PORTLAND -- It’s a tradition that lines the sidewalks of big box stores around the nation. Campers, waiting for Black Friday deals put up tents Monday morning and now count the hours until the sales.
Ian Beckley is first in line outside the Best Buy store in Jantzen Beach. It's his third year in a row camping at the store.
“Actually this year’s been better weather than before," Beckley said. "Because I’ve been in the rain and wind and really cold. Today I’m just dealing with the cold."
When you have nowhere to go and all day to get there, life outside a big box store slows down. Ian and his neighbors play several hands of cards and read books.
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“It’s a good experience you know?” said Cody Winfield. He’s a freshman in high school and camped out to support his friend Alex.
Alex Burge is a high school junior with one thing on his mind.
“New TV! What else does a high school kid want right?” he asked pulling his blue hoodie around his face to keep out the cold.
It’s what Beckley, wants too.
“55-inch smart TV, 3-D,” he said.
It costs nearly $1,300, but is a bargain during the sale, the regular price is $1700.
Store manager Robert Campbell is glad the campers are there.
“I think it’s great because they’re some of our best customers,” Campbell said.
But not everyone likes the practice of camping out or even opening the store at 6pm on Thanksgiving. Among the critics are Ian’s own mother.
“Definitely," said Lorna Beckley sourly. "I am opposed to any of the stores being open on holidays. I think it’s taking away from the families and that’s a problem with our society."
And she’s not alone. Blane Hartleb owns a car audio company in East Portland, called Outrageous Audio. He’s an outspoken critic of any store that opens with Christmas sales on Thanksgiving.
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“Well how far do you go you know?" asked Harleb. "You take these corporations, I mean why don’t we just back it up to Halloween or July 4th and start it back there? It’s supposed to be Black Friday. Black Friday is the day everyone stands in line and gets good deals. It’s not supposed to be Black Thanksgiving! “