Guys Wait Two Days for Best Buy to Open

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With an estimated 132.9 million Americans expected to hit the stores for holiday sales, Michael Villarelli and Rick Terrio have spent the last two days waiting for a Best Buy in Manhattan to open.

BILL WOLFF (Announcer): From NPR News in New York, this is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT.

(Soundbite of music)

RACHEL MARTIN, host:

Good morning. This is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News. We bring you news, information, and, today, a little game theory that might help solve the ongoing writers strike.

Hi, I'm Rachel Martin, in for Alison Stewart today.

MIKE PESCA, host:

Hi, I'm Mike Pesca, in for Luke Burbank. It's Friday, November 23rd.

MARTIN: Which means it's the day after Thanksgiving

PESCA: Yes.

MARTIN: …which is when a lot of people what?

PESCA: Digest for a day.

MARTIN: Yes, they do.

PESCA: And yesterday, you know, football - thanksgiving means football, speaking of game theory.

MARTIN: For a lot of people except me, but a lot of people like you watch football.

PESCA: Yeah, I watched my favorite team, the Jets, who are apparently a lot better at harassing their own female fans than are harassing Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

PESCA: So that was no fun, so the Detroit Lions always play, the Dallas Cowboys always play, but for a couple of years now, the NFL network has been offering a game through the country a night game. And so you might think, hey, there's this thing called the NFL networks, all - NFL network. All it is, is a network full of NFL; I'm an NFL fan, so I should love…

MARTIN: It sounds like my dream come true. Yeah

PESCA: …the NFL. Yeah, it's actually a nightmare because what the NFL network does is they say, hey, we have all these games, and we're going to be showing them and you, the NFL fan, guess what? You can't watch them.

MARTIN: Well, can't you pay or something to get access to them?

PESCA: No, what it is, is they're in this big fight with the cable companies. It's complicated, but they have the games and they want the cable companies to pay them, so they hold the games hostage. And they said, well, with all these fans who want to watch these games, they're going to have to get their cable companies to buy our network.

And who's caught? I mean, you know, the NFL was established 35 years ago, the immaculate reception to catch all that stuff. I realized now what it was; it's just the drug dealer getting us hooked until they could lower the boom with the NFL network.

MARTIN: Well, it's your own fault for being addicted to such shenanigans.

PESCA: Exactly, it's my own damn fault.

MARTIN: Mm-hmm. Well, I'm glad you got that out this morning. I'm glad we allotted time for that.

What are we going to talk about today?

PESCA: Well, today, as you say, it is the day after Christmas.

MARTIN: Yeah.

PESCA: No.

MARTIN: Or Thanksgiving.

PESCA: No, that's in correct, yeah. So…

MARTIN: I know it feels like Christmas is around the corner because people are shopping like maniacs.

PESCA: Yeah, I sometimes get confused when the Russian Orthodox Christmases, but I'm pretty sure it's never on Thanksgiving.

MARTIN: Yeah.

PESCA: Today, we'll be talking about lurking. Lurking is when you go on a blog and you just read it, and people who run blogs don't like lurkers, and a lurker will come out of hiding to defend the practice of lurking.

MARTIN: Okay, we're also going to talk to NPR's Bob Mondello about new movies.

But first, before we do that, here's the BPP's big story.

So, as we told you, today is Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. Starting today nearly a hundred and thirty three million Americans are expected to hit the stores for the holiday sales this weekend, and we've got one of them on the line with us who got a head start.

PESCA: Hey, is this Rick Terrio?

Mr. RICK TERRIO: Yeah, how are you doing?

PESCA: I'm good, Rick. Here's who Rick is: Rick waited outside a Best Buy store right around the corner from the BPP office. He was waiting there since Wednesday. He was the first guy on line, and where are you right now, Rick?

Mr. TERRIO: I'm about two people away from actually purchasing my stuff.

PESCA: So how long was the shopping experience? How long did it take to shop?

Mr. TERRIO: It's probably going to look like it's going to end up about 32 hours and 30…

PESCA: Oh, my God.

MARTIN: Wow.

PESCA: And what's the take? What'd you get?

Mr. TERRIO: What'd I get?

PESCA: Yeah.

Mr. TERRIO: I ended up getting a laptop, a TV, an F.M. radio, a GPS system, some blank DVDs, some regular DVDs, and some video games.

PESCA: That GPS system would have told you that you were, for the last 36 hours, in the same place, on line, outside of Best Buy, so was it worth it?

Mr. TERRIO: Oh, yes, so far.

MARTIN: Well…

PESCA: What do you think the total savings was if you had paid retail for this stuff?

Mr. TERRIO: Oh, I've already done all that work. It came out to 1,400.

PESCA: Fourteen hundred dollars you saved?

Mr. TERRIO: Yup.

PESCA: Oh, wow.

MARTIN: But, Rick, what was - not get too economical here, but what's the opportunity cost of that measured against an entire day - more than a day -that you sat outside? Maybe you could have been doing something else, make a little money? It doesn't matter; it was the experience? Was that why you did it?

Mr. TERRIO: Unfortunately, I cannot make $1,400 in a day.

MARTIN: Well, that's…

PESCA: Right.

MARTIN: That would be good.

PESCA: Right, for a day, that's how it would work out. If you're, were earning more than a thousand a day and you had to give that up to be on line, it wouldn't be worth it. But if you're under a thousand dollars a day, you know, if you earn less than a quarter million a year basically, this is a good economic decision for you.

Mr. TERRIO: Exactly.

PESCA: Let me ask you a question: Are you on Best Buy's payroll, and I'll tell you why I ask that. Are you by the way?

Mr. TERRIO: No, I am not.

PESCA: Because, yesterday, as people would come by, you and your friend Michael were first on line, and there was a big line after you, and as people would come buy, they would ask you, hey, what's going on? And you would tell them, oh, it's Best Buy sale and they would quiz you about it, and you wound up being the information officer for Best Buy. You gave out so much Best Buy information I thought they should be paying you after a time.

Mr. TERRIO: You know what, I'm going to have to run that by the management before I leave here.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. TERRIO: I agree.

PESCA: Maybe an extra 10 percent off. And then people will also come by because I guess you guys were getting so many questions. You had fake signs like this was a line for Britney Spears tickets, and then you would tell them what you were really for and as I was - I stopped by yesterday to chat, people would, for some reason, start asking you, hey, do you know if Camp USA has a sale? Hey, what about Circuit City? And for some reason…

Mr. TERRIO: I became the Black Friday guru yesterday.

PESCA: But you had all the answers at your fingertips.

Mr. TERRIO: Well, I've been - we do this every year, so I knew about a month ago what everybody's sales were.

MARTIN: Wow.

PESCA: And does Best Buy have the best bargains?

Mr. TERRIO: Yes, exactly, that's why I'm here.

PESCA: How many people were on line, do you think, by the stores opened at…

Mr. TERRIO: By the time the store opened, there was probably like 350 people on line.

PESCA: Wow. And you were first out of 350; that's fantastic.

Mr. TERRIO: (Unintelligible).

PESCA: Will all those - do you think all those people will get a shot at the discounts or do they just have a limited number of laptops and big screen TVs?

Mr. TERRIO: Yeah, exactly. They got a limited number of pretty much everything that's good here.

PESCA: Oh, it's…

MARTIN: Rick, I've two questions for you. First, are you going anywhere else today? Is this it for you; you're just taking your stuff and going home?

Mr. TERRIO: I'm going home and eating breakfast.

MARTIN: Right. Second question, were these gifts for people for Christmas or is this haul just for yourself?

Mr. TERRIO: No, this is my day.

MARTIN: This is your day. You do your Christmas shopping on another day?

Mr. TERRIO: Yeah, mostly during the month of December, I'll do it, like, week-by-week.

MARTIN: Okay.

Mr. TERRIO: So this is all my shopping for the year.

MARTIN: Well, you're the one who waited outside, so I guess…

PESCA: Do you pay retail ever?

Mr. TERRIO: Exactly. What?

PESCA: Do you ever pay retail?

Mr. TERRIO: I - it's - don't like you, but occasionally I have to.

PESCA: All right.

MARTIN: Rick Terrio…

Mr. TERRIO: My heart is not to.

MARTIN: …dedicated shopper - die-hard shopper shall we say?

Mr. TERRIO: Yes.

MARTIN: Thank you so much. We really appreciate you being with us.

Mr. TERRIO: No problem. You have a good day.

MARTIN: That's the BPP's big story.

Now, I'm going to walk you through even more of the day's headlines.

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