Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday....Shop Till it Hurts

It's a peculiar phenomenon. Every year, retail stores compete with each other to entice shoppers into their stores on the Friday following Thanksgiving. With Christmas being the time most of us spend a good chunk of any money we have on gifts and whatnot...retailers pull out all the stops to try and get you to spend at their stores before you bust your bank account or max out your cards.

Hence there are the super duper door busting special sales. Special is a key word here. The really fantastic bargains are available in limited quantity with no rain checks. What this creates is a horde of hundreds lined up awaiting the opening of a store to buy, say, a plasma T.V. for twenty bucks...when there are maybe two of them in the store. It's called "bait and switch" and is the oldest marketing scam in the book. You have to ask yourself why a retail store, with a warehouse the size of a football field and spending millions on advertising a particular item, would only carry a couple of that same sale item in the store. The answer is simple....get you and your money inside and then separate the two.

I've also noticed another trend...stores opening earlier and earlier. You see, when all the stores open up at the same time people have the opportunity to shop and compare. Can't have any of that because in retail, it's definitely first come first serve when it comes to getting that increasingly scarce consumer dollar. So some stores started opening a bit 6am. Then some started 5am. This year I saw that many were opening at 3 in the morning and I believe a couple even opened at midnight.

I feel sorry for the poor slobs who work in the store. Many years ago I worked at Target and got to experience my first Black Friday event. I worked as a stocker at that time and had spent the pre-opening hours unloading a truck and putting stuff on shelves. The intercom announced that the store was opening and I immediately heard a low rumble. I looked up and saw a crowd of people literally running down the aisle straight toward me. I dived into the stockroom afraid for my life and hoping to stay there for the rest of the day. No such luck. My boss drafted me to run the cash registers and, after thirty seconds of training, I was on the thing until the store closed at night.

I can imagine how much it sucks for employees to be dragged to work so they can open a store at three in the morning, put up with insane crowds of pissed off people who waited for hours to buy a sale item that was gone withing ten seconds of opening. So....if you're going out to participate in the consumer feeding frenzy at the person wearing the red or blue shirt and name tag. No matter how crappy your day is, it's a good bet that theirs is much worse and started much sooner.


Wicked H said...

I absolutely don't get the crazed shoppers. Online deals form me.

Jay said...

For me too!