Tag Archives: black friday

Walmart Encourages Grinch Accusations

WalMart NerdWalmart is a corporation that generates strong opinion. Unions — and their wholly–owned subsidiary the Democrat Party — view Walmart as a rapacious corporation run by brutal overseers whose overriding goal is exploiting the working class.

Many Republican officeholders view Walmart as a corporation run by a bunch of cheap so–and–sos who won’t make large campaign contributions and hire refugees from the Clinton administration.

Unions hold annual protests just prior to Black Friday and attempt to convince millions of shoppers that the largest private employer in the US might have low prices, but it’s only because the corporation harvests employee organs to sell on the black market.

The protests are held nationwide and union employees, rented homeless and liberal voyeurs demand the corporation pay full–time employees a minimum of $25,000 per year. Democrat officeholders show solidarity by attempting to pick the corporation’s pocket with minimum wage laws that give government the power to tell business how much employees should be paid, without government having any responsibility for the bottom line.

It’s vote buying through extortion.

In the Nanny’s Republic of Washington, DC animosity toward Walmart was so high the city council passed a bill amusingly titled the Large Retailer Accountability Act. (I wait in vain for the Bad Leftist Ideas Accountability Act.) The bill would’ve required Walmart to pay 50 percent more than the city’s current minimum wage. In fact the amount was more than the minimum wage the DC government pays its employees!

Fortunately for Walmart shoppers, the mayor vetoed the bill.

So one might ask at a time when Walmart is viewed as a penny–pinching, soulless exploiter of the down–trodden, why would a store manager in Canton, OH arrange a crèche of plastic bins in the breakroom with a sign that read: “Please Donate Food Items Here, so Associates in Need Can Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner.” I suppose it beats letting them dumpster dive, but the optics are bad.

When it comes time for the 2013 Bad Public Relations Ideas nominations, this will be hard to beat. Why not invite Occupy Wall Street to provide entertainment at the next stockholder’s meeting?

This only feeds the narrative of Grinch–like exploitation that the MSM, unions and Democrats work so hard to tattoo on Walmart’s corporate hide.

Even regular Walmart shoppers have mixed emotions. Just thinking about it conjures up associations with domestic drama in the parking lot, unfortunate fashion choices and dangerously high customer BMI.

Who hasn’t experienced that all too common Walmart shopping experience? You can’t find the item you want and you can’t find an employee to direct you to it. (I just assume all the on–duty workers are either manning the cash register or in back passing the hat.)

Even cemeteries have a higher ratio of employees to customers than your average Walmart store.

Which brings us back to: When there is such a cultural divide in opinion regarding your business, why do something that reinforces the negative side?

In fairness to the manager, the charity display was in the employees–only section and not outside next to the Salvation Army kettle, but regardless of location once the media becomes aware the damage is done.

And sure enough, anti–Walmart organizer Norma Mills, quoted on Cleveland.com, observes, “That Walmart would have the audacity to ask low-wage workers to donate food to other low-wage workers — to me, it is a moral outrage.”

When you compare this to Walmart’s profit in 2012, $17 billion, and the net worth of the Walton family, $144 billion, even the most dedicated shopper can’t help but wonder why the company can’t toss a turkey leg to deserving employees.

Unfortunately, the majority of that profit has been used in recent years to buy back Walmart stock, which is essentially financial onanism that creates nothing and only serves to enhance the value of stock the Walton family owns.

The WaPost had a story about a woman and her daughter who were struggling and homeless much of the time. The Post, as usual, ignores the choice the woman made that created the problem: having an out–of–wedlock child, a sure path to poverty. (This by the way is not blaming the victim. The victim is the child and none of it’s her fault.)

After that bad decision, the woman worked hard to turn her life around. She finally landed a job with the YMCA and found an apartment she could afford on her salary, but she couldn’t save enough for the security deposit.

Management at the Y heard about her problem and instead of asking the towel boys to hold a car wash for her, the Y gave the woman a salary advance and she got the apartment.

In the Cleveland.com story, spokesperson Kory Lundberg defends the company. “This is part of the company’s culture to rally around associates and take care of them when they face extreme hardships.” But that is not completely true. It is part of employee culture, not management culture.

According to Lundberg the company has a program called the Associates in Critical Need Trust. Walmart workers can receive grants of up to $1,500.00 to “address hardships they may encounter, including homelessness, serious medical illnesses and major repairs to primary vehicles. Since 2001, grants totaling $80 million have been made.”

Here’s the problem: Walmart takes credit for the charity and the concern, but it’s paid for by payroll deductions from the workers. Walmart needs to stop dunning employees for this money. The corporation should provide all the funding.

That way the company is really buying into Lundberg’s “culture.”

It is simply good business practice for management to demonstrate real concern for the staff. Putting the corporation’s money where the corporate mouthpiece is will go a long way toward blunting future attacks on the company. And that will help everyone — management, employees and stockholders.

Wal-Mart Whiners–30 Million Willing to Work Your Job

no whining

CBS New reported today on the Wal-Mart employees who plan to protest on Black Friday. You can read the whole article but let me just share a few snippets:

Dan Hindman has worked at a Wal-Mart near Los Angeles for four years. The former employee of the month, who makes $9.80 an hour, says he is scheduled to work on Black Friday but does not plan to show up.

“Wal-Mart needs to learn that it’s not fair how they treat us,” Hindman says.

The protesters want minimum hourly pay raised to $13, more full-time work and less-costly health care. Next year, their insurance premiums will jump by as much as 36 percent, as Wal-Mart scales back its contribution.

He says his schedule was cut to 15 hours per week when he joined a group of Wal-Mart employees who favor unionizing. He lost custody of his four-year-old son when he could no longer support him.

“So I lost my son and I’m kind of regretting working for Wal-Mart, but I have to provide, you know?” says an emotional Hindman. “It’s the biggest retailer in the world, and you can’t help me provide for my son? It kills me, dude. It really tears me apart, big time.”

Dude. Seriously? You are blaming Wal-Mart for your woes?

The first time I heard about the Wal-Mart protest I admit to feeling a bit sorry for the guys. After all, they might only get half of Thanksgiving Day off. But, then I remembered, this is nothing new. Wal-Mart and other stores have been turning back their opening time for the Black Friday sales for years. And there is a good reason they do it. People come. Simple enough. But they are also trying to adapt to the internet shoppers, finding a way to bring customers in to their stores while fighting against the ease of online shopping.

When you took the job you knew the store would be open. How is it any different from bank employees knowing they can’t be closed more than three days in a row so they have to be open on the Friday after Thanksgiving? No different from firefighters, policemen, and hospital workers who signed on knowing that their employer was open 24/7. They might have to work an undesirable shift. No different from the guy who works at a 7/11 or Circle K…heck, what about a 24 hour drug store? When you agree to work at these places you do so with the knowledge that there are days you will be scheduled when you’d rather be home. It’s life.

To the second part of your complaint: You think you should be paid more to do an unskilled job? Why? If you want to make more money you can either take a more challenging job that others don’t want or you can go back to school and/or get some training. Nobody says you have to get a college degree, there are many training programs available and even some OJT programs that pay as you learn. Wal-Mart and other department stores should pay what the market will bear. Remember, there are 30 MILLION other people out looking for work. Why should Wal-Mart pay your sorry butt more money just because you don’t think it’s fair?

Every job I’ve had has had a salary range. When I got to the top of the salary I had to make a decision did I want to stay in that position with little chance for increase or did I want to make a change, take supervisory classes or learn a new skill?

Is it Wal-Mart’s fault that you aren’t working enough hours to care for your child? It used to be that single parents often had to work two jobs to take care of themselves and their kids. Sure it’s tough. But good grief, it’s not the store’s fault that you need to make more. Get out there and find a second job. This is real life. Don’t sit there waiting for somebody to come bail you out.

Dude.

Survey: More Than 40 Percent of Consumers Will Shop for Last-minute Holiday Gifts

More men than women to delay holiday shopping until January 2012

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 12, 2011 — Following a blowout Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping weekend, many consumers will continue to hit the stores through the final days leading up to Christmas, according to survey data from PriceGrabber®, a part of Experian. Results from PriceGrabber’s fourth winter holiday shopping survey reveal that 41 percent of consumers plan to shop between Dec. 21 and Dec. 24 for holiday gifts. This data comes on the heels of a successful Thanksgiving weekend for retailers, during which PriceGrabber experienced a 15 percent increase in site traffic compared to 2010. Conducted from Nov. 17 to Nov. 30, 2011, the survey includes responses from 13,472 U.S. online shopping consumers.

Many last-minute shoppers are hunting for bargains
When those consumers who plan to shop at the last minute were asked to select all of the reasons why, 43 percent said that they believe the best discounts can be found during this time period. Another 43 percent of consumers indicated that they are busy and unable to finish their shopping earlier, 26 percent admitted to procrastinating, 22 percent believe it is fun to do last-minute shopping, and 10 percent are waiting for a year-end work bonus to begin shopping.

“After observing the increase in activity and sales of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping season this year, we expect to see a significant percentage of consumers seeking to prompt retailers to offer additional savings throughout December,” commented Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber. “Savvy shoppers saw retailers rolling out discounts as early as the week before Thanksgiving this year, and they are staying on top of last-minute incentives that are certainly on the horizon in the coming weeks.”

Consumers will buy a combination of high- and low-price-point items
When asked what type of gifts they plan to purchase at the last minute, 53 percent said they intend to purchase both big- and small-ticket items, 31 percent will buy only small-ticket items (under $100); 10 percent will purchase all of the holidays gifts on their list, and 6 percent will buy only big-ticket items (over$100).

More men will delay holiday shopping until January
While most consumers plan to complete their holiday shopping before Dec. 25, PriceGrabber’s survey found that 9 percent will wait until January to purchase holiday gifts. Men and women differed in their plans, with 11 percent of men saying they will wait until January to buy gifts and only 8 percent of women planning to do so.

When those consumers who will delay their holiday shopping until January were asked to select all of the reasons why, 68 percent said that they believe sale prices are best in January, 27 percent plan to use gift money received during the holiday period, 24 percent simply prefer shopping in January, and 11 percent plan to wait for a year-end work bonus to make purchases.

Daily deal sites begin to make mark on last-minute shoppers
According to PriceGrabber’s survey, a notable percentage of shoppers are turning to daily deal sites for great last-minute prices, with 27 percent indicating that they plan to shop for last-minute gifts on sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial.

Those consumers who plan to use daily deal sites will do so largely in hopes of finding a bargain.  Fifty-eight percent of respondents indicated they are trying to save money on gifts and like the discounts available through daily deal sites; 22 percent enjoy the great holiday deals on local services in their area; 13 percent said they liked being able to share great deals with family and friends, especially during the holiday season; 4 percent prefer to give experiential gifts and believe local deal sites offer the best options; and 3 percent are intrigued by the hype around local deal sites.

Wanna See A Breakdown In Society? Look No Further Than Your Nearest Grocery Store


While CDN is primarily considered to be a political website, I contend that mundane aspects of our culture can sometimes be a part of the equation that get overlooked.  One of the issue that’s been on my mind lately is how we treat each other publicly.  If the last couple of decades were known for being overly “P.C.”, then I fear this next decade could be the decade of “naked aggression” towards one another.

An act as simple as going grocery shopping has become stressful and unpleasant for many over the last few years.  Our fellow motorists on the road have long been a topic of discussion in our country, but now I see hostilities and conflict extending beyond the pavement and the stoplights.  Now the grocery store and even the parking lot itself seem to be unsafe havens in our world today.

Last Saturday, I began my (weekly) show, Married to the Game, with observations on what it’s like to go shopping in Southern California.  Below, I’ve combined some of that commentary with pictures and video that I took from a Walmart parking lot, both out of frustration and in an attempt to share with other people what I’ve been witnessing.  Ultimately, I’d love to get a conversation started in this country about how we can go back to better conducting ourselves and being “better citizens” in public.  But until then, you can find entertainment in my pain in this video below.

So what are your thoughts?  Am I just crying over misplaced shopping carts?  Are there bigger problems in the world?  Or is this video indicative of our “EBT” and “OWS” culture?

Also… In the video, I discuss how this has encouraged me to do more shopping online, thus costing local stores my business.  As more and more people seem to shop online, what effect do you think this has on our communities?

Let us know in the comments below. (or on Facebook)  This is a topic I believe we should all think more about.

Disturbing Find in Walmart Clothes

We’ve heard the warnings for years about the dangers of Halloween Candy.
We’ve read the emails of various odd attacks targeting specific people happening around the country.
So much of the time, these things are hoaxes.
This, however, is not a hoax.

Some customers at a Georgia Wal-Mart were stuck with hypodermic needles hidden in clothes on Black Friday. I would say it’s a bit more than disturbing.


video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Black Friday Weekend Retail Sales Increase 1.9 Percent, Foot-Traffic Down 1.8

CHICAGO, Dec. 1, 2011  – Black Friday weekend is shifting to encompass days prior to the big shopping event, with stores seeing more foot-traffic beforehand.

According to ShopperTrak — the world’s largest provider of retail and mall foot-traffic counting services — more customers shopped the Sunday before Thanksgiving than the days following Black Friday. Both Black Saturday and Black Sunday showed year-over-year losses in retail sales and foot-traffic, which caused the entire Black Friday weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) to realize a 1.9 percent sales increase and 1.8 percent decline in foot-traffic when compared to the same period last year. The week leading up to Black Friday (ending Nov. 26), however, saw a 4.4 percent increase in sales, when compared to the same week in 2010. Black Sunday (Nov. 27) also saw a 1.7 percent decrease in enclosed mall foot-traffic, compared to the previous Sunday (Nov. 20).

“Retailers offered door-busters and other pre-holiday specials earlier in the Thanksgiving week to ensure they had the best opportunity to capture value-conscious shoppers,” said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin. “Our customers have access to real-time traffic information, and they succeeded in taking share earlier than they had in past years. As we’ve noted over the past few months, retailers who focus on converting shoppers into buyers with effective marketing, adequate staffing and a positive customer experience will be the most successful when the season ends.”

Day-by-day results

Black Friday sales increased 6.6 percent over the same day last year, representing $11.40 billion in retail purchases and the biggest dollar amount ever spent during the day. Retail foot-traffic rose by 5.1 percent over Black Friday 2010. Both sales and foot-traffic, however, declined as the weekend continued.  Compared to the same day in 2010, Black Saturday sales dropped 4 percent, and people counts declined 9.6 percent. Sales were slightly better on Black Sunday, dropping only 2 percent year-over-year, while foot-traffic dropped 8.7 percent over Black Sunday 2010.

“Black Friday is only one day in a 60-day holiday season cycle,” added Martin. “After a record-breaking day, consumers experienced some natural fatigue.  We believe retail sales and store foot-traffic will regain the momentum generated on Black Friday as we head into the prime time for holiday season shopping.”

ShopperTrak predicts five of the biggest shopping days of the season will occur in the week leading up to Christmas weekend: Dec. 17 (Super Saturday), Dec. 18, Dec. 19, Dec. 22 and Dec. 23. ShopperTrak also forecasts Dec. 3, Dec. 10 and Dec. 26 as high sales days. Taken together, eight of the top 10 sales days of the year are yet to come.

Weekend performance across the country

When viewed by census regions, the West outperformed the rest of the nation with more foot-traffic and sales than any other region. The South also ranked high in sales, but, unlike the West, fewer Southern shoppers spent more per trip; the region ranked last in foot-traffic on some days.

The Midwest and Northeast alternately ranked third and fourth in foot-traffic and sales throughout the weekend.

“There is still a lot of time left in the holiday shopping season,” said Martin. “The most successful retailers will pay attention to foot-traffic patterns and make appropriate adjustments to convert shoppers into buyers.”

ShopperTrak measures foot-traffic in more than 25,000 stores in the United States and analyzes this data in a proprietary econometric model to create its National Retail Sales Estimate™ (NRSE) of general merchandise, apparel and accessories, furniture and other sales (GAFO).

Tonight on the Dark Side w/Kira Davis, 11/27…

Tonight on the Dark Side we’ll talk about the news of the week and Black Friday.  Do you have a Black Friday war story to share? Call in tonight.  Also Mr.Davis will call in to talk football to appease all you football fans out there.  I’m sorry! In my world pigskins are for eating…I’m doing the best I can here!

Come over to the Dark Side tonight at 10 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. Pacific.

We Survived Another One – The Origin of Black Friday




Tony Branco’s cartoon about “Black Friday” got me thinking (a very rare event I might add). He illustrated OWS protestors being overrun by shoppers. One of the overrun OWS protestors held a sign which said, “Black Friday is Racist!” That sign caused me to do some research. And speaking of OWS and “Black Friday,” this DJ Redman article says it all.

Today, retailers recognize the day after Thanksgiving as the first day of the Christmas shopping season, and refer to it as “Black Friday.” The idea that the day after Thanksgiving marks the official start of the holiday shopping season may be related to the Santa Claus parades, such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, held on Thanksgiving Day starting in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The “black” refers to the ink accountants used (before the advent of computers) to record profits, as opposed to red ink indicating losses. Note that, revenue wise, this is NOT the best day. The two days before Christmas (for all of us procrastinators) are the most profitable days. But this source tells a different story. In an effort to make it a day that shoppers wanted to avoid, the Philadelphia Police Department gave that name to the Friday after Thanksgiving. In 1966, “Black Friday” was born. The police hated the day – massive traffic jams, overcrowded sidewalks, lots of shoplifters – all because downtown Philly stores were filled with shoppers taking advantage of holiday sales. It wasn’t until 2004 that the term began to be widely used by retailers.

So where is the racism? Well, this source claims to see racism. “Once again, the racist Republican corporate fascists have conspired together to cast negativity on people of color. You’d think it’d be enough that racist Republicans celebrate the racist holiday of Thanksgiving by “giving thanks” to their bigoted ancestors for stealing from, oppressing, and murdering Native Americans, right? Wrong. They have also decided to use the biggest shopping day of the year, the day after the racist Thanksgiving holiday, to formulate yet another racist conspiracy. In this overtly racist act, they’ve decided to call the day after Thanksgiving ‘Black Friday.'” If you choose to read what this source is saying, I think that you will agree that its rhetoric is ridiculous and “over the top.”


Occupy Skew

Not too long ago the Twitter account for Occupy Denver posted this little gem of wisdom:

Captioned by @OccupyDenver: Ah, such hypocrisy in America..."profits over people" is the American motto. #OccupyDenver #Occupy #OWS http://pic.twitter.com/2o2cgCwU

Even my fourteen year old, publicly educated, child could see the flaw in this. They point to a single day event, sponsored and encouraged by private business owners, on their own property, as being similar to multi-month protests on public property with massive public cost and no benefit to even those attending.

Let me beat commentators to the punch. There have been reports of violence at Black Friday events all day today; some by shoppers, by robbers,  Occupy groups, and some by police. All together, they do not total near the violence and damage done by occupiers in the last few months. An estimated 152 million shoppers managed to be better behaved than a couple of hundred thousand Occupy protestors.

I will be the first person to stand up for the right to peaceably assemble, but Occupy has far surpassed any reasonable definition of “peaceful”, and their message, if it is the one above, just keeps proving to have less and less merit. The cost of the Occupy movement has taken it’s toll on cities nationwide and their days are numbered. Luckily, they are killing their own movement with ridiculous “messaging” like the effort above.

 

Black Friday Tips for Savings & Sanity

YONKERS, N.Y., Nov. 23, 2011 — Next to the Saturday before Christmas, Black Friday ranks as the seminal shopping day of the season. Yet a recent analysis by Consumer Reports’ and Decide.com, a website that tracks electronics products and pricing, reveals that the day afterThanksgiving isn’t necessarily the optimal time to get the best deals on many products.

A recent analysis of prices from the mid-November to mid-December period in 2010, conducted with  Decide.com, showed that in a significant proportion of cases, the lowest prices of the season on the included items were not on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the day following the Thanksgiving weekend. For example, more than a quarter of the recommended TVs and cameras were at least 5 per cent cheaper between Cyber Monday and December 13 than they were earlier, including during the Black Friday weekend. With laptops, the resulting data indicated that consumers would have been at least as likely as with TVs and cameras to save on recommended models by waiting.

“There’s no doubt you can score some incredible bargains by getting up extra early or staying up past your bedtime to take in the midnight madness sales,” says Consumer Reports’ senior editor and shopping expert Tod Marks. “But retailing trends suggest that the opportunity to score a great deal won’t end this weekend. So there’s no need to panic.”

But if you plan to shop at a store or from the comfort of home, here are five Black Friday tips that can help save your money and sanity.  The full list can be found at www.ConsumerReports.org.

  1. It’s not always worth breaking down the ‘door.’ There is no doubt that manufacturers offer some deep discounts on Black Friday. Generally, the very best “doorbuster” deals are only available in limited quantities, and perhaps only for a short duration. Since early October, there has been a flurry of doorbuster promotions promising items such as a $200 laptop or TV. Black Friday earned its reputation as a bargain-hunter’s paradise because retailers feature a few of these high-profile items as loss leaders, which are sold at- or below-cost to draw shoppers in. But consumers shouldn’t bother to show up unless they are willing to wait on line, sometimes for hours before the store opens, and should be prepared for possible disappointment. There are no guarantees, and usually no rain checks.
  2. Sniff out the most appealing specials in advance. Numerous websites, such as FatWallet, Gottadeal, and TheBlackFriday.com obtain and publish Black Friday deals, often weeks before they’re officially released. You can also find out which products come with rebates and which merchants offer free shipping. “Like” your favorite retailers on Facebook and follow them on Twitter for advance notice of special sales. You can also follow @DealCyberMonday on Twitter.
  3. Try to get it for less online. If a circular features an eye-popping deal, consumers should visit a price-comparison Web site to see if another reliable seller is offering it cheaper. Some sources worth checking: Bizrate, Nextag and Pricegrabber. Shoppers might want to try Amazon, too, asConsumer Reports’ reader surveys have cited Amazon as a good merchant for appliances, electronics, and books. And don’t shop without first checking for coupons at sites such as Coupons.com and RetailMeNot.com.
  4. Request a price guarantee. Ask if the retailer has a low-price guarantee – which entitles shoppers to a refund of the difference between the new price and the original price paid if the item goes on sale or if it’s offered cheaper elsewhere. Walmart recently announced that it’s beefing up its price-matching policy for the holidays. Note that most price-matching policies apply to the price charged by a “local” competitor, not websites like Amazon.com or even warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s.
  5. Eye return policies carefully. The blanket policy for most products at big-box stores is 90 days, but may be shorter for electronics.  Some merchants extend the return period for holiday purchases, but they reserve the right to refuse to take back anything without an original or gift receipt, especially if the item was bought with cash. Even if a store agrees to take an item back without a receipt, they may only issue you a gift card or store credit slip in exchange. And shoppers will get back the value of the lowest price the item actually sold for, not necessarily the value of the price paid for it. Receipts are needed to take advantage of warranty services. Make sure there are no restocking fees for returned goods