What its like to work Black Friday on Thanksgiving at Best Buy – Business Insider

With holiday decor staggered between stacks of products, the store was mostly quiet.

Best Buy Black Friday

Black Friday deals at at a Best Buy in New Jersey.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


But every so often, I heard random shouts coming from across the store.

Best Buy Black Friday

Tape on the floor guides customers through the store.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


Across the store, behind stacks of hundreds of TVs, I could hear someone chanting: “feel the vibes, feel the vibes.”

Best Buy Black Friday

There were hundreds of TVs at Best Buy on Thanksgiving.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


Best Buy’s employees were amping each other up for the 5 p.m. opening.

Best Buy Black Friday

A Best Buy employee stands behind a stack of tech products.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


Although I couldn’t see many employees yet, it was just because they were staggered around the large store.

Best Buy Black Friday

Best Buy before the store opened.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


So while the store looked empty, it felt full of energy.

Best Buy Black Friday

Best Buy before the store opened.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


“It’s like the calm before the storm,” employee Lauren Alford told Business Insider. “But we’re ready like we always are.”

Best Buy Black Friday

Best Buy before the store opened.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


Outside, it was a different story. Customers were lined up around the building.

Best Buy Black Friday

The line at Best Buy before the store opened.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


Some of them got in line at 8 a.m.

Best Buy Black Friday

The line at Best Buy before the store opened.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


But it was organized chaos. Best Buy employees handed out a limited number of tickets for the store’s hottest deals.

Best Buy Black Friday

The line at Best Buy before the store opened.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


This year, the tickets were for TVs.

Best Buy Black Friday

Best Buy’s Doorbuster ticket.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


The ticket system saves time and keeps shoppers and products safe.

Best Buy Black Friday

The line at Best Buy before the store opened.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


Local police officers maintained the feeling of safety as well. “We have a great relationship with local PD. They’re family,” general manager Stephen Small told Business Insider.

Best Buy Black Friday

A police officer hugs a Best Buy employee.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


Back inside, Best Buy employees were using large products to separate different sections of the store.

Best Buy Black Friday

Best Buy before the store opened.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


And more employees were coming in to start their shifts.

Best Buy Black Friday

Best Buy before the store opened.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


But it felt more like they were coming in for a family reunion. Every employee that came through the doors received hugs and high-fives from their colleagues.

Best Buy Black Friday

Best Buy before the store opened.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


According to Small, Black Friday shifts are in high-demand: “It’s super easy to fill these shifts. I have to tell some employees they can’t work. We don’t force anybody here. It’s a volunteer system. They understand the gravity,” Small told Business Insider.

Best Buy Black Friday

Best Buy before the store opened.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


“This is our Super Bowl. If you’re in retail — especially at Best Buy — this is our prime time. A lot of our employees are athletes and gamers. They’re here for this,” Small continued.

Best Buy Black Friday

General manager Stephen Small (left) prepares for the doors to open.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


But it’s not just Black Friday that makes these employees so excited. “This is family. That’s the best thing about it. I came here early just to be with everybody,” Alford told Business Insider.

Best Buy Black Friday

Employees catch up before the store opens (Alford not pictured).
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


All the workers seem to agree that this team feels like a family. “I’ve never been in a building that is more family-oriented than here,” sales manager Mike Henao told Business Insider.

Best Buy Black Friday

Henao is on the right.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


Henao has worked 14 Black Fridays, and he gives the team a pep talk every year. At around 4:45 p.m., Henao stepped up onto register number eight and shouted to the assembled workers.

Best Buy Black Friday

Henao gives a pep talk on Thanksgiving.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


“Welcome to the best day of your life,” he said.

Best Buy Black Friday

Henao gives a pep talk on Thanksgiving.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


With the whole store’s attention, Henao introduced his leading staff one by one, and the employees cheered for each. He also talked about how much he loves his staff.

Best Buy Black Friday

Henao gives a pep talk on Thanksgiving.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


It felt more like a pep rally than a pep talk. People were shouting, clapping, dancing, and wooing.

Best Buy Black Friday

Henao gives a pep talk on Thanksgiving.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


At one point, Tyshon Crandal, a sales supervisor, climbed onto the register with Henao. “It’s like my second home,” he said of Best Buy.

Best Buy Black Friday

Henao gives a pep talk on Thanksgiving.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


Just before the doors opened, the feeling in the air was one of excitement, a few nerves, and overwhelming confidence.

Best Buy Black Friday

Henao gives a pep talk on Thanksgiving.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


“You’ll sweat, I’m not gonna lie. You’ll get anxious,” Alford said of the moment before the doors open.

Best Buy Black Friday

Best Buy just before the doors opened.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


But it’s a good sweat: “We anticipate this moment all year long,” Alford told Business Insider.

Best Buy Black Friday

Best Buy just before the doors opened.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


While the store was roaring with excitement, just seconds before the doors opened was quiet.

Best Buy Black Friday

Best Buy just before the doors opened.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


And then it wasn’t. Because it was cold, Best Buy let customers in five minutes early.

Best Buy Black Friday

Best Buy just as the doors opened.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


For the next seven minutes, customers steadily streamed into the store.

Best Buy Black Friday

Best Buy just as the doors opened.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


“When the energy is here and the customers are here and we’re busy, time flies,” Crandal told Business Insider.

Best Buy Black Friday

Crandal not pictured.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


As someone who’s only seen Black Friday events on TV, I was expecting chaos.

Best Buy Black Friday

Best Buy on Thanksgiving.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


It just felt like a busy day at the store.

Best Buy Black Friday

Best Buy on Thanksgiving.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


This is partially because customers can order their Black Friday products online and pick them up in-store, an increasingly common way to shop on Black Friday and for the holidays.

Best Buy Black Friday

Best Buy’s pick-up section on Thanksgiving.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


John Rodriguez has only been working at Best Buy for a month, and he was excited to work on Thanksgiving.

Best Buy Black Friday

Sales associate John Rodriguez (left) works at Best Buy on Thanksgiving.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


“The atmosphere here is amazing. Everyone is always smiling, the energy in the store is always up, and everybody is really excited to be here. I’ve never been in a work environment like this,” Rodriguez told Business Insider.

Best Buy Black Friday

Best Buy on Thanksgiving.
Joey Hadden/Business Insider


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.