Two Walmart associates – who happen to be married – share what it’s like to plan for and experience Black Friday on each side of the register.
Jason, Sr. Director, ISD and Lori, Recruiting Manager/Professional Black Friday Shopper
Her story: If Black Friday shopping was an Olympic sport, I’m pretty sure I’d be a medalist. I’ve heard Olympians describe what they feel when they compete – excitement, anxiety and a huge rush of adrenaline. They plan for months in advance, usually working with a team selected specifically because they are the best at what they do. This is basically how I would describe my girlfriends and me as we prep for the biggest shopping day of the year. We are the Black Friday dream team. So, here are a few tips from the pros.
- Plan ahead. Get together a few weeks in advance every year to map out what time stores open, which ones have the best deals and come up with your strategy to grab everything you need. Bonus tip: Download the Walmart app to see where the hottest products will be located in-store plus learn about the new Amazon Price Match program ahead of time.
- Assign Responsibilities. Secretary to take notes/come up with the plan? Essential. Driver? Check. Someone to grab free breakfast at Sam’s Club? Got it. A clock watcher? Must-have. Someone posted in all areas of the store? Brings me to my next point.
- Work in pairs. When you’re vying for the coveted small kitchen appliance, TV or video game, four arms are better than two. I suggest designating a pitcher and a catcher.
- Get there early. This is where training (and caffeine) really kicks in. We finish up our Thanksgiving lunch, head to the stores mid-afternoon and usually don’t complete our quest until the next day. It’s not for the faint of heart. Especially with 5 days of Black Friday this year!
My husband, Jason, works behind the scenes at Walmart making sure Black Friday is the best it can be. He’ll probably tell you he’s got the bigger responsibility, but I beg to differ. Besides, I’ve never seen an Olympian or my husband dodging a $4 flying toaster.
His story: My wife, Lori, wouldn’t only be a medalist; she’d take the gold in the Black Friday Olympics. So you can imagine that if I want to save my reputation both on the job and at home, I had better make sure Black Friday goes off without a hitch. I work in point of sale (POS) development, so that’s anything that has to do with registers and accepting payments. Not to mention our role in supporting programs like our 1-hour guarantee and layaway.
I’ve been with Walmart for almost 15 years and have spent a lot of time getting ready for Black Friday. Here’s why. Imagine staying up all night shopping for that steal-of-a-deal TV, nabbing one, standing in line to checkout amidst the crowd, and sliding your card to pay only to find the register isn’t working. Then I imagine that this shopper is my wife. Yikes! So I do all I can to make sure this doesn’t happen.
Black Friday is an “all hands on deck” scenario. Before the big day, my team researches POS performance and updates our software to make sure it’s in tip top shape. And we spend time in stores talking to associates to get their feedback and seeing where we might lend a hand on the ground. Then on Thanksgiving Day, we watch, and watch and watch some more, monitoring just in case something goes awry, so we can correct it before the customer (or Lori) ever knows.
My team and a lot of others have a big responsibility making sure millions of transactions go off without a hitch for customers like my Olympian wife are taken care of at the registers this Black Friday. Here’s to great deals and a seamless shopping experience!
Share your best tips (or most entertaining stories) of Black Friday shopping in the comment section below or on Twitter tagging @WalmartCareers using the hashtag #BlackFriday.
Lori, Jason and all other Walmart and Sam’s Club associates deserve a huge thanks for the hard work they’ve put into planning Black Friday 2014 to make sure customers enjoy more savings and have better in-store and online experiences than ever before. It couldn’t be done without you!