Black Friday shoppers camp out early near Tampa stores - WFLA News Channel 8

Black Friday shoppers camp out early near Tampa stores

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An improvised camp site near Best Buy An improvised camp site near Best Buy
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

It never hurts to get a jump start on holiday shopping. But some people take it to the extreme. A group of eager shoppers have been camping outside a Tampa Best Buy since last week.

A small strip of sidewalk in front of a Best Buy off Dale Mabry Highway has become a temporary neighborhood.

Related story: Black Friday starts a week early in some Tampa Bay stores

"It may seem awkward and strange but this is normal for us," Ray Solomon, one of the campers said.

Solomon was one of the first in line, he's been camping out here since last Thursday, hoping for some insane deals on computers. He and his two friends have all the comforts of a home, including an entertainment center with video games and two TVs.

"Now it's just become a hangout, a vacation spot we call it," said Solomon.

Being in the front of the line has its advantages. They're guaranteed to find the deals they're looking for. But it's also kind of a reunion. Melissa Fitzwater has been doing this for seven years.

"We kinda talk to each other once a year and get to know each other again so its just more about the people we hang out with," she said.

She even brings her kids along.

"They love it. They love it more than I do," she said.

Related story: Top 5 'Black Friday' shopping apps

These folks say there are a lot of great incentives that come with being in the front of the line for Black Friday. And to use a bathroom they simply take turns.

"We just take turns, " Solomon said. "A couple of people will hang out here and we just trade off."

These people still find time to go to their regular jobs. They're aware of the criticism, but they brush it off.

"I know people are gonna say negative things, they always do," Fitzwater said. "But it is just more fun than getting the deals. But also we're saving money so its good."

The campers manage to have a Thanksgiving meal. Solomon said his family brings over food to him, and Fitzwater said she celebrates Thanksgiving a couple of days late, after her Black Friday errands are done.

"Thanksgiving doesn't have to be on Thursday. It can be anytime you're thankful. Be thankful anytime," said Fitzwater.

Besides, with more and more retailers holding Black Friday deals on Thursday night, maybe it's a good idea to line up a little early.

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