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Major retailers running sales days and weeks in advance leading up to 'Black Friday'

Covid changes 'Black Friday' shopping experience
Best Buy Timmonium store
Posted at 10:05 AM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 10:39:45-05

TIMMONIUM, Md. — Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is typically known as ‘Black Friday.’

It’s a day customers shop for deals and retailers hope will put their sales numbers in the black for the season.

However, the effect Covid-19 has had on retailers, many stores are getting a head start on Black Friday sales.

Some may wonder if the tradition of getting up early Friday morning to catch those doorbusting sales will still be a tradition for families this year.

Many shoppers just can't wait for Black Friday, while others won't wait until Black Friday.

A shopper at Best Buy who only gave his first name of Joseph said “trying to get into the whole gaming setting, and best buy is kind of like the best place for software.”

“Even though Black Friday is on the 27th, I’m trying to get it before Black Friday because I don't want all the hectic that comes along with Black Friday,” Joseph added.

In a year in which many traditions are canceled because of the pandemic, WMAR-2 News dropped by a Best Buy store in Timmonium and asked assistant store manager of sales Jeremy Ritgert, if Black Friday is one of them.

“Black Friday is still very much a thing. The things that we're doing differently this year, we've started our add a lot earlier to be able to cut down on a lot of the traffic that we experience on any given day, but Black Friday is still very much in effect,” Ritgert said.

READ MORE: Retailers prepare for the worst, hope for the best this 'Black Friday'

So, if Black Friday is still on, what can shoppers expect if there is a line of bargain hunters around the building, considering we're still in a pandemic.

“If we have lines outside, we do have markers across the pavement, that we can allow for proper social distancing. We'll have an experience host again, outside, working the queue making sure everyone stays safe, and gets ready to have some fun shopping with us,” Ritgert said.

For those who don't want to wait in line, the store's customer experience host will be their guide.

“If there is any sort of wait for assistance, you have the option to go into the digital queue. What that means is, you can shop around the store while we socially distance properly, you can wait out in your car, but we also have the curbside pickup option,” Ritgert said.

Those are just a few options customers can take to stay safe and avoid the crowds, while Covid safety protocols in place at stores include reminders to wear a face mask; lots of hand sanitizer and hand wipes; acrylic shields separating customers and staff ; social distancing markers around the store; along with a few other precautions as well.

“Temperature checks and health screenings for all associates and advisers working in the building, and all of our vendor partners if they're going to be working in our building,” Ritgert said.

Shoppers will find many protocols in place, but the reason people go shopping is to look for the hot deals.

“One of the ones I'm excited about, we do have a 32" Insignia Fire TV, that will be on sale $70 off, so it will be $99.99. We have a great Lenovo i3 laptop that will be $150 off going for $299.99. And then, a KitchenAid stand mixer going for $199.99,” Ritgert said.

With sales like these available all week long and beyond, every day is Black Friday, and some shoppers couldn't be happier.

“I don't really like the whole lines, and waiting, even though you're supposed to be six feet apart, won't nobody really care about that on Black Friday. That's a headache in itself,” Joseph said.

“Whatever way you feel most comfortable with, whether that's in the store or online taking advantage of our curbside pickup options, we do have next day delivery available this year, so it's really about finding what's most comfortable for you,” Ritgert said.

New restrictions in Maryland limit retail store capacity to 50 percent.

Best Buy’s customer experience hosts will not only help customers cut down on their wait times but they'll also monitor the number of people going in and out of the building to ensure those restrictions are followed at each store.