Best Buy opens Black Friday at midnight

Calm shoppers pick out presents for family, themselves

EL PASO, Texas - Minutes before the doors opened, the employees at the Best Buy at 1834 Joe Battle Blvd. gathered together in a circle, conducting breathing exercises and pumping themselves up with chants.

Management said that's pretty much all they can do at this point, moments ahead of the store's midnight opening.

"Well basically, we start preparations since October. It's a lengthy process," said Kristin Gonzalez, a Best Buy operations manager.

That process is likely as lengthy as the wait to get into the store. As the clock ticked closer to 12 a.m. Friday, the line snaked along the building and into the parking lot. Tony Mendoza had been camping out with three other friends since Tuesday.

"We played soccer, we played football, we played board games and cards," said Mendoza, adding that it has become a Black Friday tradition among his friends over the last seven years.

He wasn't alone.

"We missed Thanksgiving," said Christian Solis. "But it was also pretty fun to be here."

Solis camped out with his entire family.

"We're expecting to get everything. And we'll get out as soon as we can, before we get the rush," he added.

"This is our very first time," said Solis' sister, Jocelyn. "I think this will be our first and last time, no?" Their mother, Griselda, piped up. "Yeah," replied Jocelyn. When asked why, Griselda paused, then answered, "Missing out on family time."

Regrets aside, it was the moment of truth inside Best Buy, as general manager David Prieto called out to his employees to stand by as he opened the doors.

A calm but excited crowd filed in, led by Mendoza, who made a beeline for the stack of 40-inch flat-screen televisions.

The beginning of Black Friday shopping was bustling but orderly. And while those heavily discounted items disappeared off shelves, it's business as usual at Best Buy, which is staying open for regular business hours in addition to the midnight opening.

Now, only 32 shopping days left until Christmas.

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