Target Store Has Great Black Friday Idea: Only 30 People At A Time

Here’s a crazy idea: let’s construct a Black Friday sale in such a way as shoppers aren’t hospitalized in a mad dash for deals. That’s what one Target store in Indiana is doing, where the plan is to only let 30 people in the store at a time on the sale day after Thanksgiving.

“I work for a Target store in Indiana. A couple weeks ago, I was informed we will be opening at 4AM on Black Friday,” writes our inside tipster. “Furthermore, we will be letting 30 people in at a time, so as to avoid a horrible mad rush.”

I like it. Maybe the store won’t get that pent-up fury as people compete for so-so deals like monkeys at a banana tree, but they’ll probably also avoid the risk of a costly lawsuit. Plus, if your customers are stretched out in the hospital recovering from contusions, they’re not shopping.

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  1. deathbecomesme says:

    Heres comes the wave of people running from their cars and cutting in line soon as they open the door for the first 30 people.

    • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

      Actually, our local Target store did this last year (yes, I was one of the crazies out there). They had barricades set up and an orderly line formed. They limited entry to ONE set of doors, keeping the rest of them locked. Uniformed Target employees in bright orange safety vests walked the line (backed up by a uniformed police officer standing nearby), preventing line jumping.

      It worked like a charm – no pushing and shoving, no fights…people did power walk back to electronics, toys, and a few other departments, but it was quite orderly…and a lot different from the chaos that I saw at Wally World and Toys R Us.

      • The Lone Gunman says:

        Did the Fire Marshall sign of on that? Only one entrance in-or-out?

        I see a great potential for harm there.

        • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

          Once they got the entire line inside, they opened all the doors, but you make a valid point.

        • Pepster says:

          Most of those doors only “lock” in so far as they cannot be oppened from the outside.

          Even if, the double-door entrance should be sufficient to allow the 30 shoppers and 30-odd employees out with sufficient speed, (not coutning the half dozen fire dores scattered around the store perimeter).

          • Rachacha says:

            I have been underwhelmed by the Black Friday deals in the past several years. Sure, I review the flyers, and see that there is an item on sale as a doorbuster, then I look online and see a comperable item on sale for a few dollars more, and tell myself that saving $10 on a $200 item is not worth getting up from a turkey induced coma at 3am to stand in line in the cold for 2 hours, then having to run to the back of the store and fight off 5 other shoppers who wanted the same item.

            I do have to confess that last year I did go to Home Depot for a Black Friday special…a patio heater, but I walked into the store 3 hours after they opened, grabbed one of the heaters (they still had 30+ in stock) and calmly walked to the register to pay for it. No crowds, no biting and no hitting.

        • notserpmh says:

          My guess is that they turned off the sensor on the automatic doors, but didn’t lock the deadbolt. In that case, someone walks up to the door and it won’t open. A hard push on those doors though (like say someone fleeing a fire) and they are designed for the middle to pop off the hinge and swing open.

          As long as there are still sufficient routes of egress, locking or blocking entrance doesn’t really matter in terms of fire safety.

  2. LHH says:

    meh.

    • denros says:

      is that in response to the article, or did you write “FIRST!” and then get upset when you realized you weren’t?

  3. BluePlastic says:

    How are they going to prevent people from rushing the doors whenever they are opened to admit the next 30 people?

    • dudski says:

      Police presence, an adequate staff presence outside to communicate with waiting customers about what the procedure will be when the doors open, properly placed stanchions to keep the line from getting too thick in any one place.

      • BluePlastic says:

        I’m still concerned that “regular” employees are being expected to perform professional-level crowd control. I wonder if they get any training? What do they do if a fight breaks out in the parking lot?

        • frankrizzo:You're locked up in here with me. says:

          I would think they would have hired enough security people for this.

          • The Lone Gunman says:

            You are dreaming. I have yet to see security people hired for crowd control on a Black Friday anywhere I worked retail in the US.

          • KyBash says:

            The vast majority of security people aren’t trained for crowd control. Many, many years ago, when I was a part-time security guard, we were told to not have contact with groups of more than four people. If there were more than six, dispatch would call police rather than send another security guard.

      • JennQPublic says:

        Not sure how I feel about our tax dollars paying for a “police presence” which is only made necessary by a business’s decision. Why should we be footing the bill? I hope WalMart and Target and the like get charged for the security the police provide. Especially since I suspect local police departments have to pay to have extra staff on duty that day.

    • kenj0418 says:

      Most stores have two sets of doors – maybe they’ll unlock the outer set – let 30 people into the area between, then lock the outer doors and unlock the inner doors.

      An airlock for bargain-crazed shoppers

  4. Rainicorn with baby bats says:

    Didn’t Circuit City or BB used to hand out tickets before opening the doors so that nobody had to mad-rush towards certain items, all they needed was the ticket? That sounds like a better idea IMO.

    • nugatory says:

      Unfortunately I have to admit that on Black Friday I usually shop at Best Buy…

      Yes, they hand out tickets for the big deal items. They start at the front of the line, walk down the length asking who wants XYZ and hands them a ticket.

      At the local BB near me, the owner of Chick-fil-a comes around with coolers filled with Chicken sandwiches and hot coffee.for sale.

  5. LightningUsagi says:

    So does that mean that no one else can come in until the original customers start leaving? Because if so, the first 30 can take their time, and clean out all the deals before anyone else even has a chance at them.

    • pop top says:

      Then they can go up and down the line re-selling the stuff to the people waiting.

    • dudski says:

      No – what they do is allow the first group of thirty in the doors, wait a few seconds so that they have time to clear the entrance and fan out a bit, then let the next thirty in, and so on. It doesn’t cause much of a delay and it’s much safer if it’s done right.

  6. Coffee says:

    November 25th, 4:02,
    There was a riot on the streets,
    Tell me where were you?
    You were home watching your TV
    While I was participatin’ in some anarchy
    First stop we hit up was the local Target store
    But they wouldn’t let me through the door
    Red lights flashin’, time to retire
    So we turned that Target into a structure fire

  7. Important Business Man (Formerly Will Print T-shirts For Food) says:

    Oh, Target…

  8. deathbecomesme says:

    “as people compete for so-so deals like monkeys at a banana tree”

    You racist bastards!

    /s

  9. u1itn0w2day says:

    I guess they are trying to avoid another “Buffalo” herd.

    Hope about just advertising a few items, buy more to sell and extend the sale a few extra days. Heck if people can come at their leisure they might actually spend more time browsing and buying something at higher profit.

    • Erika'sPowerMinute says:

      As to the “buy more to sell”–many hot items are on allotment from the manufacturer. I’m married to a retailer and trust me, he’d love to get more of the in-demand item, but Apple, or HP, or whoever, will only release X amount.

  10. Larkspur says:

    Are they also limiting these 30 people to only one purchase per person or something?

  11. Scrutinizer says:

    Who cincinnati 1979

  12. Such an Interesting Monster says:

    There is absolutely nothing I need so badly that I will degrade myself by participating in this stupidity.

    • chefboyardee says:

      You are my hero (no sarcasm). I hate this consumer frenzy crap around the holidays. Grow up, people. Nothing you can buy is so important as to lose your dignity for it.

      • skwigger says:

        I’ve shopped on Black Friday for years now, and I can say I’ve never lost my dignity over it. I’ve snagged some great deals and have mostly good experiences. It’s a fun time to people watch too.

        • exit322 says:

          I went to Kohl’s one year for this very reason. I was amazed at how long the lines were and the people that were just standing there to save $5 on a Monopoly game or to save $5 on one sweater…

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      This this this.

      We wonder why our econmy is in such a rut and everyone is under mountains of debt, and then go murdering each other on Black Friday over a damned Blender. BE A $%@%&*( HUMAN damnit!

      The holiday isn’t supposed to be about stuff anyway, but we go out and glut ourselves on the “deals” anyway. Baaaaa! Sheeple.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      I have to agree, if I can’t order it online on BF then I don’t need it, and I can probably get it any other time of the year. If I need to save $20 on that crappy BF deal HDTV in order to get it then I don’t need it that badly. I will order a few things online on BF but that is as far as I go with it.

    • mauispiderweb says:

      I used to be the Head Cashier in the only toy store on Maui. Needless to say, I’ve had enough of BF and refuse to shop at all on that day and have been known to take the day off from work to avoid going out of my home, period.

    • jefeloco says:

      Back in ’06 the local mall opened early and gave out gift bags to the first 200 people through the doors on BF. One of the gift bags contained a Wii (new that year and impossible to find locally) but all of them had nearly $500 in vouchers and other discounts.

      My brother in law was part of the group that got in first and saw pure mayhem as people were beating each other to try to get more bags, in case it had the Wii. People trampled each other and tore down security gates, glass doors, furniture and railings in a fit of rage; most of this rage was furthered by the fact that despite all of the beatings/tramplings, the Wii wasn’t in a bag, it was just a voucher redeemable at the mall’s main office.

      My brother in law still participates in that BS but I just wait for cyber monday and shop from work :)

  13. Tunnen says:

    Until we then hear the stories about the mass fighting and stuff that breaks out in the parking lot between people that are “saving spots” for friends or other forms of trying to sneak or cut into the line.

  14. Outrun1986 says:

    Our Target doesn’t have anything you actually want to buy in stock any other time of the year so why would I assume they would have the product I want to buy on Black Friday in stock? I just can’t be bothered with BF since no store here has anything you want to buy actually in stock. Clearance deals and following slickdeals and other deal sites throughout the year yields much better than BF prices and higher quality merchandise usually and there is no mad stampede to get the items.

    Amazon matches all or most black friday prices from popular stores like Target and with them I actually have a chance of getting something by just sitting at my computer and checking the site regularly.

    The problem with the tickets is that the tickets are often not counted correctly, there are sometimes more tickets than there are items, though I have no idea how that could happen if the employees counted correctly. But then people go from the front of the line and just resell the tickets to the other people waiting. Or they go and buy the items then resell them immediately on craigslist or just in the parking lot.

  15. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Yes this will totally work.

    • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

      See my comment above; it did work for us last year. Our local Target did a terrific job with this strategy. No angry people (except the ones they stopped from line jumping and those who showed up kinda late and were at the end of the queue), friendly staff directing traffic, and some outrageous deals.

      A good friend and I go every BF. It’s kooky but we tend to have a lot of fun. Last year, we ate ice cream and drank cocoa in the parking lot of Toys ‘R Us at 2:00 AM while chatting with a hottie cameraman from a remote news crew.

  16. thomwithanh says:

    It just moves the mad-dash to the parking lot. This is not going to work

  17. Cosmo_Kramer says:

    “Maybe the store won’t get that pent-up fury as people compete for so-so deals like monkeys at a banana tree, but they’ll probably also avoid the risk of a costly lawsuit. Plus, if your customers are stretched out in the hospital recovering from contusions, they’re not shopping.”

    It must be sad going through life with so much cynicism.

  18. HeySuburbia says:

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to just hand out tickets for the most popular items shortly before the store opens? Even if you only allow 30 people in at a time what’s to stop those 30 people from knocking each other over running for things?

    • Outrun1986 says:

      From actual people who have attended black friday the tickets don’t always match up to the inventory on hand, which causes problems. There have been people with a ticket that don’t always get their item so it doesn’t work. I have no idea how this happens but I have never worked retail on BF so I can’t comment.

  19. TBGBoodler says:

    Thirty people is a very small number. Targets are pretty large stores. I wonder how many people are usually shopping there at any given time on a “normal” day.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Think of it like timed admission for museums. Every half hour 30 people are let inside until, let’s say, 300 people are in the store. Then you keep letting in sets of 30 people every so often while people are leaving.

  20. dolemite says:

    I’m imagining someone dropping their ball and scrambling to get it so they get the last Turbo Man doll.

  21. shepd says:

    Yeah, that’s kinda sorta how I’ve seen almost all the stores (other than Walmart) do it in Canada. Although, rather than letting just 30 in at a time, it’s more like 1 person every second or so. So the store still fills up, just in a much more orderly fashion.

    (Walmart being the exception because the guard just yelled he was going to close the doors if people rushed–and promptly people rushed and he didn’t close. :(

    Oh, one other thing that I’ve always seen here. Since there’s always lineups long enough to sell out of all the “good” stuff, the store has an employee go from the start of the line to the back with “tickets” (more like printout ads) for people to ask for for what they want. Obviously, first in the line gets choice. That means rushing in is pretty pointless–all the ridiculous deals are sold out already. Everything else is in huge enough stock (and not enough money off) that there’s no point being in a rush.

  22. Zerkaboid says:

    I waited in line all night back in ’06 for a Wii on launch day at Target and they did almost exactly this, as we were in line they handed each person a numbered card and then we were allowed something like 10-15 at a time to go in, grab a Wii and whatever games/accessories we wanted. After a few minutes, maybe 5, the next group was allowed in. Everyone was very civil and it worked like a charm. Hopefully the Black Friday crowd won’t go nuts and rush the doors.

  23. Straspey says:

    I think this plan could only work in certain locations.

    Here, in NY City, they have very strict fire codes – some of which mandate a minimum amount of available exits for any public room with a capacity of “x” amount of people.

    I could be wrong about this, but I don’t think they would be able to have only only one door unlocked – and even if they had a separate exit door reserved for customers who are leaving, that probably would not meet the code requirements.

    Also – I have a much better plan for Black Friday:

    Stay home and eat leftovers.

    • Doubting thomas says:

      Most large retail establishments have doors that when locked will allow you to exit but not enter. For that very reason.

      • Daggertrout says:

        Pushbar doors, yes; automatic slide doors, no.

        • Daggertrout says:

          Of course every Target I’ve been to usually has one set of manual and automatic doors on each side for entrance and exit, plus the single door in the middle they use to push the shopping carts back inside.

        • shepd says:

          Automatic slide doors that are closed and turned off (but not locked) can be opened manually and therefore are counted as exits. Just press on the glass as suggest on printing generally in huge text on the door itself. :)

  24. dulcinea47 says:

    Is that going to be, 30 people every five minutes or some other finite time period? Or only 30 people and then it’s a one-in, one-out policy? How are they going to prevent people from being injured & trampled in the parking lot instead of inside?

  25. frankrizzo:You're locked up in here with me. says:

    Maybe it is in the Indianapolis area. My brother-in-law is an asst. mgr. down there. They are replacing all managers and supervisors with lower paid versions. He’s cleared out his managers and thinks he’s next. 30 at a time would be prudent, due to the lack of experience.

  26. Earl Butz says:

    Being crushed outside the store = no liability for Target.

    Very smart of Target.

  27. aja175 says:

    They’ll cap eachother in the parking lot for those first 30 spots…

  28. whammypower788 says:

    Not news… My local Best Buy sorta did this during Black Friday 2 years ago.

  29. John Gage says:

    Black Friday has become VERY overrated. Back in the day there used to be good deals. Now the retailers know there’s going to be good business that day so the deals are not as good.

    I remember when stores used to give out freebies to the first X number of customers in order to attract lines. /sounding old

    • Outrun1986 says:

      There are a couple stores still doing this, Old Navy is one of them. Sam’s club also gives a free breakfast to members on BF.

  30. Dave on bass says:

    My mother is the only person I know who goes for the doorbuster black friday stuff. Then again, back in the 80s when I was a kid and my sister even younger, my mother was part of the “dive headlong into the room full of Cabbage Patch Kids” frenzy and its ilk.

    I guess it’s so ingrained now, I would absolutely love to see the looks on people’s faces if the retail biz just stopped BF altogether one year. I’d pay to see them do that. Give the customers a learnin’ at the same time, too, by opening the doors and then selling everything at normal price. At least for that one year you’d make record margins.

    But that would never happen, because greed and stupidity were made for each other.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      You know what I bet people would still shop like mad on that day since its pretty ingrained in our culture that the Friday after Thanksgiving is the time to do all your christmas shopping in one day.

  31. homehome says:

    I’ve seen many stores in the carolinas do this and have been doing it for years. Usually they give the ppl there first tickets and only let so many ppl in. At first it was just for the smaller sized store, but now the bigger stores do it to. It works very well, obviously they do have police presence there. Since they’ve done this, the amount of violence and craziness has come down sharply. For a person who has seen it in person, it works very well, of course you can’t get rid of all problems, but they are kept to a minimum.

  32. greatgoogly says:

    Having worked retail from 1988 to 1996, I’ve had enough of BF to last a last time. My current job gives me the day off and I make absolutely sure I do not go anywhere near a retail store on that day, or even the entire weekend. Ordering online is much more civilized, also much more civilized is simply not buying a ton of crap for the “holiday”.

  33. SmokeyBacon says:

    Well, if Black Friday is your thing then hey, have fun with that. But I don’t think that dealing with the crowds, or waiting in line in the cold to get into a store sound like fun. I was at a mall during a regular summer weekend and the store I had specifically wanted to shop at did this (it was a small store having a big sale which I din’t realize until I got there – I wasn’t even there for the sale) and while it moved quickly I didn’t find it to be that fun to stand out in the heat and wait – I can’t imagine how much worse it would be in the winter (ok, technically late fall) with the cold and snow (and depending on where in Indiana this is happening, it could end up being that kind of weather the day after Thanksgiving).

  34. podunkboy says:

    I always do 90% of my shopping online, and pick up the straggler gifts a week before Christmas, so I don’t have to deal with the horde. But since I’m soon to be unemployed with 6 months of severance pay in my pocket, maybe I’ll just go and get in line a couple weeks early.

  35. Extended-Warranty says:

    This is going to piss off a lot of customers.

  36. SabreDC says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but with the large number of daily deals and online Black Friday deals I never really see the need to go to Target at 3:00 am to wait in line for a few hours and save a few bucks. I can honestly say that I have never found an in-store deal so tantalizing that I would take advantage of it. Almost any deal they offer is easily found online.

  37. KyBash says:

    They could really help the community by letting local charities sell chances for a ticket to be in the first 30.

    • frankrizzo:You're locked up in here with me. says:

      That’s a good idea. I just don’t know if people would pay more than $10 for a chance to get in first. It would depend on the store and the deals.

      What about $25 for a chance to be one of 100 to shop from 1am to 3am with the store closed?

      Some lucky charity makes 2500 bucks, good publicity for the store with minimal added cost in payroll.

    • lim says:

      Ideas such as this are why we need comment promoting.

  38. savdavid says:

    Is the Army going to be there because your employees and/or rent-a-cops aren’t going to cut it.

  39. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    What a sad commentary on our society. Remember Furbies? Cabbage Patch Dolls? Beanie Babies? I’m not up on current fads because I don’t have children at home anymore. But most of these things are sitting in a box somewhere, forgotten, but people fell all over themselves to go buy them.

    If there is another great fad, I may just buy a few just to have them to sell on eBay to silly people who would pay double the price just to have that one special thing for their snowflake to open on Christmas morning, and use the extra money to buy fuel oil.

  40. jpdanzig says:

    This sounds like a recipe for disaster, as the hordes in the parking lot behind crush the people being held back at the front door… I sure hope I’m wrong, but I think I’ll continue to do my holiday shopping online, thank you very much…

    • NCB says:

      I’ll be working (local bank) the day after Thanksgiving and will enjoy a quiet Friday for a change.
      I’ve never had a compelling need to get up at 3 am and then to work at 8 because I usually shop a lot online, at home, in my pajamas.

  41. MarvinMar says:

    Our staples has done this for the last few years. But they only let people in as people come out.
    Really sucks, cause you can’t run in and get what you want and head to the next store.

    Like our Walmart last year had many items we wanted but when we got there at “Opening” they were all gone because the store opened at like 10pm on Thanksgiving and many items were available then and if they wern’t, there was a crowd standing around each palette of what they wanted.
    Then they had items that were the same as the sale item but NOT specially marked so the low price did not count. Funny how all the movies that were on sale were nowhere to be found on black Friday but there were bins and bins of them in the days after, and the “Black Friday” price attached to them no longer applied.

    So, On Black Friday…
    Ratchet and Clank PS3 game with red sticker = $10
    Ratchet and Clank PS3 game with red sticker = $25
    Wizard of Oz Bluray with red sticker = $10 (But none were present)
    Wizard of Oz Bluray with red sticker = $20

    Day after Black Friday
    Ratchet and Clank PS3 game with red sticker = $25
    Ratchet and Clank PS3 game with red sticker = $25
    Wizard of Oz Bluray with red sticker = $20 (Copies all over the place)

    • Outrun1986 says:

      They obviously only release limited quantities of the movies and games on BF.

      Also why release more when the hordes will grab it at full price and buy it anyways? Someone is going to buy it with all those people in the store. I can see people easily buying it even if it does not ring up correctly because they planned to buy it and give it as a gift.

      They can only afford to release so much at low, low prices, they take a loss on these items, then they make it up by putting more out the next day at a higher price so people will buy. I am guessing they only put out about 10 copies or so at the really low price then the rest are higher priced.

      I have noticed that Amazon matches most black friday prices, if walmart has a deal on a movie Amazon will likely match that. I have also noticed that sometimes the Walmart website has the same games and movies on sale on Black Friday that they have in the store. Walmart has free site to store shipping or I think its only 99 cents shipping to your house if you have to go that route. They also often will repeat that BF sale on the website a week or 2 later for your desired game or movie, that is what they did last year, I was watching. I was able to get many of the $10 games that walmart had on BF a couple weeks later by either visiting the website or taking advantage of an amazon price match and ordering from them.

  42. HogwartsProfessor says:

    How about we quit the entire stupid Black Friday shit all together?

  43. bott says:

    I work for Target. This will be happening across the company this year and “crowd management” is a new training course that a number of individuals in leadership must take. It’s called “metering” the crowd. Let 30 in, wait 30 seconds, let 30 more in, repeat. This comes officially after last year’s video from inside that Target where those people were nearly trampled to death at opening.

  44. Chiclet says:

    Our Best Buy does something similar on Black Friday. We drove up, saw the line of people WAITING TO SHOP, got back in the car and left. I don’t know what the temperature is in Indiana, but here it’s too cold to stand out and wait to get into the store.

  45. soj4life says:

    Why don’t they just setup a big ol tent in their parking lot with anything that is discounted for the sale and just let people walk in a single file line to pick up what they really needed at 4 am?