Covered by an ABC News affiliate in San Diego this week, two women attempted to start the official Black Friday line in front of a Best Buy store in El Cajon, California. Rhiannon Buckingham and Alicia Gomez were filmed by an ABC News crew after they set up a couple outdoor folding chairs in front of the Best Buy location on Wednesday. Buckingham told the news team that she purposely wanted to get in line approximately eight days before Black Friday in order to secure the best doorbuster items for themselves.
Sitting in line for a good deal on a television once again, Buckingham had planned to sleep in the folding chair outside of the El Cajon Best Buy and trade shifts with a friend to hold her spot in line over the next week. Unfortunately for Buckingham, management at the El Cajon Best Buy called security to escort both women off the property. Security told both women to return on Thanksgiving to stand in line.
Getting displaced by security hasn’t stopped Buckingham from waiting in line though. Buckingham relocated to a Best Buy location in La Mesa, California with her folding chair as well as a small tent. Management of the La Mesa Best Buy had a different attitude about early campers and even started taking pictures of the early shoppers for the corporate newsletter.
According to Buckingham, she plans to purchase four televisions, a Blu-ray player, headphones and other electronics when the doors of the Best Buy open at midnight on Black Friday. She believes that she will save approximately $2,000 on purchases due to her position at the front of the line. As of today, she has been joined by a La Mesa resident that was quoted as saying “I’ve got nothing else better to do,” when asked about his reason for waiting in line.
According to Best Buy’s Black Friday sales flyer, the company plans to give out tickets for doorbuster electronics approximately two hours before the doors open on Black Friday. Some of the doorbusters include a 40-inch Toshiba television for $179.99, a $39.99 Toshiba Blu-ray player, a Sony PlayStation 3 bundle for $199.99 and a 15-inch Lenovo laptop for $187.99.
While Best Buy is sticking to the same opening time as last year for Black Friday shoppers, other retailers are starting to open during Thanksgiving to get a jump on the competition. For instance, Walmart will be opening the doors at 8 p.m. and plan to stagger the release of doorbusters at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving as well as 5 a.m. on Black Friday. Sears also plans to open up the doors at 8 p.m. and will be open through Black Friday. In addition, Target plans to open up one hour later on Thanksgiving at 9 p.m.
There has been an online backlash in response to stores attempting to open early on Thanksgiving. A Target employee in Corona, California started a Change.org petition, directed at Target CEO Gregg W. Steinhafel, which requested a shift away from opening early on Thanksgiving. To date, that petition has received over 230,000 signatures. However, Target employees that do work the late night Thanksgiving shift will be paid time-and-a-half rather than their normal rate.
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