For die-hard shoppers, Black Friday is the Iditarod of the year: a marathon of holiday buying that requires both stamina and strategy. But the stores that host these shopping warriors also must be prepared. To get an idea of how stores prepare for the onslaught, we braved the crowds at Best Buy's New York flagship store to speak with the company's president, Michael A. Vitelli.
For hard-hitting consumers who plan to hit the stores on Black Friday, all of that Thanksgiving excess goes to work in the service of nabbing great gifts at a discount: the extra calories that seemed almost dangerous the day before are now fuel for harried trips up and down shopping aisles, while the early, turkey-induced bedtime makes it possible to wake up at 3:00 AM to stand in line outside your favorite store.
Some customers start even earlier than that, spending their Thanksgiving Day in the not-so-warm environs of a store parking lot. Across the country, shoppers lined up for 24 hours (or sometimes longer) waiting for their local Best Buy store to open at 5 a.m. Black Friday morning. Vitelli thanks the company's legions of "Blue Shirts" and general managers for making sure everything went smoothly once the doors opened. "It's kind of a really nice type of excitement, not chaos," he says.
Best Buy also limits the number of people in the store at one time on Black Friday, thereby keeping it from getting too crowded and overwhelming for both staff and shoppers.
So this year, as you're rushing to finish your holiday shopping, be thankful for that belly full of carbohydrates, proteins and fats that are keeping you fueled up and for all of those store workers who are making it possible for you to get in and out of the store with your dignity in tact and your holiday gifts in hand.
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