Reporting Vince Gerasole
CHICAGO (CBS) – In tight economic times every penny counts, which may help explain the growing popularity of Black Friday.
In fact, people are starting to line up outside stores three days early.
The deep discounts of after-Thanksgiving sales attract thousands of sometimes aggressive shoppers, but one retail chain is targeting safety concerns.
CBS 2′s Vince Gerasole reports that managers at Target are asking shoppers to put on the brakes.
At a calm and orderly Target store on Broadway on Tuesday, managers discussed Black Friday etiquette.
“We don’t want people pushing and shoving. We don’t want people running,” manager Sunda Obendorf said. “A lot of people strategically plan where they are going to go. … It is really becoming almost like a sporting event for some folks.”
Ironically Targets black Friday Ad campaign features an over-anxious shopper plotting a Black Friday strategy of Olympic proportion – training like an athlete and running through a Target store.
If someone like that shows up, Obendorf said, “I’m gonna ask her to slow down.”
At stores across the country, the waiting line has become the starting line for the mad dash for big bargains.
Asked what she’s heard about how people behave on Black Friday, Ravenswood resident Zuloy Mihalec said, “Oh, horrible. I heard that they step all over you, they push you.”
At Target, if you run to save $250 dollars on a flat screen TV, store employees will warn you to slow down or leave.
“If someone gets a little over-anxious, we’re just gonna ask them to slow down a little bit,” Obendorf said. “In the same way that – on a playground, if you will – you would ask children to not roughhouse and slow down, we ask guests to do the same thing.”
Target is also handing out store maps with the locations of some of its most popular door-busters.
“The electronics department is always really, really busy,” Obendorf said.
It’s all in an effort to please and control shoppers.
“We’ll do something a little bit different this year. It’s called metered entering,” Obendorf said. “We’ll let in small groups of guests. … To make sure that it doesn’t become really, really chaotic.”
Target also said it will announce to people in line when door-busters have sold out, as soon as the information is available.