Waiting for the Sales

Since Saturday November 22nd, Juan Bernal changed his home for a tent outside of the Pacoima Best Buy.

He’s not alone. About a dozen other tents are set up just outside the doors, braving the fierce winds that have hit the San Fernando Valley the past few days.

“My mom took off for Rosarito (Mexico), so we’re not going to have a Thanksgiving and we decided to come out here and wait for Black Friday,” said Bernal, 35 and father of three.

His tent is the fifth in the line and Bernal is hoping to score a 50-inch TV and “whatever’s there,” once Best Buy finally opens its doors for the special offers that this year begin not on Friday but  on Thursday at 5 p.m.

For Bernal, who works at his family sandwich shop, the experience is more fun than anything.

“We got a generator, we got all our friends coming out at night, we play video games, we get on our skateboards, we just hang out,” he said.

He shares his tent with his brother. They take turns heading home from time to time to take showers and go to the bathroom. It helps that his home is right around the corner.

This is the first time Bernal and his brother decided to wait for the famous sales that kick off the busy holiday shopping period. Last year, they waited in line at the last minute, when it snaked around the building and by the time they got inside, all the sale items were gone.

They’re not taking any chances this year.

“We’re trying to catch up on a good deal. Hopefully we’ll get something this year,” he said.

And he’s prepared to spend quite a lot of money for those deals, “around $1,200 or $1,300”.

Many waiting for offers

Last year, more than 44.8 million people shopped on Thanksgiving Day, up 27% from 2012. And 92.1 million consumers shopped on Black Friday, according to National Retail Federation.

Television sets, tablets, cell phones and videogames remain the most sought after offers and retailers hype their commercials to attract the most customers.

In all, retailers estimate that people will spend $50 billion this single weekend, a large part of it on the early morning of Friday, when crowds are sure to generate much buzz.

And Bernal is late to the game.

In Beaumont, in San Bernardino County, Black Friday shoppers began camping outside a Best Buy store since November 10th. No doubt, they will be the first in line when the stores open on Friday.

Black Friday Tips

• Be prepared and study the ads before Black Friday.  

• Sign up for e-mail alerts and loyalty programs.

• Shop online first to see if you can match the “doorbuster” deals offered on Black Friday.

• Create a budget before you head out shopping and stick to it.

• Buy the item you really want and don’t fall for whatever’s in front of you on the aisles.

• Take a friend or family member so you can carry whatever it is you buy.

• Don’t leave your bags in plain sight inside your vehicle.

• Call the police in case of any problems.