By Josh Suiso
Over 2,000 people circle the Target super center in Gilbert Arizona for their Black Friday sale event this Thanksgiving.
“WE’RE OUT OF CABBAGE PATCH DOLLS!” blares through the walkie talkie of a guard patrolling outside, shining light on the hectic holiday festivities inside.
What was formerly a national post Thanksgiving shopping spree has now become a Thanksgiving shopping spree. This “Grey Thursday” trend has become to many a sign of the times showing a shift from what was a family holiday into a national consumer day.
For Neil Martin, 61, patrol officer in Gilbert Ariz. Is making a little extra Christmas money this year working security for his first “Grey Thursday” or Black Friday shopping event. Martin however doesn’t mind taking the holiday gig.
“Hey, I’m at least being paid to be here, they’re not.” Martin said. As for family time, he asked his wife if she minded him taking a job on Thanksgiving and she said to take it because her and their daughters wanted to take advantage of the sales. However he didn’t seem too keen on participating in the shopping himself.
“I couldn’t care less, I would pay to not be in that,” Martin chuckled, looking at the mass of people circling around the Super Target.
The line of people for the Super Target at the Gilbert Gateway Towne Center on Power and Ray in Gilbert Ariz went from the entrance to around the back then all the way down the back of the strip mall. Lily Palmer, 15, high school student was there more for the spectacle rather than the savings. She has never gone Black Friday shopping before.
“I just wanted to see how crazy people get to stretch a dollar,” Palmer added. “People spend like 10 minutes with their families to eat, then leave to go shopping.”
Ashley Hartley, 22, barista, admitted that she felt overwhelmed by all the commotion.
“I’m a virgin to all this, fist timer,” Hartley said. “It’s not what I was expecting at all.”
Hartley added that the experience so far is better than the one she had earlier in the day at the Tilly’s in the Gilbert Gateway Towne Center, where the stress of Black Friday was inhibiting a sales associate’s ability to providing adequate service.
When speaking about her poor experience with a sales associate in Tilly’s Hartley was clearly upset.
“Her name was Kelly, I’ll never forget. Ugh, I Couldn’t believe how rude she was!” Hartley exclaimed.
She said that the sales associate made a mistake while voiding items off of a purchace she made during Tilly’s pre Black Friday sale. The sales associate accidently removed the wrong item from the bill voiding a pair of Hurley shorts instead of the Hurley shirt that Hartley no longer wanted. Hartley who has been in retail most of her life said that this is a fairly common mistake, but that’s not what bothered her. She continues by saying that when she came back to the store to return a pair of shorts that didn’t fit well they discovered the mistake and insinuated that she was at fault, and was somehow trying to scam their company. They even went as far as trying to take the item away from her without any compensation.
“I was in retail most of my life you really need to learn how to suck it up on Black Friday, clearly customer service isn’t for some people,” Hartley added.
Other more seasoned Black Friday shoppers such as Betty, 38, an accountant, didn’t have anything specific on her shopping list for Target but was very excited to speak about previous “scores” from preceding Black Friday sales.
“Oh my best score was definitely my Kitchen Aid Mixer!” she exclaimed. “I even saved $400 one year, oh and my big screen from Costco! That was a good one!” said Betty.
At the Target’s entrance it became clear that the company is concerned about public safety — Clearly in an attempt to steer clear of any accidents that may occur. Accidents much like the one in a Suburban New York Wal-Mart in 2008 where a man was trampled to death during their Black Friday event. – At the entrance the employee in charge of letting people in, in controlled quantities at multiple points shouted “Don’t sacrifice your kids for deals!” Make this into three-four controlled sentences.
Marc Mason, 30, Target’s store manager, describes the event as “controlled chaos” saying that they put a huge emphasis on safety and that they make sure no one is running, and that police are on standby to help control the masses.
“If we feel like we’re letting too many people in too fast we shut it down for a while,” Mason added.
In addition to safety, their mission, Mason said, is to provide “the best possible experience with the best deals, our guests are our priority.”