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Low-priced TouchPads draw crowd to Hagerstown Best Buy store

August 26, 2011|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — More than 60 people were standing in line outside of the Best Buy store at 18053 Garland Groh Blvd. at 9:45 a.m. Friday, waiting for it to open at 10 a.m. so they could take advantage of a sale on HP TouchPads.

The TouchPad electronic tablet, that runs the webOS mobile operating system, went on the market July 1 but sold poorly. Last week, Hewlett Packard announced that it planned to discontinue operations for webOS devices, incuding the TouchPad, according to news reports.

Following the announcement, Best Buy slashed the prices of the devices, leading a run on stores and Best Buy's online site.

"They're usually around $600, but today they are selling them for $99," said Manjot Singh, 27.

Singh said he lives in Silver Spring, Md., and drove to Hagerstown at midnight to wait outside the Best Buy store.

"This was the only store within a 150-mile radius that still had the (HP) TouchPads in stock," he said. "I tried every store in the Washington, D.C., area and they were all sold out."

Singh said he heard about the sale from his coworker, Miguel Morales. Morales, 28, said he also drove to Hagerstown at midnight from Hyattsville, Md., with his wife, Efstathia.

"I couldn't even buy the (HP) TouchPads online," Morales said. "I would go to a website, add it to my cart, and then the site would crash. Too many people were online at once."

Singh and Morales said they arrived at the store around 2 a.m. Friday. They were at the front of the line.

At 9:30 a.m., store employees went outside and handed out tickets for the HP TouchPad to everybody in line. Each ticketholder would be allowed to buy one device.

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