In exactly one week, shoppers will be storming stores in search of great deals to kick off the holiday shopping season. Retailers, of course, are preparing for this onslaught of customers and enticing them with early morning and other money-saving specials. Like every year, there are concerns about crowd control and ensuring customers don't get too out of hand in an effort to save some dough and repeat the tragedies of previous years where people were trampled and injured on Black Friday.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is urging retailers to step up their crowd control and other safety precautions, per this article from Bloomberg. OSHA is recommending retailers use bullhorns to manage crowds, set up barricades or rope lines and clear entrances of shopping carts and other potentially dangerous obstacles. Mega-retailers like Wal-Mart said they will leave most of its 833 U.S. stores open overnight on Thanksgiving to avoid fostering crowds on Friday morning of unmanageable size, according to the article.
I've never attempted to shop on Black Friday and this is exactly why. I really don't like being treated like cattle and, in general, I avoid large crowds whenever possible. For some reason, people seem to immediately lose any inkling of common sense when put in a crowd and I would rather not be one of them.
Fittingly, I'm here at the ADT retail media event in Boca Raton, Florida and today we'll be talking to some retailers not only about some of their strategies for the holiday shopping season but also about how the protection of merchandise is evolving. Specifically, I'm hoping to find out if RFID technology has reached the level where it's actually affordable for retailers. There will also be a presentation of other technologies that retailers are using to fight theft and control inventory. I'll keep you updated. Oh, and there's even suppose to be a real-live press conference, which I'm excited to attend.
And, to the folks who decided to put up the ginormous Christmas tree in front of my hotel more than a week before Thanksgiving: I say bah humbug.