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TWICE On The Scene: Black Friday At Best Buy

Best Buy’s 45,000-square-foot Manalapan, N.J., location. The store bulked up with 16,000 extra SKUs before the long holiday weekend.

A queue of 1,200 customers wrapped around the building by 3 a.m., when tickets for limited-quantity door-busters were handed out. Police arrived the night before to help control the crowd.

Store managers were on hand hours before opening, including, from left, Anthony Boneventa, Frank Baeli, Pat O’Connor, general manager Roman Zielonka and Christina Birro.

Managers O’Connor, left, and Zielonka make their final checks. The staff held a full rehearsal the Sunday before, playing out various customer scenarios and timing the checkout flow using live cash registers.

General manager Zielonka delivers the pre-opening pep talk. The sales goal for the day: $1.5 million.

The cashier crew. Blue shirts put in 12-hour shifts and managers worked around the clock.

Michael, 17, was first on line, staking his turf on Wednesday afternoon with a folding chair and a blanket. His objective: a discounted laptop for Mom.

The first wave of customers hit the floor at 5 a.m.

Michael makes his way to the computer department.

The video department fields its first customer.

Zielonka mans the door, controlling traffic flow by admitting customers in small bursts.

A shopper secures his Black Friday booty, in this case a Western Digital external hard drive and a TomTom PND.

Mission accomplished for Michael.

Assistant manager Jeff Mayes helps direct the checkout traffic. He dons a different Thanksgiving-themed costume each year.

Assistant manager Jeff Mayes helps direct the checkout traffic. He dons a different Thanksgiving-themed costume each year.

By 6 a.m. the checkout queue snaked through the appliance, office furniture and music departments, extending to the store’s back wall.

Shekhar and his son Jay prepare for the journey home with their new 42-inch HP LCD TV. The pair arrived at midnight and said the crowd began to grow rowdy around 2:00.

The aftermath: Clean-up crews later tackled the empty coffee cups, abandoned blankets and makeshift tents.

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