Preparing for Black Friday

Motley Fool's Timothy Otte says he got to talking with a senior VP from Best Buy's field operations - no name used - about the way things work on the day after Thanksgiving. As you might expect, there's considerable planning involved, starting eight weeks in advance when layouts are determined and staffing locked in. Two weeks before the big day there's a special weekend sale for rewards customers thatís kind of a dry run. And then...

Black Friday starts at 3 a.m. for a Best Buy manager, who serves coffee and doughnuts to customers who have been camped out for several hours. Doors open at 5 a.m., with the team of employees giving a rousing cheer to the frantic shoppers. For the next 17 hours it's pure retail theater. How does a store manager survive the day? The official line is: They learn to have fun with it, one customer at a time. The inside scoop is that a good pair of comfortable shoes makes all the difference. What will be the hottest items in consumer electronics this season? At Best Buy an early read points to flat panel TVs, notebook computers, portable GPS systems, anything from the Apple iPod line, and gaming systems like the Nintendo Wii.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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