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Black Friday: In Burbank, strategic shopping and some self-made NBA

November 25, 2011 |  6:16 am

Black Friday shoppers last year lined up at the Target store at the Burbank Empire Center for deals
Outside the Target store at Burbank Empire Center, Gus Elias and his friend Arbi Moghadasian quickly figured out what was -– and wasn't -– worth trading for.

The pair had been waiting outside since 4:30 a.m. Thursday, taking shifts to go home to Thanksgiving dinner, and were first in line when the store was set to open at midnight for its Black Friday sale.

"Even if you give me a thousand bucks, I'm not going to give you my spot, said Elias, 48, of Sun Valley, who shoved his hands in the pockets of one of the two hoodies he was wearing under his jacket.

But he was happy to shell out $30 to a "good Samaritan" willing to give up a voucher for a 46-inch Westinghouse television selling for $298 at Best Buy. Elias passed the voucher to another friend waiting at the nearby electronics store, who already had two other vouchers for 24-inch Dynex flat-screen televisions.

At the Best Buy, waiting shoppers were treated by the retailer to a large-screen showing of Harry Potter movies before the store's midnight opening. But out of sight around the corner, North Hollywood resident Javier Ortiz, 20, and three friends were busy talking strategy.

Ortiz didn't have a cellphone, but assured his pals that they'd have no trouble locating each other in the soon-to-be swamped store.

"We'll just wait by the registers like we always do," Ortiz, 20, said. "It's not hard to find you. You're all wearing the same sweater."

And it was true -– each had the same diamond-print sweater from Macy's in a different color. They'd stood in line freezing for four hours hoping to score not the big-ticket items but dozens of $8 Blu-ray discs and video games, such as NBA 2K for Playstation.

With the NBA lockout continuing, the wait was worth it, said Jaime Paz, 20, who said he planned to "make [my] own games happen."


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-- Dalina Castellanos and Tiffany Hsu

Photo: Shoppers last year lined up at 3 a.m. at the Target store at the Burbank Empire Center for Black Friday deals. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times