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Shoppers camp at BestBuy for deals

Nov. 20, 2012 @ 11:25 AM

BARBOURSVILLE -- Kevin Tegtmeier stepped out of his tent Tuesday morning at Best Buy determined this year's Black Friday will be different.

Tegtmeier stood in line all day last Thanksgiving. He hoped to buy a cheap flat-screen television, but he ended up being behind one too many people and saw his chance slip away.

But determination alone won't guarantee this year's purchase. Tegtmeier will need a friend's assistance and some gentlemanly respect, as the 22-year-old athletic training student from Mount Sterling, Ky., is scheduled to leave Thursday to join Marshall University's football game in Greenville, N.C.

Tegtmeier set up camp at 11 p.m. Monday at the Huntington Mall electronics retailer. He stepped out of the tent at daybreak Tuesday, got into his vehicle and drove off to practice. A friend was scheduled to check on Tegtmeier's makeshift camp throughout Tuesday, take his place Thanksgiving and ultimately purchase the television just after midnight Friday.

"I just really want that TV," he said Tuesday morning. "I think it's a wonderful deal. I mean staying out here a couple of days, to me, is worth saving $600 to $700."

Best Buy is selling the 40-inch, Toshiba television for $179.99. That's advertised as a precise savings of $240, which equates to $3.29 per hour from the time Tegtmeier established camp to Friday's opening.

Tegtmeier's tent sat Tuesday morning third, behind those of friends Drew Harker and David Merritt. The two men met in high school and started their electronic-inspired campouts with the release of Sony's PlayStation 3 in 2006.

Harker, 27, has since returned to the concrete campsite for three Black Fridays. That would make at least four campouts in six years. They keep coming back for camaraderie, although he acknowledged it's nice to get a good deal.

"It's half and half," said Harker, an undecided student seeking his second undergraduate degree at Marshall. "Just hanging out here, goofing off for a few days and getting away from everything."

Well getting away from most everything that is.

Harker was preparing to leave at daybreak to care for his parents' dogs. He hoped to let them out Tuesday morning and return 30 minutes later.

Otherwise, Harker said he and Merritt remain at the campsite 24 hours a day. Bathroom breaks take place either in BestBuy or at an area gasoline station. He said fellow campers generally allow short stints away from the camp as long as the person returns in a reasonable amount of time.

The duo's shopping list was undecided as of Tuesday morning. Harker said individual blu-ray discs, a blu-ray player and a handheld video gaming system were all possibilities.

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