77hrs line camping at Best Buy, tips and strategies

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20gt
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77hrs line camping at Best Buy, tips and strategies

Postby 20gt » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:14 pm

:D How I survived 77 hours of Black Friday line camping at Best Buy, tips and strategies.
I believe 57-50 hours is a going to be my magic number if I go again.

My reward a Sharp 42" LCD 1080dp TV, 24" LCD 1080dp TV, Norelco razor, and Plantronics Bluetooth headset all for $340 savings of $465

This is a teamwork project; it takes three people to do it properly.
 
First thing go to http://bfads.net/ and check on the stores you’re interested in. I checked a lot of sites, this site turned out to be the no nonsense site for me. Their site is fast loading with no popup ads and no weird links to keep you searching for what you want but never find.
 
Stop by the store and ask if tents are allowed, ask if the property owner allows tents also.
Some outdoor malls won’t allow tents. Also ask if they will consider setting up a WIFI hot spot for the people in line. (Cross your fingers)
 
Things I used to be comfortable: junior Tent 5'x6', pillow, blanket, inflatable mattress, ear plugs, sunglasses with lens taped over to block out the light, insect repellent, cooler, small camping table, comfortable folding chair, Bottled water, book, Jump starter box with 12V DC accessory outlet lets you power and recharge personal electronics, game boy, half gallon jug(just in case)
 
Try to be number 5 or under in line even if they have 10 of the items on sale. If your number 10 in line don’t expect to get the item, our number 10 mysteriously became number 15; there were only 14 TV's.
 
Don’t trust asking the store when you should get in line. I was planning on going 50 hours early but someone started the line 80 hours early. This being my first time I got nervous and went to go look. Sure enough there were two people in chairs in front of the store Monday at 6pm. I went in to talk to the security monitor guy. The security guy told me there were 5 people with those 2, I had better not wait. I found out later there were only those two people. Also, they weren't going to stay the night, but the guy told them, when they come back tomorrow there will definitely be a line out front, so they stayed. The store will want you to stay so they get the publicity of a line. 24hours later (Tuesday 7pm) we were still the only ones in line.
 
Monday night 7pm - set up camp 3rd person in line. I took up about 12'x6' of space.
After you set up your tent take some time to map out the store according to what you want. Even though they are giving out tickets, the smaller items will not have tickets
2:30am News truck rolled by and took some pictures.
3am friend showed up to relieve me. I went to work.
7am another friend showed up at to relieve my first friend long enough for them to run down the street to go to the bathroom.
9am store opens - Make friends with the people in line around you they are your neighbors, so you can run into the store to go to the bathroom.
2:30pm returned from work.
12am Wednesday morning exactly 48 hours before the sale 2 more tents show up.
5pm Wednesday two more tents show up.
6pm the line really takes off 25 people in line, not all have tents.
 
By now you should have a nice tight group of new friends/neighbors in line around you. I was giving out free bottled water to help make friends around me. The tension will be starting to grow for the people in line behind you. I was #3 so I knew I was cool but people further back kept coming up and counting people who were getting TV's. The store came out and put up a barrier to keep people from easily cutting in line. Turns out its not strangers you have to worry about cutting in line, it’s the friends of people already in line you have to look out for, but more on that later.
 
9pm People ordered pizza, one guy played a guitar, people were playing Uno. It was generally a good time. The cops drove by and told us they would be patrolling all night in marked and unmarked cars.
12am noisy, the whole front of the store was full of people waiting.
1:30 noisy, teenagers talking, laughing
3am finally gets quiet as people drift off.
4am Thanks Giving morning store is closed all day till midnight. I sneak off to get a newspaper from Wal-Mart down the street. By then I had a good feeling about my place in line and knew no one was going to mess with my tent because my neighbors had my back, especially the 2 Puerto Rican women behind me, believe me you don’t want to mess with a woman that’s waited 2 days in line.
7am the line continues to grow turning the corner around the building.
Through out the day my friend comes by so I can go to the bathroom, shower, eat. Make a point to introduce your friends to your neighbors and let them know they are no threat to their space in line (stay true to this).
12pm noon the parking lot is crawling with cars and people getting in line.
6pm took down my tent packed up everything but chair, cooler, book. Most tents are coming down by now.
8pm extremely busy parking lot. Many people driving by looking at us, asking questions. People in line were counting and re-counting checking their place.
10pm store personnel show up. Small group of people gather in front of the line, the cops shoo them away. The store fence's off an area so only people in line can get in the door. The police stay out front.
 
11pm the store security tells everyone that anyone caught selling tickets will be subject to removal and loss of tickets. Then they tell us to get against the wall in a single file line and get ready for the tickets. A line of employees come out the door, each single separate employee representing a single item carrying limited amounts of tickets for that item. Be alert know what you want, as they come by they will act like a town crier, speaking out the item they represent. Be alert get your tickets as they come by, pay attention don’t miss your items. The tickets at Best Buy were a full size piece of paper advertising the product it represented.
 
12 Midnight Black Friday morning, the store opens they let 30 people in the store at a time. Make sure you get your items according to there popularity, get the popular stuff first. I was in line for a Sharp 42" 1080p LCD TV $200, Dynex 24" 1080p LCD , Norelco razor, Plantronics Bluetooth headset. I had tickets for the TV's but there were only 3 each of the others. I went for the Norelco razor first, thinking I could get the Plantronics Bluetooth headset on the way to the TV's because they were close to them. Wrong By the time I got to the headsets they were gone. An employee was standing there so I asked her "Plantronics Bluetooth headset?" she replied, oh there all gone. The lady who just got the last one was still standing there and heard me ask for it. To my surprise she spoke up saying "here you can have it, you gave me some water earlier tonight." Wow.
 
When you enter the TV area it is sectioned off into a line maze like at the amusement parks. Get your stuff quickly and get inline again, only 2 cashiers, I was 3rd. Pay for your stuff and take your receipt around back to pick up your TV.
 
12:30am headed home to hook up my TV.
 
That's the basics that I learned.
No drama at my store, but we heard stories of how two years ago a car drove by and sprayed the whole live with an industrial large can of pepper spray. The police took statements and left. 2 hours later the car came back and sprayed again from the other direction. Most of the line stayed. Oh and someone might come buy and preach the gospel to the captive audience, our guy just stood out there and yelled out some verses from the bible.
 
I was third in line so I knew I was getting mine, but the person behind me was holding a place for a friend who was doing the babysitting of the kids, while they were in line. That new lady (1) showed up for 1 hour the night before and 2 hours before the store opened. Worse yet she brought her boyfriend (2) with her. They both stayed in line. The person behind them was taking turns waiting husband and wife (3). She wasn’t going to stay but 3 hours before opening they were both in line. (That part seemed ok to me she did spend as much time there as he did at least 24hours). Lastly another visitor stayed in line with the person behind her (4). Another in line changed their mind and decided to get a TV (5). That pushed the number 10 guy into the number 15 spot; No TV for him and he waited a day and a half. (Later he told me someone inline in front of him was giving him a ticket.) I personally would have been pissed off, because I don’t believe I have the charisma to get someone to give up their ticket. But nobody made mention of this whole thing not even the other 4 people who didn’t get TV's.
 
I'm going to talk to the head security at our Best Buy and see what if anything can be done for next year.
Suggestions: Once the line starts, every night when the store closes someone comes out and takes a line head count writing down the names of new people, checking the status on the people the night before or who their relieving. The names shouldn't change unless someone gives up and the numbers move forward. They should do this for the most wanted item. When it comes time to get single file along the wall it should be no question who deserves to be there.

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Re: 77hrs line camping at Best Buy, tips and strategies

Postby drinkgreen » Fri Dec 23, 2011 4:19 pm

Here is what I learned from my observation of the local Best Buy Line.

10:00pm Thanksgiving Eve: There were already 20-30 people lined up!

12:00pm Thanksgiving: There were STILL only 20-30 people lined up. So.... that was 14hours wasted for the guy at the end of that line.

1:30am Black Friday: We arrived at Best Buy about 90 minutes after they opened their doors. They said they were sold out of the Asus Transformer tablet, but I still found all of my games and gadgets I wanted that were on sale.

7:00am Black Friday: We are parked at the same Best Buy's parking lot, waiting for the next door Guitar Center to open. Noticed an unmarked semi-trailer back up behind the store. Having a hunch, I went into the Best Buy. Remember, this was the same Best buy that was sold out of most of the doorbusters, as well as my Asus Transformer tablet within the first 90 minutes. Sold out because all of those people who "wisely" waiting in that line for 24hrs+. I went straight to the computers and HEY, the Asus Transformer is magically back in stock 7hrs after the doors open. Got one easily. Also noticed more TVs being restacked in the aisles.

In summary, I learned to not wait in Best Buy's line. If its an actualy product that people want, and not just inventory the store is trying to get rid of, they'll restock in the middle of the night for the second wave of doorbusters to hit around 7-8am. :mrgreen:

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20gt
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Re: 77hrs line camping at Best Buy, tips and strategies

Postby 20gt » Sun Dec 25, 2011 4:34 pm

By 1pm Thanksgiving at my store there were 250 people in line at least, the line wrapped around the store.

I don't think they re-stocked the 42" tv's.

Guess I'm just weird. I liked the comradery of the experience.
It was like the comradery that came with the 04 huricanes. no power just survival.
For my first time i thought it was pretty cool.
Cant wait till next year.

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Re: 77hrs line camping at Best Buy, tips and strategies

Postby drinkgreen » Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:29 am

20gt wrote:Guess I'm just weird. I liked the comradery of the experience.


Oh I'm all for the experience of waiting in line on Black Friday to be able to rush the doors. That's what it's all about.

All I'm saying is, if I can get what I want from one store 90 minutes or 7hrs after it opens, then I would prefer to wait in line elsewhere to get better deals. Target, Kohls, and Toysrus (usually) have better deals that won't resurface after they have been sold out.

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20gt
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Re: 77hrs line camping at Best Buy, tips and strategies

Postby 20gt » Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:31 pm

i hear ya
that's why i waited for the 42"TV they didn't restock those.

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20gt
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Re: 77hrs line camping at Best Buy, tips and strategies

Postby 20gt » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:15 pm

Yep just checked with my guy at the store - they did not restock the 42" TV's for $199. If you weren't in line by 5:30 Wednesday you didn't get one. I don't know about your store but my line was there to get the TV, all else was secondary. We had one guy Wednesday night who road way out to the middle of Orlando because they said the line was shorter. By the time he got there it was long also. He lives in town so he came back to our line.
What part of the country are you in? All the stores in my area were swamped by at least 200 people by opening time.

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Re: 77hrs line camping at Best Buy, tips and strategies

Postby steffj89 » Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:54 am

ours was swamped at opening, but when I got to town @ 7pm Thurs nite, there weren't 50 people in the BB line.
Steff

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Re: 77hrs line camping at Best Buy, tips and strategies

Postby john.daggett » Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:43 pm

I did it for the TV and got it. What a long couple of days lol. Love the TV and the Lenovo laptop.

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Re: 77hrs line camping at Best Buy, tips and strategies

Postby Suzapaloooza » Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:13 pm

20gt, great narrative of your experience! It gives me the BF fever!! :)

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Re: 77hrs line camping at Best Buy, tips and strategies

Postby cmac1337 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:43 am

Solid post, 20gt.

As a 5 consecutive year "1st in Line" veteran, you did it very similar to how we do things in Birmingham.

I was going to ask what city this was because based off the details it must be a very high volume area.

Our Best Buy doesn't get super packed until Wednesday but we still set up very very early.


Overall,enjoyed reading and wouldn't recommend anything. You guys have a solid rig, keep it up!
We Call Ourselves the "Black Friday Tailgaters (BF Tailgaters)"

1st in Line at Best Buy Store #1446 in Fultondale, AL for 7 straight years.


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Re: 77hrs line camping at Best Buy, tips and strategies

Postby john.daggett » Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:14 pm

loved that walk thru. took me back to my experience there those few days

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Re: 77hrs line camping at Best Buy, tips and strategies

Postby iKitsune » Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:29 pm

cmac1337 wrote:Solid post, 20gt.

As a 5 consecutive year "1st in Line" veteran, you did it very similar to how we do things in Birmingham.

I was going to ask what city this was because based off the details it must be a very high volume area.

Our Best Buy doesn't get super packed until Wednesday but we still set up very very early.


Overall,enjoyed reading and wouldn't recommend anything. You guys have a solid rig, keep it up!

We were honestly surprised when you guys were there. We actually hadn't planned on setting up until later, but I woke up early and rousted everyone else out of bed. ;)

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cmac1337
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Re: 77hrs line camping at Best Buy, tips and strategies

Postby cmac1337 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:27 am

iKitsune wrote:
cmac1337 wrote:Solid post, 20gt.

As a 5 consecutive year "1st in Line" veteran, you did it very similar to how we do things in Birmingham.

I was going to ask what city this was because based off the details it must be a very high volume area.

Our Best Buy doesn't get super packed until Wednesday but we still set up very very early.


Overall,enjoyed reading and wouldn't recommend anything. You guys have a solid rig, keep it up!

We were honestly surprised when you guys were there. We actually hadn't planned on setting up until later, but I woke up early and rousted everyone else out of bed. ;)


Ha I know man! We gotta go earlier and earlier every year. We practically stalk the parking lot early in the week just to be safe.
We Call Ourselves the "Black Friday Tailgaters (BF Tailgaters)"

1st in Line at Best Buy Store #1446 in Fultondale, AL for 7 straight years.


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Re: 77hrs line camping at Best Buy, tips and strategies

Postby svngpvtry » Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:48 pm

77 hours to save $465? nice thats like $6/hr. lol

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Re: 77hrs line camping at Best Buy, tips and strategies

Postby jcfrank2 » Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:56 pm

Does anyone have stories of the lines at Best Buy from last year in colder climates? The amount of campers in Florida is different than what it is in places where the temperature will max out at 20-30 degrees - Camping out around here isn't very feasible or healthy. I'm trying to gauge the lines to see if it's even worth driving by. Thanks.


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