Not a good sign

UPDATE: Looks like all they did was displace crowds to the middle of the night.

So I slept right through my alarm this morning and did not get over to the Black Friday protest at my local Walmart. I rode over when I woke up, but there were no signs of a protest (although I understand they’re planning in-store actions, too). The parking lot wasn’t anywhere near as full as you’d expect, and I thought, “Good, people are observing the strike.”

But as I rode around, I noticed business was light everywhere: the parking lots at Lowe’s, the Home Deport, Kmart, even (gasp!) Target weren’t anywhere near as crowded as usual.

Now, I have nothing to compare. This is the first time I have even left the house on Black Friday, so I don’t know what’s “normal.” But it sure looks to me that people aren’t very interested in shopping this year — and that doesn’t bode well for the economy.

How about you guys? Anyone venture out this morning?

6 Responses to Not a good sign

  1. brendancalling November 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    why would I go to one of those clusterfucks when I can shop peacefully at home, online?

  2. dcblogger November 23, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

    None of the local Walmarts are near public transportation, so I didn’t go to any. However, a search on OurWalmart on Youtube picked up several protests, so they are going on.

    I am pretty sure that shopping is light. It is the end of the month, so no one has money. I think this will be a terrible Christmas.

  3. MPK November 23, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    We went out to the dog park, enjoyed the morning, and then took a nap.

  4. John November 24, 2012 at 5:48 am #

    I work at one of the stores that opened “late” at midnight, and while I was not on that shift, I understand it was very crowded. To the point of it taking over 5 minutes for the initial wave of people to get in the doors. But by 2am or so the crowds died off till 9am or so and then it was very busy till early afternoon when the specials ended. After that it was steady.

  5. susie November 24, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    You’re in the burbs, right, John? Maybe that’s the difference, I dunno.

  6. Major Kong November 24, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    I worked yesterday at my full-time temporary seasonal job.
    I did 10 hours loading packages onto semi-trailers for a company in the mid-Atlantic that does about 90 percent of its business by mail order and now online. Back on the docks, we were pretty steadily busy from morning to night, but with lower volume later in the shift. Four of us on five loading bays until five p.m. then three of us after that until we stopped for the day 3.5 hours later. We had adequate staffing yesterday so that the work rate wasn’t heinous, but I think I worked harder Wednesday than on Friday in terms of sheer volume.

    This kind of business has an interesting process: When someone places an order, a pick sheet is computer generated and a warehouse person leaps into action with a wheeled cart and picks the order from a rack, puts it into a bin and delivers that bin to a packer, who then packs it into a box. The box is labeled and sent down the conveyor and out to shipping, where other folks stack them into trucks. The singular act of ordering something animates at least five people in the distribution center from the beginning to the end of the process, plus the people who support those people in various ways, like payroll, maintenance, the drivers of the trucks who take the packages, etc.

    Just my two-cent view from this corner of the capitalist gulag where people with professional degrees work retail and pretend to love it.

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