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Camille Doty

By Camille Doty
Nov. 24, 2011 at 5:24 a.m.

Casting a long shadow on the sidewalk in front of Best Buy, Jasmin Olivares talks with George Valasquez and Charles Palmer, who claim honors as the first in line, arriving at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. When asked why he would endure the long wait, Palmer laughingly replied, "Being poor brought us out."

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The early bird gets the worm. And in this case, the electronics, too.

Charles Palmer waited since 6:30 p.m. Wednesday - yes, Wednesday - for Best Buy's midnight opening on Thursday.

"I want to be No. 1," he said. He got his wish.

The 61-year-old Cuero resident wanted the Sharp LCD 42-inch flat screen television. Although everyone in his family wasn't too keen on the idea of him missing Thanksgiving dinner.

"My wife didn't want me to come, but we're talking three to four hundred dollars in savings," he said.

Palmer and other Crossroads residents camped out at the Victoria Mall to take advantage of the consumer electronics retailer.

Cost-conscious shoppers are in line early to get the golden ticket from Best Buy. Other stores, such as Walmart, opened at 10 p.m. Thursday to gain traction over the competition.

Kelli Nevarez didn't have to sacrifice her holiday meal. The 19-year-old Victoria College student said her family is bringing her a plate from Palacios.

Her list includes items for other relatives.

"I want everything," she said.

Last year, Nevarez said she had a 50-percent savings by arriving early.

Doris Pardy celebrated the holidays with her brother in Victoria. She and her family began their Christmas shopping crusade at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

The Pardys had lawn chairs and blankets for comfort, playing cards for recreation and leftover dinner rolls for nourishment.

Pardy, of Shiner, wanted to get two $179.99 laptops for her teenage daughters.

"Hopefully, we'll get at least one," she said.

Her 15-year-old daughter Shanan Pardy jokingly said, "I don't want to share."

Pardy said even if she buys both computers, Shanan and Hailey Pardy will have to wait 31 more days.

"They're not getting them until Christmas," she said.

As for Charles Palmer, he hasn't had a real meal in 24 hours. Potato chips were sufficient.

He and nephew Mario Henderson have served as a support group for each other by taking turns out of line.

"Somebody has to hold down the fort," Palmer said.

Henderson and Palmer set up a shelter out of boxes they found in a dumpster to protect themselves against the elements. The make-shift design wasn't full-proof.

"We froze out here last night, and we're burning up today," Palmer said.

Henderson said he's not shopping early for leisure, but out of necessity. The electrician said he wants two flat-screen televisions.

Henderson, a Cuero father of two, said he hasn't received a raise in years at the chemical plant where he works.

"I'm planning to spend my money wisely," he said.

Palmer, a father of six, is not there to entertain his out-of-town relatives. But rest assured, they will be at his home when he returns.

It won't be the end of the world for Palmer if his family doesn't save him any turkey, potatoes or chocolate cake.

"I'm 260 pounds," he said, "I could afford to lose the weight. But I will be enjoying my new TV."



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