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Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014

Many retailers prepared in advance for 'Black Friday'

Friday, November 26, 2004

(Photo)
Post-Thanksgiving Day shoppers were out in full force this morning taking advantage of many sale items. Here, shoppers at Wal-Mart enjoyed sale prices.
SIKESTON -- Post-Thanksgiving Day shoppers were sure to rest up Thursday night for their day-long ventures, possibly even dreaming of being the first in line at a store or nabbing the last available sought-after sale item.

But possibly it's the employees of the retail industry who really need the energy today.

With many stores opening earlier than normal and offering "early bird specials," more help is needed, making it a longer day for employees.

"It's really busy. It's when everyone does their Christmas shopping," Jamie Ferguson said about today.

The floor supervisor for G.H. Bass & Co. at Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores knows she's got to be alert, which is why Ferguson admitted she tries to get a lot of sleep on Thanksgiving night.

"You know you're going to be busy and you get used to it. It's not bad if you have a lot of people working," Ferguson said.

Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores opened at 8 a.m. today -- an hour earlier than usual.

"I don't ever think about it the night before, I just plunge right in," said Debbie Hosey, a 17-year employee of Falkoff's Mens Shop in downtown Sikeston.

Earlier this morning employees at Lowe's in Sikeston held a "pep rally" before opening the doors at its usual 7 a.m., store manager Jamie Jackson said.

Ironically, Jackson said today, which is known as "Black Friday," is one of the more enjoyable days of the year for employees.

"It's hectic, but it's also fun because it makes the day go by fast," Jackson said. "It's a constant motion. Everyone's in a good mood and it's Christmas time. Normally, it's a pretty happy day."

Jackson said store employees prepare months in advance for this annual event.

"We gear up six months out and we have preparation that takes place as far back as Oct. 1 to make sure the ease of shopping is there for customers," Jackson explained.

On the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, employees get the ad items for the quick sale to the floor, Jackson said. On Friday, they come in an hour before the store opens and check over quantities and the store's appearance. The store also buys food so the employees don't have to worry about leaving for lunch.

Ferguson said Bass employees also take time Wednesday night to discuss what promotions they're going to have leading up to today.

Jackson called today the busiest day of the shopping year for Lowe's and its employees, adding it's a team effort. Generally from 7 a.m. to noon are the peak sales hours, Jackson said.

"It's the people wanting to get the early bird specials," Then we have time to breathe and eat lunch. Normally another rush in the evening and then it's pretty steady."

And complaints just aren't an issue, Jackson said.

"Most customers are fired up about shopping, and some get scrappy if we run out of sizes or if we don't have what they're looking for," Ferguson admitted.

But in those occasional cases, Ferguson recommends employees just be patient with customers and help them the best they can.

Hosey said giving the customer the best service possible is what gets her through the day.

"It's so busy, you don't have time to think," said the Falkoff's employee. "You just go and grab and get packages wrapped and get them on the road to the next store."

And Jackson suggested the following to those working the holiday: "Don't overpromise and underexecute. If you've got things in an ad and in promotions, you better make sure they're there and readily available to the public. Stay with the plan."

At day's end, workers are ready to go home, Ferguson said. It's pretty exhausting, she added.

"I'm tired and ready to sit down, but it's such a high energy day," Jackson admitted. "There's so many people here, and the constant motion leaves you drained, but I'm excited and glad for the opportunity."