Black Friday: Benefiting from the Chaos

By WEEK Reporter

November 26, 2010 Updated Nov 26, 2010 at 11:14 PM CDT

It was like a huge pep rally inside Best Buy in Peoria before the doors opened for Black Friday.

Employees dancing down their own soul train line and pumping each other up to face the huge crowd that waited in line outside some of them for several hours.

"Twelve hours I been here since 5 o'clock in the afternoon. I got my Thanksgiving dinner in a just ran here," Shopper Brandon Doebler.

"We set up a tent, turkey fryer in it to keep it warm playing cards, tables, coffee and energy drinks," said Rick Lukehart, shopper.

There was plenty of energy for the folks who braved cold temperatures waiting for the store to open to get deals on electronic devices.

Ben Craig says "I'm here because I need to buy a laptop, I heard they got cheap laptops. I'm in school. I work two jobs and I pay for everything myself."

At five a-m when the store opened Best Buy employees had a strategy for keeping order.

Best Buy Operations Manager, Mykel Sinnott, said "everybody is going to follow into a single line, depending upon the department that they have such as computers or digital imaging or home theater, then that line will go in front of everybody so that we can get everybody organized into a line for the products that they want instead of just everybody running in and running wild."

At Target Department Store a few yards away employees were enforcing a similar crowd control plan for the huge line that had also formed there. Some shoppers had strategies of their own for getting in and out of stores.

Brandi Peterson, Black Friday Strategist, advises people to "kinda be prepared. We got all our stuff done during the day so we could come and shop and get everything done and wait in line, fight all the people who want to fight us."

"Target has done a really good job on keep it all organized it didn't take that long for us to get through the line," Target Customer, Brandie Stalling.

For what is supposed to be a big sales day it looks like many retailers, and some shoppers have learned from past experience and are managing to keep the fun and good cheer in Christmas shopping.

Financial analyst Joe Stowell says the massive crowds that turned out in the wee hours of the morning here in Peoria is a microcosm for what took place around the nation today.

"One sign that the market will take from today's Black Friday activity is the boost in sales and thus the increase in corporate earnings, but also it's a sense of which direction the economy's going. I think with the participation you saw today and the numbers that were out, this economy is not slowing down at all," Stowell.

According to the National Retail Federation...an expected 138 million shoppers nationwide will hit the stores during the Black Friday weekend...up 3% from last year.

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