News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- We're still three days away from Black Friday, but a lot of shoppers are planning on hitting the stores on Thursday and some are already in line.
By Thursday at midnight, the line outside Best Buy will be wrapped around the building. Dozens of deal hunters are already sleeping in tents to get the big ticket items.
"That's a good deal. $250 off Dyson's," said Joseph Wescom.
They're lined up and ready to go shopping, but they still have two and half days to wait.
"This is my seventh year doing it. The door-buster deals still are worth coming out for. It's almost like a tradition now," Wescom said.
Already dozens have pitched tents, some lining up as early as Saturday night.
"It's important to be the first 10 because that's usually the maximum quantity of the major items, but first in line is just something to brag about," said second-in-line shopper Brian Smith.
"I got here Sunday morning about 9:30 to 10 o'clock," Wescom said.
"And were you surprised not to be the first one?" asked News 12's Katie Beasley.
"Yeah, actually. This is the first year I've gotten beat out," he laughed.
There's a method to the madness, and it's not exactly roughing it.
"They have a TV and a PlayStation in their tent," Wescom pointed out. "We sit here, we read books, we watch Netflix, we all talk and just kind of hang out out here."
"I'm just trying to have fun out here, it's not so much the countdown, it's more so much experiencing it for four days," Smith said.
While some onlookers may call them crazy, inside, store managers love the lines.
"I wouldn't say crazy, I'd just say diehard and loyal Best Buy followers for the most part," said Best Buy General Manager Ellis Hanks.
In an age when online shopping is more popular than ever, stores say Black Friday is always a day they hope to cash in.
"It's all about coming into the store and giving us an opportunity to earn your business and give you great customer service," Hanks said. "You come here locally and spend your dollars, and in turn, it comes back to the community as well."
"If you compare the deals, the online deals aren't that great. Some of them are good, but compared to coming in the store, the door-busters, the movies and games ... you can't get those online for the price," Smith said.
All of the early shoppers we spoke with have full-time jobs, but they plan their vacation time around Black Friday. The biggest surprise was how many people stopped to ask them what they were waiting for. They say a lot of people don't know about the deals starting Thanksgiving night.