toughest part has been the cold,” Pasay said. “It is freezing.”
Pasay was being literal. Both Wednesday and Thursday night, the temperature dipped below 32 degrees.
To pass the time, Calle documented her experiences on Facebook, and they both texted friends. All of it was to get the television, along with a computer and some other items, Calle said.
“It has been a long two days,” she said. “But it has been an experience.”
The line really didn’t get packed until Thursday around 4 p.m., Calle said. By Friday morning, the line went around all four sides of the Best Buy building.
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Hundreds and hundreds of people waited in line at Best Buy, but only about 20 were let in at a time after midnight. Once inside, if somebody wanted to talk to a Best Buy employee they would take a number, much like a deli counter at a supermarket.
The large chains also hired police officers to monitor the crowds. At Walmart, there were eight officers, but at Best Buy there was just one.
Around 11 Thursday night, Best Buy employees handed out the tickets for the doorbusters. For the television, there were 26 tickets handed out to the first 26 people who wanted them, according to people in the line. Some of the people who received the doorbuster tickets sold them to people further down in the line.
Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, according to the Huffington Post. In 2010, 212 million Americans visited stores and websites during the long weekend after Thanksgiving, spending an average of $365.34 per person, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.