Gallery: Montebello Shoppers line up for Black Friday sales
Scores of shoppers queued up early Monday at Best Buy stores throughout Southern California in hopes of eventually snagging Black Friday deals.
And if the company's website is any indication, the bargains will be good.
The electronics retail chain is promoting Toshiba 40-inch, high-definition TVs for $179.99 - a savings of $240. A Samsung 15.6-inch laptop with 4 gigabytes of memory was likewise advertised Monday for a Black Friday price of $349.95. That's $225 off the retail price.
Armando Flores of Los Angeles was among a small group of shoppers who were camped out in tents early Monday in front of the Best Buy in Montebello. They'd been there since Friday.
"I'm here for the big TVs, games for the kids and PlayStations," Flores said. "If we had money we wouldn't even be out here in the cold ... we barely saved enough to get our TVs."
Best Buy stores will open their doors at 12 a.m. Friday, and hordes of consumers are expected to rush in for the bargains. Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, said shoppers are primed for deals.
"It's critical for retail companies to constantly evolve as consumers do, and right now shoppers want great deals, good value, and convenience - exactly what we're seeing with this season's late and early openings, price-matching, layaway, and mobile offerings," Shay said in a statement.
A preliminary Black Friday shopping survey from the Federation reveals that up to 147 million people plan to shop on Black Friday weekend, which includes Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
That's a slight decrease from the 152 million who planned to do so last year. Specifically, 71 million said they would shop and another 76 million said they would wait and see what retailers have in-store over the Black Friday weekend.
"I try to get people to think about their holiday shopping and so they can try to have a dollar amount in mind, but it's very hard," said Cristina Fuentes, a certified financial planner with Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. in Pasadena. "People get very emotional and it's easy to get wrapped up in the moment and exceed your budget."
Fuentes said a deal is only a deal if it's something a shopper needs - or truly wants.
"It seems that the stores really know how to position the merchandise," she said. "A lot of people walk away with more than they had planned for."
A group of determined shoppers who lined up at the Best Buy on Pacific Coast Highway in Torrance came prepared Monday with chairs, blankets and laptops.
Wilmington resident Jeff Molina said his wife, Victoria, set up their chair near the store's front doors that morning, arriving behind about two dozen others.
The San Pedro postal worker, who was off work Monday, said they would take shifts throughout the week, giving the other time to work, get showered and sleep.
"The main thing is, people have to see somebody here," to justify holding a spot, he explained. "These are actually the same people we saw last year. Everybody keeps an eye out for each other."
Things were also hopping at the Best Buy in Rancho Cucamonga. Nine camping tents were set up on the sidewalk in front of the store and they'd also started lining up Friday.
Those waiting already seemed to have developed a sense of community, with a few who had been strangers prior to meeting this week already playing card games in one of the tents.
"Me and my family, we just take shifts, but I really want to stay here for the whole week," 11-year-old Pedro Ayala said. "It's been a good experience. I've made friends."
Staff writers Kristin S. Agostoni and Neil Nisperos contributed to this report.
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