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Camping out for computers on Thanksgiving Day

While heading to the grocery store for some last minute items that inevitably didn’t make the Thanksgiving dinner shopping list, I stumbled upon an unusual Thanksgiving tradition.

Passing Best Buy, I saw a city of tents set up inside a barricaded area around the front of the store. Upon closer inspection, I realized this wasn’t a display of camping gear for sale; it was a line of enthusiastic shoppers eagerly awaiting the opening of the doors for Black Friday shopping at the electronics hub.

Of course, only the most dedicated of shoppers set up camp an entire day early for a first crack at the cheap morning sale on one of the rare rainy days in Las Vegas. Weather be damned, these were seasoned veterans who showed up with coats, coolers and even tents to make the wait more tolerable. This wasn’t their first rodeo.

One group said this was the third year they had camped out, and last year’s haul included a new laptop/printer combo for only $300. The first people in line said they were going to set up shop outside the Henderson Best Buy, but the lines were already too long at 5 a.m. this morning, so they decided try their luck at the Arroyo Marketplace Best Buy instead.

Doors open at 5 a.m. this Friday at Best Buy, and these lucky few will enjoy door buster savings on coveted holiday items like computers and mp3 players. Jimmy Nguyen and Kimberly Plummer said they were willing to show up at 8 a.m. Thursday morning so they could be one of 15 or so people to get a limited number of Toshiba and HP laptops on sale for between $300 and $400 dollars. Nguyen and Plummer met in line and agreed to help each other out by taking turns with bathroom breaks without losing their places in line.

One might wonder why folks are willing to give up a Thanksgiving Day feast with their families to wait in line for over 24 hours in the cold and rain. But the reason comes with a price tag. A $900 savings on a new laptop would be enough to make lots of people reconsider plans on almost any day of the year.

Kimberly Plummer said this was her first Thanksgiving Day campout, though her family members have done it in years past. She said she volunteered to do her time in line this year because she “wanted to have a story to tell.” I asked if they had been able to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with their families before coming out on their electronics pilgrimage, but all those in line said they were missing out and hoping for their family members to come through with a promised delivery of turkey dinners. If their families don’t bring them food, I hope they don’t let them use their new computers, TVs and mp3 players.

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