We’ve had over ten years experience being Black Friday Shoppers. Granted, our experience was in a smaller town of about 80,000 people. This was our first year Black Friday Shopping in Southern California. After looking through the ads, we decided on two stores. We split up between Walmart and Sears.
My husband’s parents closed escrow on their home and they wanted to get a new television. So they went to get in line an hour before the Sears was scheduled to open. My husband reported that he saw some hostility in some folks standing in line and out of curiosity he walked over to check it out. People were complaining and angry about something and the manager was doing his best to calm them down. He looked at my husband and asked what he needed. Scott kindly backed away and said he was just curious, but wanted to give the manager space to work this out and he returned to his place in line. A little while later, the manager came to my husband and told him to come find him as soon as he got in the store.
He did just that and the manager sold him a better television (worth $900) than what they went for…for $299.99. It wasn’t the television on sale, but he gave him the sale price. See what kindness and respect can do for you?
Meanwhile, my daughter Jessica and I were headed to Walmart in Huntington Beach. The previous years of national horror stories of pushing, screaming, stampeding, and trampling made me nervous. The store was already open when we arrived around 7 pm. We entered the store and although there was a good crowd, it was relatively quiet. We slowly made our way through the store and found EVERYTHING we had on our list. We then found a quiet aisle and waited there for my husband and his parents to arrive. Although we found everything we wanted, the rule was that we couldn’t actually purchase the items until 8 pm. The electronic items were guarded by employees until 8 pm, but the other things could be picked up without being in a line.
We began noticing an increase in voices just after 8 pm. I cautiously peeked around the corner of the aisle and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. I think the people were just excited, but nothing hostile. It’s mind boggling that some communities experience apocalyptic violence just to save a few bucks after celebrating a national holiday to honor gratitude.
photo source Naked Pastor
I made my way up to the front to get a water from the refrigerator at the check stand and noticed the line went to the back of the store. When I got back to Jessica I told her we should just get in line and wait for Scott there. The line spanned 3/4 of the depths of the store. Scott called and said his parents wanted to go home so I offered to drive them. Jessica waited in line and I exited the store. Mom-in-love decided she would attempt to drive themselves home in the 4×4 so I could stay with Scott and Jessica. When we walked back into the store I noticed SHORT lines on more than 15 registers. Why in the world were we made to wait in a line to the back of the store?
Scott got in a line to hold our spot and I went back to get Jessica. Once we got the cart up to the shorter line I noticed about 50 people lining up behind us. We kept a close eye on the check stands and noticed that most of the people looked like zombies, rubbing red eyes and a bit dazed. I started escorting people out of the long line and into each check stand aisle.
People were thankful.
The massive line shortened and the lines were moving much quicker.
We finalized our purchase and took everything to the car, but we still had to get in the line for the 10 pm purchase of the ipad 2. That line was moving at a snail’s pace. No exaggeration. They had 3 registers dedicated to this specific purchase, heavily guarded. I understand the safety precautions and although Scott didn’t get through the line until 1 am, I am glad no one mobbed the doors and no one got hurt. Everyone was respectful.
During the time he was in line, Jess and I went back in to find the same long line again, with 15 registers wide open. We felt like heroes, escorting people to the open registers. They were so relieved and thankful. I think the crowded aisles made it hard for them to see the open registers. We continued to help keep the lines moving along while we waited for Scott. Eventually, the lines disappeared as the store came to a close, but Scott was still in line. So we started helping the employees sort through the ‘go back’ carts.
Hey, we had nothing else to do. Why not be helpful?
Although we had crowds, our overall experience at Walmart on Talbert Ave was an excellent one. The shoppers and employees were kind to us and we were encouraged to continue our Black Friday tradition again next year.
Our experience may have been a rare exception. The Walmart in the video below is a shame. But it’s NOT the Walmart store’s fault. It’s the shoppers. It’s shoppers like these that make national headlines, but it’s the Walmart we went to that should make the front page.
An additional note: I noticed on Twitter that Walmart employees in 7 states were on strike due to poor working conditions and low wages. When Walmart employees are made to put up with hostile and dangerous shoppers, as seen in the video above, Walmart should be paying them TOP DOLLAR to put up with that mob. No Walmart employee should have to risk their safety so untamed shoppers can get a discount on a phone. The Walmart in Huntington Beach impressed me! The shoppers impressed me! They worked together to make the experience as safe and pleasant as possible. This community rocks!
*Disclaimer: Walmart did not ask me nor pay me to write about our experience. I am not an employee nor a relative of an employee.