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Monday, November 28, 2011

Black Friday
This is the most dreaded and loved weekend in retail history.  This is the weekend where the rules do not apply.  This is the weekend where mild mannered customers turn into savage beasts in a fight to the death (often times literally).  

Black Friday.

Many people love this “holiday” for the great prices on all the gifts for the holidays.  Sometimes these prices are steals compared to the regular price of the item.  If you can strategically shop the store you might be able to get everything for everyone on your list.

Others, hate this “holiday” for getting up early, lines that wrap around the stores multiple times and the potential to get attacked over a sale item.  It can almost end up being more of a hassle to try and shop on Black Friday and that’s if you can even get to the store early enough to get the hot items that you wanted.

My alter ego unfortunately has to deal with working on Black Friday for one of the major retail chains (red and khaki).  I had the wonderful pleasure of getting up at 1am on Friday and dragging my butt over to the store to hide in the stockroom, filling computer generated batches to go to the floor.  When I walked into the store I couldn’t believe what was going on.  There were more people in the store than I have ever seen.  I had to “disguise” myself by keeping my overcoat on while I walked to the stockroom so that I wouldn’t get bombarded.  To top it all off I had to stay at the store until 11am.  I was very tired to say the least.
I think we all know what Black Friday is.  We all know about the deals and the craziness.  But it never occurred to me why it was called Black Friday.  My store calls in Green Friday, and on the radio I heard stores calling it Purple Friday.  After looking it up I found that the term “Black Friday” was coined because it was the first initial point in the year that the stores were turning pure profit or being “in the black”.  I didn’t bother asking how much that profit was for my store and it was probably some ridiculous number.
The biggest question that comes with Black Friday is, are the deals actually as good as they seem?  Well to be honest, this year my store didn’t have anything that jumped out at me.  The 42’ TV was a Westinghouse.  Can’t say that it’s the best TV in the world.  Even though these deals might seem like the best you can get, often times the deals might not be when you would expect.  For Christmas, a lot of people say that two weeks before is actually better for shopping than Black Friday.  Personally, you’ll have to wait until then to learn my opinion because I don’t know off hand.

On reflection however, it makes sense.  The retailers are trying to squeeze every penny out of its customers so they will take a hit on items during the crunch times to attract the people who steered away from shopping at the beginning of the holiday shopping season.  Super Bowl Sunday is another great example.  You are going to watch football and you are going to want to watch it on a really nice TV.  So retailers will drop the prices and get the football fans to buy new TVs so they can get the best experience from that year’s super bowl.  Retail chains are good at getting people to buy products from their stores.  They wouldn’t survive if they weren’t good at it.
Now, on the flip side the workers have to deal with every crazy customer.  From the lines, to the hectic scramble to get the last of the item that they really wanted.  It can get pretty scary having to work Black Friday.  Lucky for me I was able to hide from the customers in the stockroom.

Customers can get ridiculous when they really want something.  I heard stories of people getting tazed by police at two different stores and I’m sure everyone has heard the pepper spray incident over an Xbox in California.  I also heard there were no charges being pressed but I could be wrong.

Because of all these crazys coming out to shop I think the workers should get holiday and hazard pay.  Many people had to change their holiday plans to come in to work.  These retail companies are making billions upon billions of dollars in one day and they can’t pay us holiday time to help them make those billions of dollars?  I find that there is a bit of a discrepancy with that.  I could go on and on about the errors in retailers ways but I will save you from having to read it.

To sum it up the holiday season can be a hectic time for everyone customer and worker alike.  Please be safe and courteous to everyone so that we can all enjoy the holidays.

Included are links to a couple articles about the holiday season.

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