"Black Friday" is a strange name for the official first day of the Christmas shopping season, but people may have started calling it that because shoppers behave so badly in their rush to capture bargains.

Researcher Sharron Lennon, who spent the past three Black Fridays observing and surveying shoppers, says, "If people put a lot of effort into their Black Friday shopping, those were the people who were likely to be the misbehavers on Black Friday." And there’s a surprising amount of effort needed to get ready for that day, including coupon clipping extensive planning and choosing which stores to visit when for which advertised items. When consumers’ expectations are out of line with reality is when the problems start. For instance, if a shopper expects to get the deeply discounted laptop advertised in a flyer and lines up in the cold before the store opens only to find the store has just a handful in stock, he or she is likely get angry and misbehave.

Lennon targets her solutions at retailers rather than consumers, because while shoppers can regulate their own behaviors, they cannot control the behaviors of others, the number of registers open or the length of lines. Some of her possible suggestions are: Hand out tickets for items with limited quantities, and only hand out as many tickets as the store has units in stock. And when you run out of a discounted item, post a sign in the front of the store, where customers can see it when the enter and thus avoid a long and fruitless search. Lennon also thinks stores should not accept coupons on that day, since searching for them at the cash register slows things down.

Those are some of the things stores SHOULDN’T do, but she thinks they SHOULD make things more fun by announcing unexpected bargain as the day goes along. Want to avoid the shopping madhouse completely? If you’re like most of us, you want to get your friends and family something beautiful, unique and AFFORDABLE for Christmas. We suggest a beautiful 2011 crop circle calendar–we’re the only place in the US that carries these and they send a lovely message of peace and harmony for troubled times. And subscribers save 10% on EVERYTHING in our store!

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