Monday, November 19, 2007

black friday

Best Buy stores hold Black Friday rehearsal
6:23 PM EST, November 19, 2007
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Digg Facebook Fark Google Newsvine Reddit Yahoo Print Single page view Reprints Reader feedback Text size: Images of customers rushing glass doors, lines of shoppers snaking around buildings at pre-dawn hours and stores crowded and chaotic with bargain hunters are all part of the lore of Black Friday.

But in recent years, retailers have been planning a little better to manage the potential havoc of competitive shoppers out for a deal. Best Buy is one such retailer. Over the past weekend, about 100,000 Best Buy employees participated in a Black Friday dry run, complete with simulated customer lines and shopping scenarios.

"We plan way ahead of time how the stores are going to operate," said Mary Ann Claps, a Best Buy district human resource manager. "We want to make sure everyone in the store knows what their role is. It has to run like clockwork."

Just to capture the importance of Black Friday for retailers, think Super Bowl, suggested Steven Hill, general manager of the Commack Best Buy.

"Just like a football team, if you're running to the right, the blockers need to know which way to block," he explained. Except Best Buy's employees don't aim to block anything; rather, their goal is to orchestrate an orderly flow, managers said.

At Sunday's rehearsal at the Commack store, about 115 employees got a glimpse from the other side and compared standing in an unmoving line to one that was in constant motion. After gathering to hear the overall game plan, staffers broke down into smaller groups to discuss "how to deal with multiple customers at once, product placement and servicing the customer from beginning to end," said Michael Basile, Geek Squad CIA, who will be working in the computer section handling installation and protection plans.

This year will be Basile's first working Black Friday, but he doesn't have the jitters because, he noted, he also will have team members alongside through the day. "Everybody knows their role and how to execute that plan when the time comes," he said.

While Basile's Best Buy teammates have got his back, Geoffrey McIntee's colleagues have had fun attempting to unnerve him.

"All my co-workers have been trying to scare me, telling me about the lines going around the store," said McIntee. "Actually I'm more scared than ever."

Then, taking a moment to consider Sunday's weekend rehearsal, he said, "actually, we'll have more cashiers on hand and it won't be so bad."

Not too long ago, retailers didn't do much in the way of coordinating employees for the Black Friday onslaught. "It was open up the flood gates and hope for the best," said Greg Port, a Best Buy district services manager, as he recalled Black Fridays at other retailers more than two decades ago.

Both outside and inside Best Buy stores, employees will be equipped with balloons on Black Friday to mark the end of the line. Other workers will answer questions about products and hand out maps and coffee for shoppers who have lined up hours before the 5 a.m. opening time, Hill said. Inside, staffers guide customers who need directions to their desired electronic gear and other employees are prepared to make impromptu presentations if enough people express interest in a particular item.

Will Evers, a manager for Best Buy Mobile, described his earlier Black Fridays working at other retailers as an "unorganized mob scene" with "no traffic flow."

"Here, it's like customers will know where they're going," he said. "People will be guiding them."
Cyber Monday: Internet version of Black Friday
Cathryn Creno
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 19, 2007 07:20 PM

If you're too stuffed to brave the long lines that lead to in-store deals on Black Friday, there's always Cyber Monday.

The Monday after Thanksgiving is considered the official start of the online holiday shopping season. Nearly 55 percent of office workers with Internet access are expected to shop for the holidays from work this year.

"Retailers have stepped up their game to compete," said Scott Silverman, executive director of, a branch of the National Retail Federation, which studies online retailing trends. The group says nearly 75 percent of Web retailers will offer deals next week. advertisement said shoppers can expect e-mail promotions, one day-sales and, from 25 percent of Internet stores, free shipping.

This year has created a Web site,, that contains links to and information about online deals. Proceeds from the site go to scholarships.
Black Friday (shopping)
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This article addresses the United States shopping event called Black Friday. For other uses, see Black Friday.
Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, where it is the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season. Since Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States, Black Friday may be as early as the 23rd and as late as the 29th day of November. Black Friday is not an official holiday, but many employers give the day off, allowing consumers to get a head start on their Christmas shopping. Retailers often decorate for the Christmas season weeks beforehand. Many retailers open very early (typically 5 A.M.) and offer doorbuster deals and loss leaders to draw people to their stores. Although Black Friday, as the first shopping day after Thanksgiving, has served as the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season at least since the start of the modern Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, the term "Black Friday" has been traced back only to the 1970s. "Black Friday" was originally so named because of the heavy traffic on tha
t day, although most contemporary uses of the term refer instead to it as the beginning of the period in which retailers are in the black (i.e., turning a profit).

The news media frequently refer to Black Friday as the busiest retail shopping day of the year, but this is not always accurate. While it has been one of the busiest days in terms of customer traffic,[1][2] in terms of actual sales volume, from 1993 through 2001 Black Friday was usually the fifth to tenth busiest day.[3] In 2002 and 2004, however, Black Friday ranked second place.[4] The busiest retail shopping day of the year in the United States (in terms of both sales and customer traffic) usually has been the Saturday before Christmas.[5] In 2003 and 2005, however, Black Friday actually did reach first place.[6]

In some cities it's not uncommon to see shoppers lined up hours before stores with big sales open. Once inside the stores shoppers often rush and grab, as many stores have only a few of the big draw items. Electronics and popular toys are often the most sought after items and may be sharply discounted. Because of the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, many choose to stay home and avoid the hectic shopping experience. The local media often will cover the event, mentioning how early the shoppers began lining up at various stores and providing video of the shoppers standing in line and later leaving with their purchased items. Traditionally Black Friday sales were intended for those shopping for Christmas gifts. For some particularly popular items, some shop these sales in order to get deep discounts on items they can then resell, typically online.

1 Origin of the name "Black Friday"
1.1 Stress from large crowds
1.2 Accounting practice
2 Black Friday on the Internet
2.1 Advertising tip sites
2.2 Cyber Monday
3 Buy Nothing Day
4 References

Origin of the name "Black Friday"

Stress from large crowds
The earliest uses of "Black Friday" refer to the heavy traffic on that day, an implicit comparison to the extremely stressful and chaotic experience of Black Tuesday (the 1929 stock-market crash) or other black days. The earliest known references to "Black Friday" (in this sense) are from two newspaper articles from November 29, 1975, that explicitly refer to the day's hectic nature and heavy traffic. The first reference is in an article entitled "Army vs. Navy: A Dimming Splendor," in The New York Times:

Philadelphia police and bus drivers call it "Black Friday" - that day each year between Thanksgiving Day and the Army-Navy game. It is the busiest shopping and traffic day of the year in the Bicentennial City as the Christmas list is checked off and the Eastern college football season nears conclusion.

The derivation is made even more explicit in an Associated Press article entitled "Folks on Buying Spree Despite Down Economy," which ran in the Titusville Herald on the same day:

Store aisles were jammed. Escalators were nonstop people. It was the first day of the Christmas shopping season and despite the economy, folks here went on a buying spree. . . . . "That's why the bus drivers and cab drivers call today 'Black Friday,'" a sales manager at Gimbels said as she watched a traffic cop trying to control a crowd of jaywalkers. "They think in terms of headaches it gives them."

Both articles have a Philadelphia dateline, suggesting the term may have originated in that area.

Accounting practice
Look up in the red, in the black in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.Most contemporary uses of the term focus instead on the theory that retailers traditionally operated at a financial loss for most of the year (January through November) and made their profit during the holiday season. When this would be recorded in the financial records, once-common accounting practices would use red ink to show negative amounts and black ink to show positive amounts. Black Friday, under this theory, is the beginning of the period where retailers would no longer have losses (the red) and instead take in the year's profits (the black). (Retailers' profitability varies, but some retailers are indeed dependent on the holiday season for their profits.) This sense has been traced back to a November 26, 1982, broadcast of ABC News' World News Tonight, which said:

Some merchants label the day after Thanksgiving Black Friday because business today can mean the difference between red ink and black on the ledgers. But this year hefty sales are vital not only to the stores but to the entire economy.

Because the heavy traffic etymology is contemporaneous with the earliest known uses of the term, while the black ink theory apparently was not suggested until several years later, the accounting practice origin is unlikely to be correct.

Black Friday on the Internet

Advertising tip sites
Some websites offer information about Black Friday specials up to a month in advance. The text listings of items and prices are usually accompanied by pictures of the actual ad circulars. These are either leaked by insiders or intentionally released by large retailers to give consumers insight and allow them time to plan.

In recent years, some retailers (including Wal-Mart, Target Corporation, Best Buy, and Staples, Inc.) have claimed that the advertisements they send in advance of Black Friday and the prices included in those advertisements are intellectual property and protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Using the take down provision of the DMCA, these retailers have threatened various web sites who post Black Friday prices to the Internet in advance of the intended release date by the retailers. This policy apparently derives from a fear that competitors, in addition to customers, will also have access to this information and use it for competitive advantage. The actual validity of the claim that prices are protected intellectual property is uncertain as the prices themselves (though not the advertisements) might be considered a fact in which case they would not receive the same level of protection as a copyrighted work.

The benefit of threatening Internet sites with a DMCA based lawsuit has proved tenuous at best. While some sites have complied with the requests, others have either ignored the threats or simply continued to post the information under the name of a similar sounding fictional retailer.

===Wal-Mart and Black Friday===

Although Wal-Mart advertises a store opening at 5:00AM Black Friday, the store is open for customers to browse and to secure tickets for special items of limited quantities i.e. laptops, and other heavily advertised items starting at Midnight on Black Friday.

Cyber Monday
Main article: Cyber Monday
The term Cyber Monday, a neologism invented by the National Retail Federation's division, refers to the Monday immediately following Black Friday, which unofficially marks the beginning of the Christmas online shopping season.

In recent years, Cyber Monday has become a busy day for online retailers, with some sites offering low prices and other promotions on that day. Like Black Friday, Cyber Monday is often wrongly said to be the busiest shopping day of the year for online shoppers, although in reality several days later in the holiday shopping season are busier.

Buy Nothing Day
Main article: Buy Nothing Day

Buy Nothing Day is organized by Adbusters magazine, intentionally as a counter-act to "Black Friday". Originally organized in Vancouver in September of 1992, in 1997, it was moved to this Friday in North America. Outside of North America, Buy Nothing Day is celebrated on the following Saturday. Occasional discussion has pointed out that, because of the anti-action of the event, it is very easy for people who are avoiding shopping on this day to "observe" the protest.

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Nov. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- For the first time ever, Wal-Mart is moving the traditional "Black Friday" shopping event up one day early, aiming to catch early-bird shoppers as the turkey hits the table.

Also today, Wal-Mart announces one of its "Secret In-Store Specials," available this Friday -- a KitchenAid Classic Stand Mixer for $139 - and posts on-line its entire "Black Friday" advertising circular, full of great savings on hundreds of items.

Three Days of Black Friday Deals, Starting
-- Online Thursday: On Thanksgiving Day, shoppers can go to
o find online specials on many of the
season's hottest items in electronics, toys, apparel and home, with
free shipping through its Site to Store program. While on the site
Thursday, shoppers also can see Wal-Mart's Friday "Secret In-Store
Specials" -- additional savings not in the circular and available in
stores the next day.

-- In Stores Friday: From 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. Nov. 23, Wal-Mart stores will
ring in huge savings on traditional Black Friday offers advertised in
its circular and through its "Secret In-Store Specials" revealed
online. Friday's specials will be available while supplies last. Also
on Friday, will reveal a new set of "Secret In-Store
Specials" available Saturday through Sunday.

-- In Stores Saturday: Beginning Saturday, Nov. 24, at 8 a.m., shoppers
can grab savings on a totally new set of "Secret In-Store Specials"
available while supplies last through Sunday. In addition, many items
advertised in Wal-Mart's Black Friday circular are also available
through Saturday.

"It's time to expand 'Black Friday' into three full days for the millions who want this convenience and need these savings," says John Fleming, chief merchandising officer, Wal-Mart Stores U.S. "With strong preparations and more registers open than ever before, we're looking forward to welcoming America into our stores."

-- Motorola H670 Bluetooth Earset -- $24.87 (nearly 60% savings)
-- Zune 30GB MP3 Video Player -- $98.87 (nearly 25% savings)
-- Garmin Nuvi 650 Portable GPS System -- $298.87 (more than 30% savings)

Examples of "Black Friday" circular savings in Wal-Mart stores offered Friday, 5 a.m. through 11 a.m. include:

-- Polaroid 32 inch LCD HDTV -- $448 ($100 savings)
-- Polaroid 42 inch LCD HDTV -- $798 ($400 savings)
-- Sony Cybershot Camera (7.2 MP) -- $79.87 ($50 savings)
-- 8 inch Digital Picture Frame -- $49.84 ($50 savings)
-- Garmin Street Pilot c330 GPS -- $128.88 ($50 savings)
-- Select Toys for just $10 -- such as the Transformers Bonus 2-pack,
Little Mommie Bedtime Baby, Chicken Dance Elmo, Scene It Jr. DVD Board
Game, and Moon Sand Sandcastle (savings up to 50%)

Not One, but TWO Fridays This Week

Because these moves may change the way power shoppers view the week, Wal-Mart has petitioned Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal at London's Royal National Observatory, to declare that Sat., Nov. 24 also officially be named a "Friday," giving the week two actual "Black Fridays" as deserved.

"There are various kinds of shoppers and some don't want to go out on Friday, but by Saturday most people want to get out of the house and they still want to be able to save like their friends did the day before," said Fleming. "We're providing that opportunity for an additional 'Black Friday' event, all over again."

About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Every week, millions of customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam's Club locations across America. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally. Wal-Mart is proud to support


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