Victory comes in all shapes and sizes. And for Victoria resident Jon-Mikal Cano, it took the form of a collapsible chair at the mall.
Cano set up outside Best Buy about 12:45 p.m. Tuesday, securing his place at the front of the line for Black Friday deals. Best Buy begins offering its doorbuster sales at midnight Thursday.
First-place honors served as a personal win for the 21-year-old, who said he's camped out for the after-Thanksgiving sales the past three years. Although he's always managed to be near the line's front, he said he was determined to make it this year.
“Last year, I was about here,” he said, pointing to a patch of sidewalk about five feet behind him.
“I was back there the year before,” he said, pointing a few feet farther back. “And the year before that, I was all the way around the corner.”
Store management ventured outside shortly after Cano arrived, asking what items he was after — it was nothing in particular, Cano said, noting it was more for the experience — discussing his strategy and even posing for pictures.
Mario Chavana, assistant store manager, said Black Friday is a busy but enjoyable time of year for employees.
“For us, it's fun to meet the guys in line and see what they're looking for,” he said. “Black Friday's a long day for us.”
He described the shopping holiday as “controlled chaos,” explaining the store lets shoppers in little by little to avoid turmoil. Two on-duty police officers will also help keep things safe.
Best Buy's ticket program, which allows those at the front of the line vouchers so they're guaranteed the items they're after, also helps.
“This guy will get a ticket, and as long as he gets it by 3 a.m. he's guaranteed the item,” Chavana said with a gesture toward Cano. “He could even leave after he got his ticket, as long as he was back in time.”
Best Buy stores in Brownsville and San Antonio saw their first campers last week, he said.
Cano might not have gotten his start that early, but said his original plan was to arrive at the store Monday night. When he got off work at his cabinetry job and saw there was no line, however, he decided it could wait.
Now that he's there, though, he's prepared to stick it out.
A cooler of food in his car, some warm blankets and a good book — “The Lost Hero” by Rick Riordan — will help keep him going, he said. He also hopes to use a generator to hook up his Xbox and get his game on.
As for next year's Black Friday, however, you probably won't find him in line.
“Now that I did it this year, I can stop,” he said. “First place was my goal.”
MCT Information Services