Doorbusted: Greed is Good?

I couldn’t decide which clever title I liked, so I just created a new category for my retail rants.  Black Friday has come and gone and the holiday shopping season has begun.  This past Friday, millions of stores across the nation from hundreds of retailers participated in the biggest shopping day of the year.  Yours truly was present for his sixth year in the retail tradition and it was the second time I’d been in the store I work in to see the madness unfold from the beginning.  The only differences than the time in 2007 when I opened was that I wasn’t in the job position I’m currently in and the store I worked for opened six hours earlier at midnight.

Now, the idea of opening at midnight seemed like a great idea at first, mostly because my shift would be over early in the morning.  If midnight openings sound unappealing, our competitors were opening at 9 and 10 PM on Thursday to try to get the lead start in having the most sales.  While I understood the business decision behind our store opening earlier, it bothers me that the retail industry is so ruthless that several companies don’t care about cutting people’s holiday travel plans and family gatherings short just to make a couple extra dollars.

Although the buildup to the big event can be tedious, stressful and complex, the payoff and the day itself are exciting.  First and foremost, I’d like to thank Steaz for their amazingly delicious energy drinks.  Without them, I would have had a more difficult first six hours of my shift than I would have wanted.  Anyway, the initial rush was awesome to watch all these people run into our store in an orderly fashion and then get them out as quickly as possible.

The first three and a half hours were super busy, fast paced, intense and fun.  After 3:30 AM, there was a break in the action that allowed our store to catch up, clean up, and get prepared for part two of the mayhem.  Although the store picked up with traffic again, it wasn’t until after I left at 10 AM.  Yes, for seven and a half hours, it was borderline dead and I was falling asleep standing up.

This was the problem that I’m sure all retail stores faced on Black Friday, opening at a ridiculously early time and traffic dying out almost as quickly as it got busy.  You really have to question who was going to go shopping at 4 or 5 in the morning.  The answer is essentially no one.  Was it a convenience to open early and remain open for 23 to 26 hours?  Sure.  Was it going to be economically stimulating at these hours to keep shopping?  No.

The initial rush was the only thing stores could count on.  After that it, was anyone’s guess when business would pick up again.  It was certain to get busier, but during the lull in the action, it was a little disheartening to see all this anticipation of consistent craziness go down the tubes.  Hopefully next year, retailers will think practically and open a little bit later to retain a consistent amount of shopper traffic all day long.  That’s the goal, isn’t it?

Lets face facts: where retailers could see they made mistakes opening earlier than the previous year, some won’t learn from it and open even earlier than that next year.  Soon there won’t be Thanksgiving anymore, it will just be Black Thursday/Friday.  Eventually, stores will start having their Black Friday sales on Wednesday and the holiday will be completely abolished.  Don’t believe me?  Don’t be surprised in a year from now if my blog title is called “Doorbusted (insert number here): I Told You So.”

In conclusion, good luck shopping, don’t treat retail employees like crap and don’t be assholes.  Happy holidays, everyone.