Huge amount of chatter about whether Walmart‘s call to start Black Friday at 10PM Thanksgiving Day was awful, smart or both.
I do not know how the sales numbers came out but I can tell you that it was a smash mouth hit in the Lake Zurich Store. On a whim, my two daughters, son-in-law and I decided to check out the action and got to the store just after 10:30 pm.
- The lot was jammed up. Absolutely full.
- Streams of shoppers were already heading back into the lot, most with a bag or bags, or some sort of big box electronics.
- The cart bays in the vestibule were completely empty.
- The checkout lines were enormous, snaking across the entire width of this super-super-center (see picture, yep that is the checkout line.)
- Walmart had a ton of personnel and most seemed helpful, although a few seemed simply dazed.
- Walmart had a two stage deal setup; one beginning at 10 pm and the second beginning at midnight. The midnight items took up a second main aisle parallel with the checkouts. The displays were fully wrapped in transparent wrap so the goodies could be seen but not taken (sort of ) and each deal was marked with a balloon with a price. Some folks were simply sitting on the floor, with already packed carts waiting for the next frenzy at midnight.
Clearly the objective to tap consumer’ purses early in the process worked very well. It was clearly delineated on Walmart.com prior to the event and it seemed to have a hold over effect, as the lot was still full Friday afternoon, while Target and Costco were not so much.