A record 141 million people were expected to shop in stores and online over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend that ended Sunday, up from last year’s 137 million, according to the results of a survey of nearly 4,500 shoppers conducted for The National Retail Federation.
This encompassed both Black Friday and Gray Thursday, the day before the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. By some accounts, Thursday is the new Friday.
But total spending fell for the first time ever since the trade group began tracking it in 2006, according to the survey that was released on Sunday. Over the four days, spending fell an estimated 2.9 percent to $57.4 billion.
Shoppers, on average, spent an average of $407.02 during the four days, down 3.9 percent from last year. That would be the first decline since the 2009 holiday shopping season when the economy was just coming out of the recession.
Regardless of the numbers, stores locally were packed Thursday and Friday. With so much on the line for retailers, it is understandable that they would be focused on their bottom lines.
However, an incident that occurred on Gray Thursday at Walmart came to light that gives one the belief that despite the commercialization of the season, customer service remains a holiday tradition.
Here’s the scene.
A shopper witnesses maniacal customers knocking stacks of appliances over, shoving their way into lines and grabbing items out of the arms of another. The store aisles are choked with humanity and a din of loud voices reverberated.
All the shopper that sees this madness wants is a coupon to guarantee he can purchase an item at the sale price, which he gets from a store employee. Then, he fights his way out of the store and goes home.
But, there was something wrong with the coupon’s scratch-off code which caused it to be ruined. The shopper returned to the store, headed to the customer service desk.
While this matter was being discussed, an assistant manager said she happened to have an extra coupon and offered to exchange them. Problem solved.
This happened despite the chaos around them.
Kudos to the staff.