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Early birds catch big savings

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[November 23, 2012]

Early birds catch big savings

Nov 23, 2012 (The Olympian (Olympia - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year, always draws a crowd, so Thurston County residents Cory Johnson and Pat White came prepared: they got in line Tuesday afternoon.

Johnson, 30, of Lacey, and his friend, White, 43, of Olympia, set up outside the Best Buy store at Westfield Capital Mall within an hour of each other Tuesday afternoon.

Johnson got there at 2 p.m. Tuesday, followed by White about an hour later.

They were among of hundreds of South Sound residents who instead of spending Thanksgiving in a post-turkey stupor, chose to go bargain hunting.

Johnson and White brought tents, put on layered clothing and played a friendly game of cards.

They got an early start because they both expect to save $1,000 or more by shopping on a day that typically offers deep discounts. It's also the second consecutive year they have been first in line, Johnson said.

He said he planned to buy three TVs, two laptop computers and one tablet computer, while White planned to buy TVs, a Blu-ray player, a camera and video games.

Buy those items any other time of the year and it might cost him $3,000, said Johnson about his purchases. But by shopping on Black Friday he expected to save $1,500. White, too, expected to save nearly $1,000 on his purchases. That helps, he said, because he's unable to work.

Waiting in line so early has drawn a lot of questions from other shoppers on their way to Best Buy. Tired of all the questions, the two started to have a little fun with their inquisitors, telling them they were waiting in line to buy "electric toothbrushes" and "tighty whities." Meanwhile, the Lacey Target store also expects a busy Black Friday, said Tony Azcueta, executive team leader for logistics.

Hot items this year included flat-screen TVs and toys. The store opened at 9 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. They also were to have a "second Black Friday" at 4 a.m. today, which featured a free gift card with select item purchases in apparel, accessories and home departments.

To the north, the first of a group of early arrivers had shown up at the Tacoma Best Buy on Sunday.

Early Will Early, 23, of Eatonville, said it was worth it so he could buy between 10 and 20 Blu-ray discs for as low as $3.99.

Early was among a group of about a dozen or so Best Buy Black Friday veterans who reunite each year. Their vigil of camaraderie and savings reached its peak Wednesday, when they erected a large tent near Best Buy's front doors that can comfortable house a half-dozen people.

They then transformed it into a gamer's paradise with two televisions equipped with Xbox 360s, heaters and Apple consumer gear powered by a generator running in the bed of a pickup parked nearby.

"You know you want to do this, but you didn't think it first," he boasted in good humor.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com theolympian.com/bizblog @rolf_boone ___ (c)2012 The Olympian (Olympia, Wash.) Visit The Olympian (Olympia, Wash.) at www.theolympian.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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