Best Buy is gearing up for Black Friday, and some shoppers are taking the big sales a little too much to heart, occupying stores for as long as a full week in advance in hopes of scoring the best deals after Thanksgiving 2011.
For a week now, TV news stations have been documenting a crush of avid consumers from across the U.S. who've begun camping out in front of Best Buy stores for Black Friday 2011. Over the past few days, these stations have even given the shoppers a new name: occupiers.
ABC-7, in an interview with recently laid-off Sean Keeley, said he was one of many occupiers trying to make the most of the days immediately following Thanksgiving 2011.
Instead of protesting corporate profits, he's going to contribute to the busiest shopping season of the year! newscasters quipped.
'Occupy' Best Buy?
The occupy message is one more and more shoppers seem to be getting behind, taking the OWS message and running with it, capitalist-style. The move to camp out in front of Best Buy stores nationwide caught national attention when a Web site called Occupy Best Buy popped up on Buzzfeed.
The site, which is unaffiliated with Best Buy, features a raised black fist (mimicking the Communist-leaning symbol of many OWS posters) and a manifesto that urges bargain hunters to set up tents at the tech chain's branches across the U.S.
Our goal: To get the best deals on Black Friday, the manifesto read. The site even featured a section called Join the Fight featuring links to buy tents for the whole family.
The spoof site generated a lot of laughs, but the premise behind it hit close to the truth: many families have been camping out in front of Best Buy stores and other chains offering Black Friday deals for many days now.
Best Buy's Black Friday Deals
While Best Buy's marketing office may not have created the web site, it's not a big stretch to imagine the Black Friday sales pitch that could have spawned this campaign.
Over the past two weeks, Best Buy has been steadily releasing a list of its hottest deals for Black Friday and its counterpart, Cyber Monday. Many sales items will be available online and in stores, but the crush of pre-orders wasn't enough to satiate those craving big discounts from the tech superstore.
One woman in particular has become a media symbol for those looking to grab a good deal first.
Windy Lawrence of Mesquite, Texas made national headlines with her decision to camp out with her family in front of a Best Buy on Nov. 20, far ahead of most other shoppers preparing to wait for Black Friday sales.
Last year we came and didn't get anything we wanted, Lawrence told Fox News. She is staying in the tent with her mother and young daughter, and has stocked up on food, water, sleeping bags and a heater as she waits. We decided to come early this year so we can be sure to be the first ones to get in the door.
Cycle of Consumerism
Lawrence told reporters she had her eye on a 42-inch television that will cost $199 at Best Buy on Black Friday 2011. By the time Nov. 23 rolled around, countless other consumers had joined her in tents at Mesquite and across America, and the same 42-inch TV has become one of Best Buy's most anticipated items.
I know the 42-inch Sharp is leading our ad, said Redding Best Buy's store manager Harold Dunn. that's going to be probably one of the big ones for [Black] Friday shoppers.
Dunn says so many shoppers have camped out in front of the store that staff have gotten line organization down to a science.
Some have been camping out at Best Buys for years for the post-Thanksgiving rush, and Black Friday 2011 promises to be another big sale for them.
Others find the notion a bit off. I think they are crazy, Harrison McCollugh, a Redding local, told NBC. They're not getting too much of a discount on what they are waiting for. Whether it is $100 or $200, it's not worth it for seven days of waiting in the cold.