Eatontown: Black Friday shoppers from Asbury Park, Ocean Township, Eatontown, Neptune, Rumson and some from as far away as Baltimore waited in long lines at: Target and Sears in Ocean Township and Best Buy in Eatontown.
Sears opened the doors first at 8:00pm; Target opened their doors at 9:00pm; while Best Buy opened at 12:00AM. All three retailers were using voucher systems as a means to pre-sell and distribute highly sought after items such as: HD TVs, laptop bundles, cell phones, and game systems.
Target guaranteed that consumers with vouchers would get their items; however, an en employee who wanted to remain anonymous, said that Best Buy would not comment on the number of items or the numbers of vouchers for those items but suggested that there was a “one to one” ratio. Like Best Buy, Sears would not comment on their vouchers, voucher system, or voucher policy.
Delores, Asbury Park, waited in line since 3:00pm at the Target in Ocean Township to be the first person to get a 32” LCD TV. Luckily for her, she got there early. By 8:00pm the line extended down the sidewalk, extending past the old Value City Department Store.
Though Dolores seems dedicated to find the best Black Friday deals, her six-hour wait is nothing compared to the Sander’s Family at the Best Buy in Eatontown. Collectively, the Sanders family waited for almost 52 hours for deals on HD televisions, laptops, game and phone bundles.
Shelton, Ocean Township, would not say how long he waited, but after some playful prying he would only say “since yesterday, we’ve been using the ‘shift’ system, and it has been working out well.”
Like so many others in line, Shelton was looking for a laptop and new TV.
Similar to Target, the line at Best Buy was around the corner. Most people in line were there for a few hours or less. Some occupied themselves by playing games on their phones and iPads. Some even busted out Uno and other card games to occupy the time.
Regardless of retail location, most consumers wanted: HD TVs, laptops, iPads, cell phones, and game consoles. One has to wonder how many people waiting on such long lines are replacing items lost from Hurricane Sandy?
All of this waiting, and waiting, and waiting, is really an interesting phenomenon. Some families have postponed Thanksgiving until Friday just so family members could stand in the front of the lines in multiple stores. Some families actually brought Thanksgiving to the person, or persons, in line as they waited in shifts.
As this trend grows, retailers are now developing safer ways to administer how this process plays out. Jean Sarno, Security and Loss Prevention for Sears, says that its “all about safety” and providing a “great shopping experience” to the Black Friday consumer. She also added that by using a voucher system, the consumer was offered the opportunity to buy highly sought after electronics or other items.
Though there is a trend to shop local and help promote small businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy, it is still interesting to see just how many people wait on line for hours at a time. Interestingly, this “waiting” experience seems to bring people together. Although there is no guarantees on the “deals,” there is the guarantee that if retailers promise to reduce the prices of “big ticket” items, this retail counter culture will continue to thrive, even if it’s just for hours a year at the same places we frequent once a week.