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Updated Nov 23, 2011 - 11:17 am

Hard core shoppers camp out for Black Friday deals

PHOENIX - While most in the Valley will be spending Thanksgiving with family and friends, a small group of shoppers will celebrate the holiday on the sidewalk outside the Best Buy store in Avondale.

Six tents were set up Wednesday morning, people who will wait more than 48 hours to be the first in line for the best Black Friday deals.

"You definitely get some strange looks," said Mark Morales of Phoenix, second in line. "People think that you're crazy but it's just cool to be out here, and I'm going to get my camera."

Best Buy stores open Friday at Midnight, which for Mike Bernardi, will mark nearly five straight days at the front of the line.

The Colorado man has been doing this for 10 years, camping out at stores from Denver to Chicago. "I showed up last Tuesday planning to wait 10 days before the cops chased me off," said Bernardi, who had hoped to be first in the nation this year. "Waiting in line isn't realty worth saving $100-200, it's about the people you meet."

Bernardi's high-tech setup includes a karaoke machine and projector screen. The group huddled around Tuesday night to watch "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Horrible Bosses," a break from the boredom of waiting.

On Thanksgiving, he plans to deep-fry a turkey for everyone.

"One thing about Phoenicians - they're soft," Bernardi said of those complaining about November overnight lows in the high 40s.

"I was in Chicago last year where it was seven below zero, now that's cold."


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