Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly spoke to the press this morning about the company’s huge Black Friday numbers, and how 2014 turned out to be one of the best the company has seen in years.
“We had so many great deals this year,” said Joly, beginning his speech. “We had sales on all the hottest electronics, and we even had a 50″ TV with a better price than Wal-Mart had. It was just a wonderful day, and we are very thankful that our over 140,000 employees generously gave up their Thanksgiving holiday with families to come to work and shill for our items.”
Joly said that throughout the company’s almost 1200 stores, they were able to get almost everyone the product they were looking for, and at an unbeatable price.
“Thankfully, we had a pretty full warehouse leading into this season,” said Joly. “We had almost enough TVs, computers, and iPads for everyone. We only had 47 deaths this year, which is down from the 60-plus we’ve seen in previous years. All these people, all those crowds, all the trampling and fisticuffs, things are bound to happen sometimes.”
Generally speaking, there are fights, violence, and crowds so large that people are trampled, and often injured or killed, every year during Black Friday sales events. Joly says that it’s just ‘part of doing business,’ and one of the things that makes Black Friday exciting for the customers is the fact that they could not make it home.
“Places like Wal-Mart, they do a one-hour guarantee now, so you can be first in line or 2,000th in line, but if you’re there in the first hour, you’ll be getting your product. Maybe not right away, but you’ll get it at the sale price, and they’ll ship it,” said Joly. “We’re big, but we’re not Wal-Mart big, so stores like us, Target, K-Mart, Sears – we get to police our customers on our own. Just like the real police, though, we can’t always control the riots that ensue.”
Joly said that next year, they’re shooting to only have 20-30 deaths, and by 2020, they should be down to less than five.
“I don’t see it ever reaching zero deaths. I mean, even if the customers all behaved rationally and like normal people, we still expect at least 2 or 3 employees to die off from overwork,” said Joly. “Not that I ever have done it myself, but I imagine those 15-20 hour Black Friday shifts are horrible!”