Tag Archives: Black Friday

How to Handle the Black Friday Rush

It’s the best time of the year to find those deals and to get away from the family during the Thanksgiving Break; it’s Black Friday (or Black Thursday, just depends on the store). Here are some ways to make your shopping more enjoyable.

Make your spending budget right now!

You can’t just go into the store and buy whatever you want. You’ve got to remember that you are either taking care of a family or going to college (hopefully it’s here at Radford).  You don’t have the pockets of Bill Gates or of our current president, Donald Trump. So get what you really want for yourself or what you need to finish the Christmas list (put the Christmas list first, Mom and Dad will love your gift of a new coffee machine).

Maybe just stay on the sidelines and wait until Cyber Monday

Black Friday is not good for your health, especially with all of the tramping on people and that good stuff. So, staying at home doesn’t look all that bad. Especially when you can get the same deals on Amazon and you  don’t have to travel to Walmart to get tramped on.

Get ready to see these crowds on Black Friday; photo from fortune.com
Get ready to see these crowds on Black Friday; photo from fortune.com

If you go out to the stores, create a plan

If you are one of those brave souls that goes out to the stores on Black Friday, may I for one, wish you good luck. The second thing would be to create a game plan and practice (Practice? We talkin about practice- Allen Iverson) your plan. Okay, you don’t have to practice but try to create a plan to avoid the crowds as much as you can.

It’s not the end of the world if you miss out on Black Friday

If you do miss out on the madness, no worries. You still have Cyber Monday and deals before Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Of course, you will miss out on doorbusters but you will still find great deals throughout the holiday season. Don’t forget to support your local businesses on Saturday, the day after Black Friday.

Finally, just remember to take your wallet to the store and have fun shopping for that TV that’s going to be outdated in two months.




Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Being Liberal

I always make a great effort to show that I’m not just another liberal sheep spewing back what MSNBC tells me to think. Don’t get me wrong, I think Rachel Maddow is a fantastic human being — but I’d be lying if I said everything was fine and dandy within the Democratic party. To finish off the semester with a bang, it’s about time I took a shot at my own and maybe slapped a little sense into somebody out there. Continue reading Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Being Liberal

Black Friday: Heaven or hell?

The day after Thanksgiving is known as “Black Friday” and has been around for many years. Normally, Black Friday involves different retail stores opening around 6 a.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving with spectacular sales on their items. Even though retailers lower the price of their items anywhere from 30 to 90 percent, this is the day of the year they make the most money. Continue reading Black Friday: Heaven or hell?

Creeper Thursday: Why I didn’t shop

I’ve always been a big fan of Thanksgiving as its own distinct and unique holiday. I loved the kindergarten feasts where we all dressed up in construction-paper Pilgrim hats and grocery-bag Indian costumes, and hand turkeys were one of the few art forms I had complete mastery over. Even today, I live for the return of my great-grandmother’s pumpkin pie recipe and my uncle’s world-famous green bean casserole (who knew the addition of hard-boiled eggs could be so randomly delicious?). On the day itself, I get up early to watch the entire Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and go for my special Thanksgiving-morning run. I love visualizing every house busily absorbed in meal preparations and general holiday merriment — traditions being followed and created all over the place. Continue reading Creeper Thursday: Why I didn’t shop

From our perspective: Lay off, fat man

Every year, it seems the holiday season starts a little earlier than the last.  Stores are stocked with Christmas decorations by Halloween and seasonal music can be heard before Thanksgiving.  Even the holiday shopping season kicked off earlier than usual.   We at Whim believe the holiday season needs to stay with its proper time of the year before it begins to lose its meaning and significance. Continue reading From our perspective: Lay off, fat man

Yes, they are tracking you, shoppers

This Black Friday, some malls opted to track customers using their cellphone signals. The system allowed the mall to follow customers from one store to another, gathering valuable data in the process.

The two malls who used this planned cellphone tracking to gather data on their shoppers were Promenade Temecula in southern California and Short Pump Town Center in Richmond. They used a system called Foot Path developed by British Path Intelligence.

The system tracks the movement of shoppers in real time and records it on a computer system for later access. It does this through a series of antennas placed throughout the mall. These antennas intercept an ID signal from cellphones as users move about the mall. Once the signal is received, each phone is coded with a random anonymous number, preventing users from gathering any personal data on shoppers. This allowed the malls to get a idea of where people are shopping.

To further alleviate privacy concerns, the malls posted signs alerting guests their movements were going to be tracked. On top of that, the system had no way to take pictures or record what people were paying for and how.

Photo from Creative Commons.

Knowing where and when people shop is a big money industry, especially on days like Black Friday. It’s important to vendors to see where people shopped after being at their store and even more important for malls. It allows malls to keep an eye on foot traffic and spot any dead spots in the mall that aren’t doing well. Ultimately, following shoppers movements comes down to money.

Malls have been tracking shoppers for years, this is just the first time they have used cellphone signals as a means to do it. In past years they have used anything ranging from heat sensors, to security cameras, to undercover researchers who follow shoppers from store to store.

When compared with how shoppers were tracked on Cyber Monday, following people’s movements seems almost benign. Every purchase a shopper makes online will be recorded along with where they bought that item. Then some company out there using that data will tailor and add every shopper directly to their IP address.

The tracking will not stop once you finish shopping. For however long the tracking cookie remains on your computer, it will monitor and then report back where and what shoppers visited. The phone method of tracking doesn’t seem bad at all when compared with the invasive nature of cookies.

What shoppers and anyone should get from all of this is knowing where you go and what you do is big money. This means someone or something will always, at the very least, see where you go. This is just part of living in the cyber age.

Black Friday woes

When I think about Thanksgiving I think about food, football and my family. More importantly, I think about everything I’m thankful for in my life, which is what the holiday is meant to be about. Over the years I’ve noticed that more people are getting on the Black Friday bandwagon, and I’m afraid that Americans in general are beginning to forget what the meaning of Thanksgiving really is.

I first noticed this over the five years I worked retail. Every year the lines got longer, customer demands were higher, and we opened our doors earlier. Then it hit rock bottom this year, when stores started announcing that they’d open their doors on Thanksgiving Day for Black Friday deals. People camped out at the Best Buy near my house over 48 hours before Thanksgiving even started. On Thanksgiving, Facebook told me that six of my friends posted about Thanksgiving while 17 posted about Black Friday. I see where our priorities are, America.

Apple Store on Fifth Avenue on Black Friday in New York. Photo from Creative Commons.

Even if you haven’t experienced Black Friday firsthand, I’m sure you’ve seen videos of it and have heard stories about it. Mobs of people line up outside of stores then charge through the doors the moment they open in order to beat the crowd and get miniscule deals on things we want but really don’t need, like designer clothes, TVs and fancy soap. At least those are my fondest memories of America’s favorite consumer holiday.

Those Black Fridays were the most miserable times of my retail career. One year I had two jobs at the mall and had to work over 24 hours because of the midnight madness. There were moments when I was pretty sure I was going to die. There also were moments when I was pretty sure I was going to kill a customer. Let it be known that I am the ultimate people pleaser. I would bend over backwards for customers to make sure they got what they wanted and I never got commission for it. But these Black Friday shoppers can’t be pleased. Retailers will run out of things, customers will get angry and all hell will break loose. Nobody can help these greedy monsters.

Black Friday Campers on Thanksgiving Day. Photo from Creative Commons.

Not only are people greedier, but they’re meaner, too. The Detroit Free Press reported that at least 24 people were injured in a series of incidents at retailers (primarily Wal-Marts) on Black Friday. The most notable was the incident at a Wal-Mart in California, where a woman pepper sprayed about 20 other customers supposedly to get an Xbox game.

Our society is beginning to value possessions more than we value our loved ones, and it’s disgusting. Thanksgiving is supposed to be about being thankful for everything we have, especially the people in our lives, and not about going out and buying new things. Let’s be thankful for what we have instead of constantly wishing we had more.

Black Friday Tech Survival Tips

Black Friday is the best time of the year for one to get gadgets and devices at discount prices. There are some key things that are required if one hopes to get what they want. With prices on some key items already dropping, compounded with the normal Black Friday sales, competition will be intense.

Crowds waiting to check out on Black Friday. Image from: http://www.insidesocal.com/

The first key thing is to find the sales. Not all stores will be having sales on items that a consumer may want. It is important for you to find where the sales are and what the best deals are. This can be achieved through a number of different ways. The easiest is by going the classic route of ads in the newspaper. The other and sometimes more rewarding option is to check Web sites of various retail stores. Sometimes on their Web sites they have specials that are not always advertised in the newspaper ads.

Prioritize what is most desirable. One has to be willing to accept that it will be hard to get everything. Instead just focus on what is wanted the most and allow the rest to be a nice bonus. Having a primary and secondary sale item that you focus on allows you to avoid getting distracted by other lesser items which will be on sale as well. With thousands of people crammed into a store fighting for the same few sale items it is not a bad idea to plan out ahead of time the fastest path to the desired product. It may be ideal to shop in groups, that way buyers can be certain to at least get a few items on their list.

Get there ahead of time. Not just a few hours ahead of time a day or so ahead of time, would be ideal. It is certain that buyers will be at the front of the line when the store opens for its sales. That way it is key during this period to stay in place no matter what unless, there with a group. Leaving a spot forfeits that spot unless someone is willing to save it. This is why groups are ideal, allowing a great deal of mobility to make bathroom and food runs.

Keep yourself entertained. This one is key. People can only stave off boredom for so long. Handheld gaming systems can help one hold out during the long haul. Hours can be passed in what seems to be minutes when playing some of the more difficult games offered on many handhelds. These don’t have to be recent handheld systems; one can go retro. In fact, that may be preferred. No need to recharge batteries, just pop in some more double AA’s and away you go. Battery powered portable DVD players can also help kill the time. Laptops are good not only for wasting time, but also for keeping an eye on opening times as well as any last minute online.

Follow the tips above and buyers can be certain to get the sale items they want. There are probably plenty more tips and tricks to surviving Black Friday. The ones above are just basic ones. Feel free to share any of your own survival tips in the comment section.

Panick at a store opening on Black Friday