Just hours after Thanksgiving dinner, Black Friday shoppers are already lining up

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As of 8:30 p.m. Thanksgiving night, a line of about 20 shoppers had already formed outside the doors of the Bel Air Best Buy in the Harford Mall Annex. They were likely hoping to get in on the Black Friday deals for a 32-inch LCD HDTV for $479, a $189 desktop computer or a $379 laptop when the store opens at 5 a.m. (We saw that a line of about the same size had also formed outside the White Marsh Best Buy when we drove by there about 15 minutes earlier.) A few in the Bel Air line had set up tents. One group of about four at the front of the line had a card game going. Although the mall management and Bel Air police chased away shoppers lined up here for PlayStation 3 just a week ago, it didn’t appear that the police had been called as of 8:30 p.m. Thursday. As I reported in an earlier post, a Baltimore Sun story quoted police as saying the mall has a policy against allowing shoppers to camp out on the property. I’ll be curious to see if that gets enforced tonight. I spied just one couple setting up their chairs in front of the new Office Depot store at the opposite end of the complex. I guess they were hoping to get in on the $800 plasma TV or the $399 laptop when the store opens at 7 a.m. Since the kids had dozed off the back seat, my husband and I decided to check out Circuit City in the Tollgate Shopping Center. As of 8:30 p.m., there was a group of only about five people lined up there. But Circuit City got a little cheeky with it’s Black Friday deals. On its website, it calls them “Unadvertised Friday Specials” and shows four HDTVs between 40 and 50-inches, but doesn’t reveal their sale price, saying only they will be sold for at least 40 percent less than their retail price. We were surprised to see no one in line outside Abingdon’s Wal-Mart, which is advertising a 42-inch plasma HDTV for $988 when the store opens at 5 a.m. But the store had cordoned off an area immediately in front of the doors with rope, so I imagine they were expecting the shoppers would soon arrive.