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To get best buy takes patience--and a tent
Patrick Davis has pitched a tent in front of the Central Park Best Buy so he and his friends can be first in line for Black Friday door busters.

 Cindy Hataway (left) and son-in-law Justin Gamble check out the tent set up by Davis and Jorden.
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Date published: 11/21/2012


Patrick Davis likes to be the first in line at Best Buy on Black Friday.

To score that spot this year, he pitched a four-person tent in front of the Central Park store at 4:30 p.m. Monday and plugged in his Honda generator.

This is the fourth straight year that Davis, a self-employed business owner, and his adopted family, the Sheltons, have claimed the head of the line at the Fredericksburg Best Buy.

"People ask if I'm really here for Black Friday and tell me, 'You're crazy,'" he said.

Crazy about deals, perhaps. Davis and the Sheltons say they saved almost $1,500 on Black Friday last year by snapping up door-buster bargains. These included a 48-inch flat-screen TV for $179 that was an early Christmas gift for the Sheltons' son, Justin, who is currently stationed in Afghanistan.

"My big thing is saving money on big-ticket items," said Sharon Shelton, who does the books for Davis' Patsco Mobile Locksmithing and for his stints as an independent cab driver. "I'm not going to get [these prices] any other time of the year. They'll only have four or five of that item. If you're not first in the door, you'll have to buy them at the next higher price."

Camping out in front of Best Buy is a tradition for Davis and the Sheltons. It started about 10 years ago when she got up before dawn on Black Friday to snap up some deep discounts at the electronics store.

The line was wrapped around the building by the time she got there, and the earliest arrivals already had been handed the limited number of tickets for the deals on her list.

Shelton asked people standing at the front of the line for the secret to their success, and was told that they'd camped out in front of the store the night before.

The next year she decided to camp out as well, and her son and some of his football-team buddies at James Monroe High School kept her company.

"The kids loved it," Sharon Shelton said. "They got to stay up late and sleep in a tent in Central Park. They thought it was a lot of fun."

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