*The last time I shopped at a RadioShack I was looking for batteries and headphones. For my Sony Walkman. That played cassette tapes.
I didn’t even know they were still around until they filed for bankruptcy protection in February and closed more than half of their stores. I thought they were going the way of Circuit City (remember them?), and didn’t think they’d make it to ring in the holidays this year.
RadioShack has in fact survived, and they’re looking to thrive this holiday season. In an environment when Black Friday deals are being offered earlier and earlier, even on Thanksgiving Day, RadioShack will offer in-store Black Friday promotions on Wednesday, the day BEFORE Thanksgiving. Stores will feature over 100 different deals and will stay open an hour later than usual on Wednesday, November 25. On Thanksgiving Day, they’ll open at 8am and will remain open until 1pm, getting the jump on other brick and mortar retailers like Best Buy, Walmart, and Target by several hours.
I’m quite conflicted about Black Friday, Thanksgiving and the notion that stores shouldn’t conduct business on the holiday, in order to preserve a romantic notion of tradition and time spent with family.
For one thing, every Friday is Black Friday at my house.
Secondly, I inevitably NEED a store of some type to be open, as I always forget to pick up some critical ingredient for Thanksgiving dinner, and find myself thankful for good ol’ Walmart’s open doors.
Every holiday season, I wonder whether at least some retail workers are thankful for the opportunity to earn overtime wages by working on Thanksgiving. I know when I was working three jobs to keep the food on the table when my kids were little, I would have gladly worked a little OT at my Sears or Disney Store jobs.
I don’t know about YOUR family, but I don’t think mine could survive a whole Thursday — a whole, 24-hour Thursday — without at least one 9-1-1 call being placed. A few years ago, both my dear Mother and I appreciated the 6pm shopping “escape hatch” that Best Buy provided for me.
And most significantly, I struggle with a “holiday” that reflects upon European immigrants coming illegally to this country, and in the process of “settling” here, decimating the indiginous “Americans” who’d called this country “home” for centuries.
So I’m conflicted.
I think RadioShack has a right to survive as a retailer by being competitive and innovative in their approach. And offering Black Friday deals on Wednesday is nothing if not innovative! Sure, online offers have snuck into earlier days for years, but this is the first major brick and mortar to just put it out there.
The once-outdated and forgotten RadioShack has remodeled their stores and placed a focus on keeping popular merchandise in-stock. They’ve struck up new deals with major retail players like Amazon and Apple to carry their merchandise. And they’re reaching out to DIY customers by stocking items like cables, connectors, and antennas.
“We think the No. 1 driver for us is to be in stock with all of the things that people naturally go to RadioShack to buy,” says Ron Garriques, RadioShack’s new CEO. “I think you’ll find a cleaned up, brighter, fun experience.”
I’m sure I won’t find that Walkman that I was looking for back in the day. But I’m an Apple nut, so I can’t wait to see what toys they’re offering for this perennial Black Friday shopper. RadioShack, bring it!
Weigh in on this! Do you think RadioShack and other retailers are getting too aggressive with Black Friday promotions, or do you think that only the strong survive, and you’re ready to shop now! Give us your thoughts, and we’ll pass them on to RadioShack and others.