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Dedicated or deranged shoppers?

Have you ever spent days in line just to shop? That happened here in Austin twice this past week.

First, on Wednesday a new IKEA store opened in Round Rock, a suburb north of the city. Days before the doors were unlocked, people started camping out in the parking lot. As the grand opening neared, more showed up. One shopper from San Antonio who couldn't get off work sent her 72-year-old mother to hold a place in line.

Sheep_herd_3 The night before the store's grand opening, the enthusiastic (yeah, I'm feeling nice today, so that's what I'll call them) felt their tents buffeted by some of the worst winds the area's had in ages -- gusts over 50 mph, bringing in the region's first real cold snap. They put up with sleeping on the ground and crappy weather all just to be the first to buy prefab furniture. Go figure.

OK, the first 100 customers got an IKEA chair worth about $80. I hope they enjoy it. I wouldn't sleep on asphalt for a chair unless it was the throne of England and was delivered by Prince William himself.

Then came the video gamers. A group of them lined up outside a local Best Buy to be the first ones allowed in today to purchase Sony's PlayStation 3. Some queued up as long as two days before they could buy the idiot video game.

Actually, the Austin gamer gathering was quite small compared to others across the country. According to this Scientific American story,  thousands camped out and violence broke out in some spots.

Beware Black Friday: Makes you kind of worry about what's going to happen in less than a week when Black Friday rolls around. On that traditional shopping day after Thanksgiving, hordes of eager customers will descend upon the country's malls and shopping centers.

Shopping Alert! CompUSA is trying to get a head start, opening up Thanksgiving night in case you feel the need to get away from family and pick up some personal electronics.

I'm sure some folks are already readying their camping gear. I hope they have some saner family members who'll drop by the mall parking lot with a turkey sandwich to help them keep up their energy.

An even larger number of shoppers, who somehow manage to restrain themselves and spend the night before in their own beds, will be up and at 'em in the wee hours of oh-dark-thirty next Friday to get through the department store doors as soon as possible.

Y'all enjoy yourselves. I'll be sitting in my comfortable recliner, eating leftovers and browsing the stores online or thumbing through catalogs. I'm not much for shopping in the first place and I'm certainly not for any waiting in line with hundreds of folks who'll soon be shoving and elbowing their way down the aisles.

My money spends just as well (too well, in fact) when I'm most comfortable.

Just curious. Have any of you ever lined up for a sale or store opening? Was it worth it? Do you get a rush from the group shopping experience? Let me know. It's your chance to convince me that I'm missing one of the greatest social consumer experiences ever.


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Never. If you know exactly what you want and where to get it, you can get in and out really quickly on Black Friday, but I'd rather wait until the afternoon or even the next Monday before shopping. Of course, this year, other than gifts for myself, pretty much everything will be done online, since it's going to faraway places.

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