Inflation, economic uncertainty, supply chain woes, and a shortage of front-line retail workers are shaping up to be a perfect storm for disappointment, tantrums, and possibly violence at brick-and-mortar retailers this holiday season.
The stress that always accompanies the holidays, especially Christmas, is causing anxiety and worse for consumers who have to get along with extended family, find the perfect gifts for everyone at a time when tempers flare when the Shoppers compete for deals in product categories such as electronics, toys, and clothing.
Some retailers are panicking and taking advantage of the holiday sales by launching Black Friday deals two to three weeks before the shopping event. And consumers are taking the lead and buying early this season, as they have in recent years. This year is particularly troublesome with the Fed raising interest rates and the specter of the “R” word on the lips of some pundits.
These concerns, and more, prompted a statement from the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union asking shoppers to treat sales associates and seasonal help with courtesy and not blame them for out-of-stocks and best sellers that can to have coveted
As the holiday shopping season begins and in-store purchases increase, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Stores Union issued the following statement urging holiday shoppers and employers to treat retail workers with dignity and respect amidst ongoing supply chain issues:
“As retailers begin their holiday shopping sales earlier than ever this year, the stress and pressure for retail workers during the holiday season extends for additional weeks. At the same time, incidents of harassment, violence, and hate continue to rise in stores, causing workers to worry about their physical safety and mental health.
“The supply chain remains precarious,” the statement continued. “Retail workers bear the brunt of shopper frustration. Tempers rise quickly when customers hear that coveted Christmas items are stuck in transit and have been delayed for months; and especially if they’ve been to several stores only to go home empty-handed.
“Workers are not to blame, and stores need to provide security, safety protocols and training to handle irate shoppers this season, as well as safe staffing levels to meet the longer demand period,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president. of retail, wholesale and department stores. European Union (RWDSU).
“Shoppers need to remember what this season is all about: love, generosity and kindness. Buyers must treat workers with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
It’s a pretty sad comment on the state of consumerism and families, yet there’s a history of bad behavior and sometimes deadly violence at Black Friday sales events. Retailers appear to be fanning the fire and disappointing consumers with advertised deals that won’t have enough physical products to meet demand.
“Black Friday has historically been the start of the holiday shopping and sales season,” said Tierney Wilson, senior vice president of strategy and consulting at January Digital. “Black Friday doesn’t have the same impact that it used to. The promotions, historically reserved for Black Friday, are now a season-long event, starting in October. Given this, it wouldn’t be surprising if Black Friday doesn’t exist for 15 years and smarter retailers begin to develop alternative methods of generating sales without relying on Black Friday-type promotions.”
Retailers that used to be less promotional, like Nordstrom
“We are excited to share Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals for both Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack,” a spokeswoman said in an email. “Nordstrom will have incredible deals on products up to 60% off on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Shop from some of our favorite brands across categories including Drybar, Free People, UGG, Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch, Longchamp, Le Creuset, Coach, Topshop, Vince, New Balance and Zella and many more,” the email read. electronic.
The email added that Nordstrom Rack will offer customers up to 70% off fashion clothing, accessories and shoes for the entire family, including brands like Nike, Kate Spade New York, Sam Edelman, Eileen Fisher, Steve Madden, Levi’s , Ted Baker. London, Rebecca Minkoff and Bobbi Brown”.