Black Friday no longer waits until Friday. This year, a handful of stores kick off their holiday sales on Thursday evening, including Best Buy, which will gets started at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving day.
But the prep starts far before that.
On Saturday morning, Best Buy employees all around the country gathered before the store officially opened for a “dress rehearsal” for the big day, according to a fun profile of a store in Alexandria, Virginia by The Washington Post’s Sarah Halzack.
“If you do a Black Friday at Best Buy, believe me, you can do anything,” the store’s manager told employees that morning.
The piece is packed with fun details, but here are some of the craziest ways Best Buy prepares for and handles Black Friday:
- The entrance door will only be opened two feet wide, to stop people from rushing through in a giant, mob-like pack
- Best Buy is extremely strategic about where it places its merchandise: There will be separate lines for the most popular products, and lines should be arranged so they never block the displays for other hot items
- The team runs through a PowerPoint slide on Saturday with detailed drawings of the floor plan
- There are ten employees who’s sole job that day will be to fill holes they spot on shelves
- There will be a few “line sellers” outside talking to people waiting to get in, answering questions about products and trying to gauge what will be in highest demand
- Some merchandise that is usually locked-up won’t be, to make it more easily accessible for speediest hand-off
- In the Alexandria store, there are nine employees trained just to man the counter where customers pick up products they ordered online; no one should wait more than three minutes, unless they’re carting out a huge TV
- Every employee will be on-shift Thursday night in the Alexandria store. Even though they have to adhere to their Best Buy t-shirts and black pants, they’re allowed to wear “comfortable shoes” instead of the regulation black shoes, that can’t be slip-ons or open toes
Read more about the crazy process on The Washington Post.