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Friday, November 27, 2009

Mexican Man Completes Pilgrimage To S.F. For Best Buy Laptop On 'Viernes Negro'

Posted By on Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 12:30 PM

click to enlarge The pilgrims prepare for the long, cold night ahead...
  • The pilgrims prepare for the long, cold night ahead...

Laptops. They were there for the $197 HP laptops. At 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, while you were likely curled up in a turkey coma, the Black Friday pilgrims had already made their annual peregrination to the Mecca of capitalism -- otherwise known as the Best Buy on Harrison Street. In the cold, they set up their lawn chairs, played cards, and flipped through pages of Black Friday ads from the newspapers, all in anticipation of the elusive $197 laptops that the store was going to start selling at 5:00 a.m.

We talked to the first guy in line, who refused to call himself the

first guy in line until there were at least 300 people behind him.

"Until there's 300 people, there's no pride in it. It's shameful.

click to enlarge The leader of the pack
  • The leader of the pack

been doing this for years and years," he continued. "I'm old school. I

come from Wal-Mart. I could give the Russian commanders a run for their


We asked what time he had arrived to get his plum

post. He paused dramatically: "Just like a woman, I won't share my

age." (The word from others right behind him was he'd gotten there at

6:00 a.m.)  

We thought that guy was entertaining until we got

to the third guy in line, one Senor Francisco Sorcia, an attorney from

Mexico City. If you think the local Best Buy pilgrims are fanatical, this

dude easily crushed everyone else in the Black Friday devotion


Sorcia flew up on Wednesday from Mexico just for Viernes Negro. Apparently, images of the

click to enlarge Sorcia (on the right) flew up from Mexico City to partake in Black Friday.
  • Sorcia (on the right) flew up from Mexico City to partake in Black Friday.

elbowing and pushing each other to buy, buy, buy the day after giving

thanks is televised in Mexico -- something like the Americans' take on

the running of the bulls in Pamplona. Sorcia decided this was one world

event he must take part in. This is actually Black Friday No. 5 for him,

and his first in San Francisco: "I come to buy, and then see what else

I see."  He says with the import fees in Mexico, he'll be saving some

$1,200 on a laptop. He'd gotten there at 8:00 a.m., and is headed back

on Sunday -- hopefully with a cheap computer in tow.

The guy

directly behind him in line, Jorge Bazan, was amazed at the lack of

folks, which he attributed to the recession. He said last year, the

line was already curled around the building with 80 people by 11:00

a.m. Thanksgiving morning. This year, Bazan arrived at 8:00 a.m. and

was the fourth in line. His game plan was to sit in his lawn chair

until an hour before opening, and then whisk it off into his car to

prepare for the charge ahead.

By SF Weekly's count at 8:00

in the evening, there were 41 people lined up. We talked to No. 41, Roberto Muller,

who'd even brought a cot and a sleeping bag on top so his fiance could

catch some zzz's. "I came prepared." He'd brought a biography of Frida

Kahlo with him to pass the time during the freezing night until he

could hopefully make off with two cheap laptops at sunrise. Talk about physical suffering.

click to enlarge Ready for sweet dreams of cheap laptops...
  • Ready for sweet dreams of cheap laptops...

Photo credit: Snitch collaborator Francisco Barradas

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Lauren Smiley


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