BUSINESS

Black Friday shoppers pitch tents at Best Buy

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FALLS CHURCH, Va. (WJLA) - It was only early Wednesday afternoon, but some local bargain-hunters felt they couldn't wait any longer to get in line for Black Friday.  So they began putting up chairs and pitching tents.

Wednesday night campout

By about 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, a small city of six tents had sprouted up outside the Best Buy store in Bailey's Crossroads in Fairfax County. Folks in line tell ABC7 they expect to save hundreds or -- in one case -- thousands of dollars on deals that begin when the store reopens.

Some of those who set up tents are repeat Black Friday campers. Alex Ramos and friend John Bardales came for the second straight year. They say it's about saving money, but it's also fun.

"I get to hang out with one of my closest friends, and also I get to get a lot of stuff," Ramos said.

For the Castro family of Alexandria, spending the night in a tent at Best Buy has become as much of a Thanksgiving tradition as turkey; it's their fourth straight year.

"It's kind of fun, spending time with your family around Thanksgiving," said Steven Castro, who is in middle school but first started camping outside Best Buy in elementary school. "I really like it, that's why I do it every year."

Even though it's called a "Black Friday," sale, Best Buy stores are actually opening at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving day, a full six hours earlier than in 2012.

Some shoppers who weren't in tents Wednesday night said they're not happy that an increasing number of stores are opening on Thanksgiving instead of Friday.

"I understand that the retail business is tough, but you've got to think about your employees too," said Brenda Fox of Georgetown.

"The employees should be home with their families, not working," said Lisa Murphy of Georgetown.

The next day on Thursday, Ramos confirms that it was worth the wait. Meanwhile, camper Steven Castro is content -- even after the freezing cold night.

"I slept fine last night in my tent, it was cozy and warm," he said.

So what exactly brought all of these shoppers out on Thanksgiving day? What kind of items are they looking for deals on? Televisions, computers, the Playstation 4, and the Apple iPod top the list.

This is Anna Ustinova's first year doing this. She got here at 4 p.m. this afternoon. She thinks the idea of sleeping out overnight is crazy, and says she's not doing this in place of spending time with family, but in addition to it.

"Depends how late I'll be if they have still some food for me, but I will definitely get to see my family," she said.

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