The Corey Story

My random wanderings and things I find entertaining

Posts Tagged ‘Black Friday’

Etiquette Awareness — That’s The Spirit!

Posted by Corey Kaster on December 8, 2009

There is a man in our neighborhood that walks every day. I don’t know if it is for his health, because he likes being outdoors, or if he is simply looking to escape from home. I do know that he carries a plastic bag with him and uses it to pick up trash along his way.

A couple of days ago a friend posted a note on facebook about how she let a guy with only three items go ahead of her in line at Costco. Her comment? “I think he thought I was crazy!” Another person’s response? “That was nice of you. He’s probably not used to meeting nice people at Costco this time of year … you know how the public can get during the holidays!”

I have heard many people talking about — complaining about — how commercial the holiday season has become. Stores are not only opening early in the morning to kick off the holiday shopping season on Black Friday (3:00 am is a tad bit early for me, personally) but there are some that are now staying open on Thanksgiving Day itself. We decorate, bake, shop, visit, entertain, party and “enjoy” the holidays, whether we want to or not! All while we go about accomplishing our regular tasks and responsibilities as individuals, sons, daughters, parents, employees, employers and general members of society.

But what about taking a step back and using this opportunity to get into the spirit of the holidays without the stress? Whether it is the idea of “Pay It Forward” or “Do Unto Others”, there are little things you can do every day that may have a tremendous impact on someone else … and make you feel good at the same time.

* Next time you walk into a building, hold the door for the person coming in behind you; or better yet, open it and allow them to go first!

* Return a shopping cart for someone at the grocery store.

* If someone is standing in line behind you with a heavy purchase, can you help out in some way?

* Offer a greeting to the person sharing the elevator with you, rather than carefully staring at the numbers above the door.

* Can you pause in your driving to allow the person who wants to merge into your lane the opportunity to do so in front, instead of behind you?

It is the simple things, such as taking a bag to collect trash when you go for a walk, which can make a big difference. You might even find yourself continuing to do them when the holidays have passed!


Gandhi said it best:

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Please feel free to send me any of your

etiquette or customer service questions or stories!

Previous editions of Etiquette Awareness

may now be viewed at my website,

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Jodi Blackwood

Business Etiquette & Customer Service Specialist

Speaker & Seminar Leader

“Etiquette is about polishing your approach,

not changing who you are.”


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Black Friday Sales Were Encouraging, Retailers Say

Posted by Corey Kaster on December 2, 2009

A crowd of shoppers seeking bargains at Target in Cool Springs, Tennessee, bought electronics, apparel and toys on Friday, November 27, 2009

John Partipilo / The Tennessean / AP


Preliminary data indicates Black Friday sales got off to a roaring start this year, with consumers shopping earlier and online sales increasing significantly over last year.

Retailers across the board reported strong crowds early Friday, with high-definition televisions, laptops, winter coats and the popular toy Zhu-Zhu pets among the hottest items. “There were bargain-hungry shoppers out there, and retailers really did pull out all the stops for people,” says Kathy Grannis, a spokesperson for the National Retail Federation, noting that many of the day’s hot item carried the steepest discounts.(See TIME’s 2009 holiday gift guide.)

Some of the sales bump is likely resulting from an expansion of the Black Friday sales hours. Many brick-and-mortar retailers opened their doors as early as midnight — rather than the traditional 6 a.m. shotgun start, and some offered their door-crasher deals online even earlier — on Thanksgiving day. “Many retailers took their Black Friday sale items and put them online on Thursday starting just after midnight on Wednesday,” says Fiona Dias, executive vice president of strategy and marketing for GSI Commerce, a company that runs about 80 e-commerce websites for retailers and fashion designers. “This was a major shift this year.”

One sign of this trend: PayPal reported a 25% increase in the dollar volume of sales on Thanksgiving Day from the same day a year ago, according to Amanda Pires, senior director at PayPal. The online pay site is used by consumers to make purchases at online retailers and at its sister site, eBay.(See the best tech gifts of 2009.)

Still, Friday had its own energy — early data indicates traffic for the day to both brick-and-mortar retailers and online retail sites was up.

“It’s like night and day,” says Matthew Katz, managing director at consultancy AlixPartners’ retail practice, whose team traveled to about 30 malls, big box retailers and strip-mall centers to monitor activity today in different parts of the country. “I purposely went to the same mall in Short Hills, N.J. at 9 a.m. as I went to last year, he says. “Last year [on Black Friday] I parked in the front row, and this year it took me about 20 minutes to get a spot.”(See pictures of expensive things money can buy.)

Katz says the busiest stores, from a traffic perspective, were Apple, GameStop, Toys R Us and Best Buy, although the retailers with the most people carrying shopping bags were department stores.

Online retailers were busy too. GSI’s flock of web retailers averaged 520 orders in their peak minute of sales on Black Friday, up from 430 orders during the peak minute a year ago. “It was about 20% higher orders per minute than it was last year,’ says Dias. However, she speculates it’s possible orders will drop off on Saturday and Sunday if shoppers were only seeking time-limited door-crash specials.

Cyber Monday will be another big day for online retailers, though here, too, the calendar boundaries have been blurred. Online retailer Amazon, for example, is offering a constantly updated list of special discounts and calling it “Black Friday Deals Week.”

The biggest insight to come from Black Friday sales data will be changes in shopper behavior. People may be getting more time to find deals this year, but there are fewer big deals to find — the 75% to 80% markdowns seen during last year’s holiday season are now rare. Retailers purchased up to 20% less inventory this year in anticipation of slower sales, so they’re not under the gun to slash prices to clear inventory — at least not yet.

The really big markdowns were on specific items, not across the store as they were last year, says Katz. “They were price-point driven, not percent-off driven,” he says. “You saw a lot of gifts under $50 or gifts under $100 — you didn’t see 50% off.”

“From a traffic perspective, there were more people in the malls than in years past,” he says. However, it’s not yet known if traffic translated into big sales, as this data will not be available until later this weekend.

Even if the final tally indicates sales surpassed last year’s numbers, it’s not necessarily clear sailing for retailers through the holiday season. The average shopper spent $372 over the Black Friday weekend last year, which was up from $347 the previous year, says Grannis. Yet, holiday sales, which tracks total sales through November and December, fell 3.4% — the first decline since the NRF started tracking sales in the mid-1990s, she says.

Says retail consultant Katz: “There’s a lot of positive momentum, but we’re not out of the woods.”

Read a brief history of Black Friday.
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Black Friday/Weekend Deals I find noteworthy – will continually be updated

Posted by Corey Kaster on November 27, 2009


– offering 1 month upgrade advance on iPhones – see JB @ Washington Square at&t store. He will be there Friday 6-3 & Saturday 9-6.


– offering HUGE discounts on all Apple products

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