If you think it’s nuts to wait in line for a few hours to take advantage of Black Friday deals, wait until you meet the shoppers who are camping outside stores over a week before sales start.
More than one observer has said that strip malls in Texas and Florida bear some resemblance to the “Occupy” protest movements. A local TV station in St. Petersburg, Fla. reports that a young couple has already set up camp outside a Best Buy in order to be first in line for the store’s Black Friday deals. The couple arrived on Monday—a full 12 days before Black Friday.
Another young couple in North Texas is planning on camping for a mere 10 days outside a Best Buy store. Brandon Vanderstelt, a 20-year-old with a nose ring and apparently plenty of time on his hands, is accompanied by his wife on the campout. The two have decorated their tent with a cardboard sign reading “Occupy Best Buy.” Who can find the time to protest the system, after all, when there are deals on electronics to be had?
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What would possess people to spend more than a week sleeping outside on a hard concrete sidewalk? The answer in both cases is—drum roll please, and warning that this could be interpreted as a sign of the apocalypse—TVs.
Vanderstelt has his eye on one particular model on sale:
“It’s an $800 TV for $200, so we figured people would be out here really early, and that’s a deal we didn’t want to pass up,” he said.
Likewise, in Florida, Christina Orta is enduring nearly two weeks in the elements to snag a TV for cheap:
“I’m interested in the 42″ and the 55″, but mostly the 55″ that’s similar to the one right up here,” said Orta pointing up at a 55″ Samsung.
Several shoppers have already begun camping out behind Orta and her friend. Imagine that: You could sleep outside a store for more than a week and still not be the first in line.
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For the shoppers’ sake—and also, for the sake of my sanity and faith in the future of the human race—let’s hope these people are somehow being paid by Best Buy.
Brad Tuttle is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @bradrtuttle. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.