Wal-Mart’s Black Friday sales
attract mobs of people every yearthat inevitably turn into absolute chaos at many store locations throughout the U.S.
Last year, two people were shot in a dispute over a parking spot at a Tallahassee, Fla., Wal-Mart. The year before, a mob fought over a $2 waffle maker and a woman allegedly pepper-sprayed a crowd so she could get an Xbox.
The retailer is trying to control the impending chaos this year by increasing its inventory, offering nearly all of its in-store Black Friday sales online and, like last year, staggering its doorbuster deals.
In terms of inventory, Wal-Mart stores have stocked up on 65% more televisions, twice as many tablets, and five times the bed sheets compared to last year, executives said Tuesday. The retailer has also tripled the number of items that customers can buy online and then pick up in stores.
For those who would rather avoid stores altogether, Wal-Mart will be offering free shipping on 99% of items ordered online.
“To the degree that you can reduce the chaos, that’s valuable,” Dan Toporek, vice president of corporate communications for Wal-Mart E-Commerce, said Tuesday.
Aside from the 21 products that are part of Wal-Mart’s “one-hour guarantee” doorbuster deals, all other Black Friday deals will be available online, he said.
The “one-hour guarantee” deals, which start at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, will be available to customers who are waiting in designated lines at Wal-Mart stores at the start of each sales event.
Once inside, crowds around the hottest products can get insane. To manage the volume of people waiting for a single product, Wal-Mart this year is handing out wristbands to shoppers who are waiting in line. That way, they can continue shopping and return at a later time to retrieve the product they wanted.
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