HOLMBERG: Black Friday is tailgating, concrete camping

Posted at 12:13 AM, Nov 28, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-28 01:45:02-05

Those souls sitting in their camp chairs for days for Black Friday outside the Best Buy stores in Chesterfield and western Henrico are used to the withering stares from passersby and the folks who stop to snap their pictures and shake their heads.

They don’t mind because some of them have been seeing those snarky looks for years. One woman in line at Sort Pump has been doing it for 16 years.  Another young man has been doing it for “8 or 9 years, since I was 8 or 9.” His uncle got him started, and he just carried on the tradition.

And that’s the other reason why they don’t mind being looked at like they’re some weird species at the zoo.

They’re the ones  having a good time visiting with the friends they’ve made in line each year. They chat on Facebook or call each other to coordinate their arrival times. They talk through the night, sharing their lives and coffee and hot chocolate – mayhaps a slug or two of whiskey here or there. Relatives brings meals. They watch each others’ places in line so they can use the bathroom, warm up or take a nap in their cars.

There’s a brotherhood and sisterhood of the line. The first time may be a little rough, said one regular, but after that it’s a special thing.

And as the line builds and the doors get ready to open, they feel the electricity, the surge of anticipation, knowing they are in the front lines of this annual skirmish, ready to win big screen TVs, laptops, Kindles, Wis and a host of other goodies that will be the grand prize after their shared days of concrete camping.

Yes, it’s like that. Watch the video and you’ll see why they do it.

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