Thanksgiving: Sales’ Most Chaotic Week of the Year

5 Dec

Thanksgiving break always brings a smile to my face; thinking of all the food, family, football and the holiday music is such a peaceful and serene environment. That’s why when I saw my friend Daniela rush through the doors, barely saying hi to anyone and then rushing back out, this felt so out of place and I was just extremely confused. I asked her mother what was wrong and she responded, “Oh, this happened last year; this is just her busiest week. Don’t worry, I’ll save her food for Saturday.”

Daniela works for the Customer Service and Marketing department for a J.C. Penney’s in Louisiana. When I finally got to talk to her on Saturday, she looked just like I did after all my finals last year. I asked her why she was so stressed out on such a relaxing holiday, and she just uttered almost in disgust the words “Black Friday.”

She explained to me how much has to happen for a business to have a successful Black Friday and how everyone needs to be on the same page. Her week starts off by having her boss send a letter that corporate sends out about the expectations and procedures that will happen on Black Friday. They then have a meeting with all the workers that will work during that Friday to discuss all the sales and how to manage long lines and other situations special to this extremely chaotic day. Then, she told me the reason she works so much on Thanksgiving Day is to set up the store so that it attracts more customers and have easily accessible to all the deal. She explained to me in a very simple way: There are deals everywhere on “Black Friday,” the way you get a lot of customers is by how you communicate to them and make them find out how great your deals are. It really is true–the businesses with the most effective communication, both internally and externally, will have the most success by bringing in customers. Business is all about communicating, and the ones that are most successful at doing so are the ones most likely to succeed. Next time I go to a mall, I know I will look out to see how all the different stores try to communicate to me to try and get me to go inside and potentially purchase something, something I had previously overlooked.

by Luis Rivera


3 Responses to “Thanksgiving: Sales’ Most Chaotic Week of the Year”

  1. Elisabeth Green December 7, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

    Luis, my aunt is a manager at J.Crew, and her Thanksgiving is very similar to your friends’. I have spoken to her about the chaos before, during, and after Black Friday, and communication really is the key to success. When every employee is on the same page, with the same incentives and goals, the store has a much better chance of running smoothly. If the employees can effectively communicate internally, external communication becomes a lot easier. With special discounts, there is room for miscommunication, but if the store and employees communicate a consistent message to their customers, Black Friday does not have to be the most chaotic day of the year.

  2. Katie Bush December 12, 2011 at 4:32 am #


    I really appreciate you writing this article because it brings up some valid points about communication and about marketing strategies. My brother works for an Apple Store, and headed to bed early on Thanksgiving to prepare for the expected chaos of the following morning.

    This year, many stores opened at midnight or early in the morning (4 am) which I had not heard of before. Because each store has incredible competition from other companies’ deals, they must all attempt to gain these customers. What are stores communicating, however, about the importance of holidays? If shoppers stay up all night, are they really able to enjoy the Thanksgiving with their families? And if employees spend all of Thanksgiving setting up for these sales, do we even have a holiday, or a “day off” anymore?

  3. Jake Lazarus December 12, 2011 at 6:01 am #

    I was just very interested to hear about Black Friday from the perspective of an employee. I never have thought of holiday shopping in that light. I always just thought of all the stampedes, long lines, and huge sales. I didn’t stop to think of the fact that the businesses who are most successful with their communication are the ones that end up having these huge lines. While these huge lines are miserable for consumers, they mean that the marketers for these companies did a better job of persuading people to shop here instead of the competitors, and business is good!

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