Thanksgiving Day shoppers trickled into Sears at Tacoma Mall and Kmart on Sixth Avenue this morning, hunting for pre-Black Friday bargains.
But the real die-hard shoppers-to-be were huddled in tents snugged up against the side wall of the Best Buy store, dreaming of the electronics bargains they plan to snatch up at 5 a.m. Friday.
Stadium High School seniors Julian Lugo, 18, and Sara Hedglin, 17, emerged from their red-and-tan Wenzel Eagle’s Point tent around 9 a.m.
Each, dressed in relatively thin sweatshirts, shivered in the 32-degree-snow-still-on-the-ground cold.
They pitched their tent and set up camp around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday – nearly 33 hours before the doors bust open at 5 a.m. Friday.
Lugo hadn’t seen Best Buy’s Black Friday newspaper ad, but he knew the store would have the Sony Vaio laptop computer he covets forat least” $300 off.
Best Buy is selling one 15.5.-inch Sony with a 3GB memory and 320GB hard drive for $399, according to its circular. Add another $100 and you get more memory, a built-in Blu-ray player, a laptop case and a Blu-ray of the new “Karate Kid” movie.
“I’m here for the laptop in specific,” Lugo said, then added he’d see what other bargains might be in the brochure and in the store that he couldn’t pass up.
Traditionally, stores limit quantities for such screaming deals, so buyers set up shop well ahead of the doors opening.
This morning, four tents were clustered around the Best Buy entrance. The occupants of the largest – a two-tent “mansion” that included a cord snaking out to a power source and a large portable heater – didn’t answer a knock on their flap.
Lugo said that contingent – the first to arrive – had been “up pretty late” and that they came with video games to play and other pursuits to occupy their waiting time.
Next door, Ngoc Nguyen Luc Pham, 40, crawled out of his tent to talk about the $179 computer he hopes to buy for one of his children. He also has his wallet set on a slightly more expensive laptop for another child, he said, speaking in halting English.
He pitched his tent about 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Over at Sears in Tacoma Mall, some three-dozen cars were clustered around one of the doors, and shoppers briskly came and went. Inside, several customers sat, trying on shoes.
The store was open from 7 a.m. to noon today, and it wasn’t terribly busy, but some shoppers walked out with bags in hand.
Jesse Vermillion, 32, of Olympia bought himself a pair of jeans. His mom, Karen Vermillion of Tacoma, bought jeans, too, to give as a gift, she said.
“We came here to look for great deals,” Karen Vermillion said.
Though they found some good buys, the best bargains appeared to be on appliances, they said.