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Bargin hunters brave chilly night for Black Friday deals

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Bargin hunters brave chilly night for Black Friday deals

Video from Black Friday at J.C. Penney in Manteca.

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POSTED November 24, 2012 1:37 a.m.

Felicia Patterson sat bundled up in blankets, a book in her hand that she read to pass the time until the doors finally opened.

It didn’t matter to her that she had to stake out her place in line at Kmart 24 hours in advance to make sure that she got the opportunity to land the 50-inch flat screen television that had been advertised in the store’s after-Thanksgiving fliers.

All that registered was that 8 p.m. time when the doors swung open and she was finally able to break away from the concrete jungle that served as her home for more than a day.

Welcome to Black Friday.

“Last year we did this at Wal-Mart, and they wouldn’t let you line up a day early,” she said. “So it was cool to be able to come down here early. And it’s the deals that brought me down here – a 50-inch TV for that price.

“It’s worth the wait.”

Across town at Target, Joseph Alejandro and his cousin Adam – who had been camping out in front of the store since Tuesday – eagerly awaited their own chance at a 50-inch TV and a handful of other electronic goodies that were being offered at doorbuster prices.

But the two had an interesting twist on why they braved a pair of cold nights just to ensure that they were first in line when the store opened at 9 Thursday night.

They were willing to sell their place in line.

Natives of San Jose, the pair have long been willing to spend as many as seven days sleeping on the concrete in anticipation of everything from Black Friday to the launch of new video game systems that sell out and end up on back-order within hours.

And over in the South Bay, people are willing just to fork over the cash so they can get their hands on the newest toy without really having to leave the comfort of their recliner for more than an hour.

With three hours left to go before the store opened, neither Joseph nor Adam had managed to find any takers, but were enjoying the time they spent with the people in line – and those that work at Target – nonetheless. When one employee showed up for her shift she stopped and socialized with the two for several minutes, asking what happened to their tent before exchanging pleasantries.

“A lot of the people are really chill,” said Joseph Alejandro. “Last year things got pretty serious at Best Buy when people cut in line at the last minute and people waiting didn’t get their tickets – including me – but the people here are really chill.

“Sometimes you see people out in their car playing Playstation. But here it’s a little more laid back.”

Several spots behind the cousins, Chris Solis leaned his head up against the metal barricade from his folding camp chair and waited patiently for the time to pass. A former retail manager, it was the first time that Solis had on the parking lot side of a Black Friday sale – always getting things ready for the massive crowds that would flood his stores.

People running, fighting and falling down, he said, were at one-time commonplace even though the company has cracked down on that for the safety of both the customers and the staff members tasked for corralling the crowds.

A Wal-Mart worker was killed several years ago when the crush of people trampled him to death.

But Solis, who spent 15-years working for a major retail outlet, only jumped into the line at 4 p.m. and still managed to grab a prime spot near the front.

And like nearly everyone Thursday evening, it was the 50-inch flat screen that caught his eye.

“I heard from a friend that since they’re a higher volume store they’re going to have more of those to offer,” he said. “I’m pretty confident that I’ll end up with one.”

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