Retailers bulk up on safety measures for Black Fri
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Retailers bulk up on safety measures for Black Friday
Security has been significantly beefed up and retailers have been training sales clerks on how to deal with crowds.
Ramla Javed, general manager of Best Buy in Culver City, reminds the store's employees about safety and customer service protocol in preparation for Black Friday.
( Spencer Bakalar, Los Angeles Times / November 22 , 2013 )
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By Andrea Chang and Tiffany Hsu
November 28, 2013 , 8:00 p.m.
[b][url=http://www.tiffanyoutletpro.com]tiffany[/url][/b] It's a retailer's worst nightmare: trampling, shoplifting and fighting on the busiest shopping day of the year.
[b][url=http://www.tiffanyoutletpro.com]tiffany and co outlet[/url][/b] With several high-profile Black Friday incidents in recent years, merchants and shopping centers are on high alert. Security has been significantly beefed up and retailers have been training sales clerks on how to deal with crowds and protect not only customers but also employees and merchandise.
[b][url=http://www.tiffanyoutletpro.com]tiffany & co[/url][/b] "There's going to be double the security in stores on Black Friday morning," said Britt Beemer, chairman of consumer behavior firm America's Research Group. "Any time you give consumers incredible deals, and there are only so many, there's always a chance someone's going to get mad and shovey."
[b]<a href="http://www.tiffanyoutletpro.com">cheap tiffany & co jewelry</a>[/b] About 97 million shoppers are expected to shop in stores and online on Black Friday, according to the National Retail Federation . All told, an estimated 140 million people will shop during the four-day holiday weekend.
[b][url=http://www.tiffanyoutletpro.com]tiffany outlet store[/url][/b] This year marks the five-year anniversary of a particularly notorious Black Friday: In 2008, a Wal-Mart worker was trampled to death in New York and two men died after shooting each other at a Toys R Us in Palm Desert, Calif.
[b]<a href="http://www.tiffanyoutletpro.com">tiffany</a>[/b] Many retailers have devised creative ways to manage hordes of shoppers.
Best Buy Co., which typically sees customers begin to line up days before Black Friday, has arranged for its in-house security to get help from local law enforcement, placed taped pathways on the floors to direct shoppers to specific products and handed out numbered tickets to those in line before the doors open.
The electronics chain also held advance meetings with employees to prepare for the big day, such as one that took place at a Best Buy store in Culver City last Saturday.
"We do dry runs and general managers of the stores give very clear directions on what needs to be done," spokesman Jon Sandler said. "It's very buttoned down and we have our GMs direct the troops so there are very clear directions on what's acceptable and what's not. It's a well-run machine."
This year, with stores opening earlier than ever — many began unleashing deals Thanksgiving Day — retailers hope the staggered start times and longer shopping bonanza will disperse some of the early morning rush on Black Friday.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. this year introduced a new process that it hoped would make shopping easier and improve traffic flow.
The retailer staggered its Black Friday sales events, rolling out deals at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, followed by a third discount event at 8 a.m. Friday.
For the first time in all stores, the nation's largest retailer handed out wristbands so customers could shop elsewhere in the store while they waited for the most coveted items to get marked down.
Before the 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. sales events, Wal-Mart customers went to a designated line within the store to secure a wristband for certain products. After the events started, customers with wristbands had two hours to come back to the designated line to pick up their product.
At the Wal-Mart in Porter Ranch, the more than 450 employees scheduled to work on Thanksgiving participated in dozens of dry runs that began more than a month ago. Supervisors assigned to each quadrant of the store walked their teams through a variety of practice situations, such as an encounter with a belligerent customer, store manager Fernando Reyes said.
"We practice worst-case scenarios so we're fully prepared in the event that those actually arise," Reyes said. "Some of the new associates in the store have never experienced this type of situation. Regardless of how well you explain it, until you go through a really intense dry run, it's hard to grasp the intensity of this event."
Rival Target Corp. conducted additional crowd management training and is providing store-specific maps online and in stores to help shoppers locate Black Friday bargains, a company spokeswoman said. The discount chain has also spread its specials throughout the stores to prevent any one area from being flooded with people.
Another change that shoppers might notice this year is the presence of more officers in uniform. In the past, retailers were more likely to opt for undercover security dressed in plainclothes, but these days the presence of uniformed officers "calms everybody down," Beemer said.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently sent letters to major retailers reminding them of the potential hazards involved with large crowds during holiday sales events. The letter included crowd management safety guidelines to be followed in addition to retailers' own procedures.
Among them were on-site trained security personnel or police officers, barricades or rope lines for pedestrians that do not start right in front of the store's entrance, an emergency plan and not blocking exit doors. The agency also encouraged stores to clearly explain entrance procedures to the public.
As retail stores beef up their workforces during the holidays, they are also worrying about employee theft and other behind-the-scenes problems.
Many stores purchase crime insurance policies to protect their organizations against theft or forgery committed by employees, said Steve Balmer, product manager for crime at Travelers Insurance, which offers insurance plans to retailers. Balmer said such insurance is especially important during the holiday season.
"There is more risk at this time of year, there's more opportunity and there are more people present," Balmer said. "We see it as important for any retailer to be more vigilant about control of merchandise."
Shoppers, too, need to be watchful of their purses and purchases: Travelers said that, on average, more thefts occur on Black Friday than on any other day of the year.
Copyright © 2013, Los Angeles Times
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EinNoHo at 11:29 PM November 28, 2013
Thanksgiving sales are now inevitable, the norm, especially this year with just 4 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The news media always wants to jump on deaths or incidents, like the woman who got away with pepper spraying other customers to get an Xbox a couple years ago in Porter Ranch. It seems like an elderly Wal-Mart employee is trampled every year when the doors open. If 2008 was the most violent year, why did it take 5 years to enact better policies?
Chris Urbam at 10:46 PM November 28, 2013
Interesting read. Honestly, it's 2013. Why do people even shop at brick & mortar stores on Black Friday anymore? There is a ton of violence and it really is a waste of time with all of the online sales. I mean is it really necessary for Walmart to have 3 different doorbuster events at their store? Just my person opinion but I am going to stick to sites like http://bestblackfriday.com and http://bfads.net to find all of my deals. None of these in store deals compared to the lighting sales that Amazon is offering this year.
lilacleaf at 10:08 PM November 28, 2013
Stores opening up rediculously early! People being made to work on family holidays ! What's next ? They're going to take our turkey too ?
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