They came with their basketballs, skateboards, guitars and cards. They came with their fold-up chairs, fleece blankets and blow-up mattresses. They came with their iPhones, laptops and mp3 players.
They came for cheap TVs, laptops and gaming consoles. They came for the Black Friday deals at stores such as Best Buy, Ultimate Electronics and Target, all of which would open their doors at 5 a.m. on Friday, November 27.
BA Adhikari, 37, a Boulder resident, was the first in line at Best Buy. Adhikari first arrived at Best Buy at 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
For Adhikari it was the promise of a cheap laptop and the benefits that came along with being first in line that brought him and his tent out to Best Buy.
“Basically I came for the laptop, the Sony [for] $399,” Adhikari said. “And then from there I’ll see, I’ve not yet decided what to buy but as I’m first in line I have all the time, all the choices.”
Adhikari said he didn’t plan to go any other stores, because as he put it Best Buy was his “last-first stop,” and after shopping at Best Buy he said he planned to go back home.
The line at Best Buy was already about 200 deep as of 3 a.m. on Black Friday and steady influxes of people were continuing to join the line. Best Buy had even requested the presence of a police officer, which is why Boulder Police Officer Sterling Ekwo, 29, arrived at 3 a.m. to insure that nothing got out of hand.
Ekwo was requested to be at Best Buy from 3 a.m. until 7 a.m., and said he saw nothing got out of hand.
“Best Buy wanted an officer presence just to keep the lines in check, make sure there’s no line jumping, no kind of altercations or anything like that,” Ekwo said. “[There’s been] none that I’ve seen.”
The lines for early Black Friday deals at stores such as Ultimate Electronics and Target couldn’t compare to the dedication of those in the line at Best Buy.
The line at Ultimate Electronics didn’t get quite as early of a start as the Best Buy line.
Mary Burkhart, 50, a Fort Morgan resident, was one of the first people in the line at Ultimate Electronics. Burkhart said she got to Ultimate at about 12:30 a.m.
For Burkhart, Ultimate was the first stop of the day thanks to good deals on electronics.
“They had what I wanted advertised at a really good price, a Wii and a netbook,” Burkhart said. “They’re good prices.”
Burkhart said that for her and her daughter, who she goes Black Friday shopping with, Ultimate was only the first stop of the day. Other stores she said they intended to stop by were Kohl’s, JCPenny and possibly Wal-mart.
Burkhart said that for her and her daughter Black Friday shopping has become a “mom and daughter day” as they chat through the long lines.
The line outside Ultimate Electronics was only about 50 people deep as of 4 a.m. on Black Friday, but store employee Cody McKeehan, 34, said the turnout was what they had expected.
“Yeah, usually a lot of people tend to roll in around 5, but these people are actually waiting for the hot deals that are out there,” McKeehan said. “It’s been very mellow actually, everyone’s in good spirits. We’re running things very organized so it’s going very smooth.”
The line at Target was the shortest of all, with only a group about 20 people gathered outside at 3:45 a.m.
Natalie Barral, 26, a Boulder resident, was one of those gathered outside of Target. For her the reason for coming so early was simply.
“It’s my favorite store,” Barral said. “I’m just as poor as a lot of people, I don’t have a lot of money so I just want to get as many deals as I can and take advantage of that. I just want to get some stuff for my nieces and nephews because they have good deals on toys and pajamas.”
For keeping entertained during the long wait Barral said that she would talk.
“I got a friend who’s keeping me company and I figure people in line are just as crazy as I am so we’ll talk,” Barral said.
As store-opening time drew near for Best Buy the line had grown to maybe around 300 people. Employees could be seen inside the doors preparing for the opening with balloons.
As the doors were finally opened one Best Buy employee came out to enthusiastically greet the shoppers as they flooded into the store. She paused at one point, mentioning off-handedly to Officer Ekwo, “This is so exciting! Last year we only had about 20 people, this year we have hundreds!”
Jacob Grove, 23, another Best Buy employee, echoed that sentiment as he stood in the line before his shift began, passing the time with his friend who was going to shop at 5 a.m. when the store opened.
“This is the largest turn-out I’ve seen so far,” Grove said. “I did [expect more] just because this Best Buy was open last Black Friday but it was so new, nobody knew it was here, so I was expecting more, but not this many.”
In the end what drew many to Black Friday were the sales, but also the chance to catch up with friends on a day they say they wouldn’t otherwise be doing anything.
Jesse Sanchez, a 21-year-old senior psychology major at CU, joined the line at Best Buy at about 10:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving night.
“What else were we going to do anyway?” Sanchez said. “Just sleep in.”
Contact CU Independent Opinion Editor Ellie Bean at Beanee@colorado.edu.