Best Buy Supervisor TJ Beverly is gearing up for his 14th year working the frenzied Black Friday weekend, and he anticipates to see nearly 10,000 shoppers lined up to get first dibs on discounted products.
“When I worked at the Maryland Parkway location there was a guy that had a tent … and a TV in there,” he said. “You see couches out there. I’ve seen all kinds of stuff.”
Beverly joined his team at the North Decatur Boulevard store last Saturday at 7 a.m. for a Black Friday rehearsal, where employees learned each department’s plan for keeping the shopping experience seamless. Based on overall sales and Best Buy’s internal store performance metrics, the North Decatur Boulevard store ranks in the top 5 percent of Best Buy’s 1,000 national locations, said General Manager Anthony Saunders.
According to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Proper Insights & Analytics, shoppers will spend an average of about $1,047 this holiday season, up 4 percent from last year’s figure of roughly $1,007. Meanwhile, total spending among Nevadans are projected to reach $593 million over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend and Cyber Monday, a roughly 6 percent jump from last year.
Saunders said he grew his staff of 75 to 100 workers and everyone is expected to work on Black Friday.
“Every single employee has to understand how important things like crowd control, product placement and their individual understanding of the holiday readiness plan so when customers come in the building they can expect a world class shopping experience just like they would any (other) time of the year,” he said.
Just like previous years, Best Buy associates will ask customers about the doorbuster items they are looking to purchase and hand them a color-coded ticket representing that specific product. Saunders said the ticket guarantees a customer will receive their merchandise and gives them a relatively stress-free three-hour window to wander the store for additional sale items.
“This is my first Black Friday,” Sales Consultant Jade Otto said. “It seems interesting—people have to go around (the store), there’s going to be balloons and tickets. I’m like, ‘Woah, it’s a whole celebration.’ It’s going to be intense.”
Otto moved here from Phoenix in September and said her previous retail experience was as an associate at PetSmart so she’s “used to wearing the blue.”
“The holiday season in PetSmart was busy because everyone is trying to get their dog food, but not like thousands of people so it’s going to be exciting,” she said.
Saunders said he usually sees his first holiday shopper Sunday afternoon.
“By the time we get to Tuesday and Wednesday it will be past our building,” he said. “It’s an event now. It’s almost like a tradition and we love that because it allows us to really feel the holiday approaching.”
Best Buy Back Office Lead Nicole Nacy said after 21 years with the company she’s learned organization is key, describing it as “organized chaos.”
Nacy admits she misses her family when she’s working during the holiday but the time flies by.
“I miss my family because I do have a family at home, but we tend to celebrate before Thanksgiving,” she said. “I love working the holiday. The customers are great, the energy is great. It’s a fun atmosphere if it’s done correctly.”
Sales Consultant Derek Ritsch, a recent transplant from a Wisconsin town of 70,000 people, said he feels well-prepared for his first Black Friday shift.
“Recently, I helped someone get every single video game, the consoles, everything and to me that’s cool to meet so many different families and make their holiday,” he said. “Everything is pretty much the same as normal business there’s just a lot more people in here.”
Other retailers also swelled their ranks with seasonal staff. Target announced early September it would hire more than 130,000 temporary employees while Macy’s Inc. would add about 80,000 temporary associates at its Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores.
North Summerlin Kohl’s Store Manager Bryan Stanley said he’s “absolutely” planning to hire additional staff. Companywide, Kohl’s said it’s hiring about 90,000 seasonal workers.
“I brought on 65 new associates for the seasonal hiring period, and we’ll continue to hire really right up through the first two weeks of December, just bringing new people on to help with all of those crowds,” he said.
Stanley said on a usual day he’ll schedule 40 employees but for Black Friday, the figure will triple to about 120 employees. Even with the extra hands, he said customers still feel the store is understaffed.
“We’ll have every register open (and) people all over the sales floor either getting products or replenishing products,” he said. “Customers will feel like there’s a line, but it’s not due to something not being open or us not trying to get people through. It’s just so many people that end up coming at one time period.”