Archived What should I expect for Black Friday?

Status
Not open for further replies.
Joined
Apr 21, 2013
Messages
368
This is my first time ever working a job on a Black Friday. I'm an am backroom TM and I was wondering a few things about Black Friday. Since I only work morning shifts will I even get scheduled for that Thursday or Friday and what would I most likely be doing during that time? I haven't been crossed trained in any other areas (besides two short shifts on register) so will they randomly put me out on the floor to help out? I just want to mentally prepare myself for whatever hell Black Friday is going to be.
 
Joined
Mar 8, 2013
Messages
473
Not sure how the backroom side of Black Friday goes, but I can tell you that everybody works Black Friday, and usually the day before and/or after, regardless of your availability or how you normally get scheduled. There are little to no exceptions there.
 
Joined
Jun 28, 2013
Messages
1,500
Most likely you will be pulling manual CAFs and responding to guest requests. You'll probably be there for the opening if you are a morning team member. They MAY have you on the floor for the first couple of hours, but after that it will be using manuals to fill the floor during the 2am-6am dead period that opening on Thursday night creates. At least that's how my store used them.
 

StackerMistress

What's a team lift?
Joined
Jan 12, 2013
Messages
277
I closed Black Friday two years ago (I think I worked 2:30p-11p or something like that). It was glorious. Triple-coverage until 6, double until 8, we had nothing to do so we just swept everything and low-and-pro'd the whole backroom.

I opened Black Friday/Thursday last year. 8:30p-6a, I think. It was me and four of our backroom morning, along with a useless temp who we just stuck next to the cardboard baler. We ha to scramble the half-hour before open to get all the pallets of merch off the steel and set up on the line. Our SrTL-Flow stayed in receiving with three guys to coordinate that end, while me and another girl stayed in main, answering requests and running manual CAFs on toys when we had time. We were told NOT to leave the backroom AT ALL--presumably because we would be sucked into a black hole of guests if we did. The first hour or two was insane. Constant calls on the walkie (and I mean constant) to grab whatever, run it over to a very frazzled salesfloor TM, back to grab more stuff. Filling up tubs with toys because the manual CAFs were so big. After two hours, it was dead. We dropped more manuals for other departments and worked on backstock.

The set-up was bad (apparently for the whole store... we left one ETL in charge of it and she did not deliver), but our whole team minus the temp was experienced and cohesive, so we got it done. I'm scared to death for this year. Me and one of the morning BRTMs (assuming he doesn't quit before then, which is a distinct possibility) are the only experienced staff right now. I have no idea how we're going to do it. God, I hate Black Friday. Such a disgusting display of the worst kinds of human behavior.
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2011
Messages
498
If your leadership is experienced and capable then BF will be a breeze in the backroom. It should be one of the most fun days of year for backroom people. Busy but, fun. However if your leadership is not good and does not plan well it can be complete hell. My team used to look foward to it as a nice change. Last year after I left it was not so good for them. Most of them have quit now after years on the job and the ones left tell me its a nightmare and they are dreading BF. I myself will be sleeping in that day.
 

commiecorvus

Former Signing Ninja
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
18,046
How big and/or imposing looking are you?
There are always a few of the backroom folks that get snagged for 'security' which pretty much consists of taking an online test about how to handle the doors and crowds.
You get a to wear a jacket and carry a flashlight (if you're one of the outside crew).
 
Joined
Apr 21, 2013
Messages
368
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #7
I'm tall, but I'm not very imposing looking. I highly doubt people would be intimidated by me since I'm a girl. Is the thing about being scheduled outside of availability really going to happen, because I have a second job so I really am not available any other time than what I have listed.
 
Joined
May 29, 2012
Messages
7,385
They assume everyone has open availability from that Thursday evening to Friday morning, at the very least. Unless you work third shift at your other job, I would count on working after you've had your turkey time with the fam.
 

StaticSun

Former Front-End Guru
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
Jun 12, 2011
Messages
2,029
Black Friday was my favorite day of retail.

I worked a 5am-6pm shift as a GSA - ended up becoming de-facto Electronics captain. Ran the boat all day and kept it from sinking. Everybody I worked with was amazing, really pulling through and worked as the best team ever.
 
Joined
Apr 21, 2013
Messages
368
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #10
I guess it depends what time my other job will possibly schedule me, because it is going to be open on Black Friday as well. I guess I'll just have to make sure that my boss at that job doesn't decide to schedule me that night.
 
Joined
Apr 7, 2013
Messages
110
The past 2 years at my store have asked me which shift I would prefer (opening on thanksgiving or working on actual black friday) so hopefully your store does that too. Being in the backroom is super easy, just mostly responding to backroom checks and pulling items for guests. When I did backroom my first black friday, I worked 11Pm-7am and pretty much zoned/low and production'd the backroom with a few interruptions for checks. You'll be fine!
 
Joined
Nov 23, 2012
Messages
219
I normally prep for Black Friday and am off but last year I volunteered for both. Most of the logistics that came in for black Friday were doing crowd management and some were directing guest at the doors and standing around the door busters on the floor. In the backroom I had 6 people to do nothing but run product back and forth to the floor, refilling all the endcaps before anyone hollered about them being empty. I had 2 people in bulk area of receiving just relocating everything as they were running it out and condensing it down. 3 people that were there to answer guest request, help out where needed and do any pulls that got into the gun, most of our endcaps were already pulled and ready to be set if nothing was there to put on it. After the first few hours some of us ended up in the E/E area on the floor because the line management out there sucked.
 

buliSBI

Former Team Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2011
Messages
3,498
It all depends on BF store hours and your shift. If its opening, just pure chaos. you will be pretty much rolling out tubs of BF ad items to the floor and helping ravenous guests who want the particular action figure or toy. Replenishment; several pulls to push. Keep backroom straight.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2013
Messages
2,272
Working backroom on Black Friday can either be great or a complete nightmare. It's great when you have intelligent scheduling and the people who worked overnight dropped and pulled as many manual CAFs as possible to offset the sales. It's a friggin nightmare when you walk in at 6am to find out that the LOD dropped 30 EXF pulls, orders you to pull those in exclusion of everything else, and then wonders why the first set of scheduled CAFs have a pull time of almost 18 hours.

It's still better than being on the floor though.
 
Joined
May 7, 2013
Messages
36
I have worked opening for 2 out of the last 3 Black Fridays. I would like to add some insight into this years black Friday if I may.

This Year: the ETL-HR has in their execution guide a form that they are supposed to complete (ours worked on this yesterday) that will list what you say you are available for Black Friday and all important dates through the end of the year. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Friday before Christmas, Christmas Eve, Day after Christmas, etc.

When it comes to Black Friday, Any hours you work on Thanksgiving either from Wednesday night prep or opening before Black Friday are paid Holiday Pay. Any TM who works overnight on Black Friday 10pm til 6am should earn an additional hour per hour for shift differential as long as you work at least 3 hours on the overnight shift block.

I have an overnight job in media that prevents me from working BF opening anymore; to be honest I like opening on BF, especially since I am the Electronics Team Trainer at my store. I have had the gamut of guests being upset over things we can not prevent (i.e. an ad product being sold out, to why don't you have more registers in Electronics) and it doesn't bother me. Last year I worked crowd control until the store opened and had to leave for my other job. My STL appreciated that I offered some help rather than none. TO be honest we didn't have a line until 40 minutes before we opened. People were wanting to spend time with their families on a holiday is what Thanksgiving is about. And from what I heard the Denver stores being open on Thanksgiving were a huge flop.

As far as Backroom, you can expect manual CAFs as someone else pointed out. At my store the Instocks, Flow, and Backroom TL were in from opening til various times to leave. The Instocks TL started dropping manual CAF's one hour after opening, the Flow TL worked with Flow TM's after the crowd died down to push the CAFs. The Instocks TL left after 4 hours and returned at like 8am to do normal Instocks routines with their team on Friday morning. The Flow TL and their team left at like 4am after the store seemed to be back to normal (stocked, zoned, and clear of reshop). The back room TL left at 2am and then returned at noon the next day to help with the push of guests coming out of their food comas and shopping again.

You will see probably for the first time (depending on prototype and sales volume) all of your front lanes open except the one that parts are Frankenstein-ed from for the first 3 hours the store is open. You will also probably see 1 GSTL and 1 GSA managing/running/supervising the front lanes. Although it sounds strange most stores at open only have 1 Guest Services TM until about 6am then if your store necessitates it, they will have multiple. Generally 6-8 hours after store opening people who "overspent" or "impulsed" on doorbusters will return the merchandise. This is prime opportunity as a TM (who is off the clock) to get a TM who is on the clock to push the returns to the floor (if it is sell-able) so you can buy it at the same price as opening.

Pharmacy will not be open at store opening and you should not expect those registers to be available.

Generally on Black Friday it is the only time all stores will see a Cart Attendant scheduled from Open to Close. Those Cart attendants will be hustling as soon as the store opens between cleaning up trash and pushing carts back in as soon as guests leave from the doorbuster deals.

Most stores on Black Friday try to assign a TLOD (Team Lead on Duty) to both Hardlines and Softlines to assist with alleviating the burden of managing TM's and guests in such a busy pace. Others schedule a ETL from both side of the store to be there while the store is busy.

It is important to note that there will be lots of downtime while the store is open on BF. The rush at opening generally last about 2 hours. Then you have downtime til the early bird shoppers arrive between 5am and 7am. then some more downtime til the lunch crowd and from there it might vary you could have a cold afternoon til about 4:30 where it will pick up again til about 2-3 hours before your store closes. Every bit of downtime should be spent wisely on recovery. If there are multiple TM's in your area and you are not assigned a TL to sit over you, partner up and split up the department. Ensure that someone is always near a call button/price scanner as these attract lots of guests and have at least one person be the runner to GS for reshop/foreign.

Whatever you do follow the break schedule given to you. Your TL's and ETL's will expect you to stick to it no matter how many guests ask for your help. If you have a guest needing something and you have less than 2 min before you go to break/lunch connect the guest with another TM.

Remember equipment is going to be at a premium so make sure that you follow protocol at your store. Most stores will specifically assign certain types of equipment to certain TM's. Don't take anything if your not assigned anything. This is crucial to the AP communication module for the store during BF.

If I missed anything please let me know, I will be happy to elaborate on anything that you might have questions on.
 
Joined
Apr 21, 2013
Messages
368
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #16
Thanks so much for that, that seemed to explain most of my questions. For the pay on BF, is it double what you normally make? I'm not sure I understand what you mean.
 

sigma7

Former ETL-All the Things
Joined
Jun 15, 2011
Messages
2,415
What you actually work on thanksgiving will be paid at time and a half. Hours worked overnight until 8 am have been payed a shift differential.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top