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

Categories: Business
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.

The leader of the pack
"I've 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 money."

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 department.

Sorcia flew up on Wednesday from Mexico just for Viernes Negro. Apparently, images of the
Sorcia (on the right) flew up from Mexico City to partake in Black Friday.
gringos 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.

Ready for sweet dreams of cheap laptops...

Photo credit: Snitch collaborator Francisco Barradas

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