The week before Thanksgiving, a friend posted on Twitter that the Kate Spade store in the Pentagon City mall in Arlington, Virginia needed extra hands on Black Friday. The mall opened at midnight on Thanksgiving and didn't close until 10 p.m. on Friday night. Thinking this would be a fun adventure that would lead to a (possibly awesome) store discount, I went in for an interview. There was one interview question: what do you bring to this position? Brand knowledge and energy. I was hired immediately.
Since Thanksgiving is later this year, there are fewer shopping days between scarfing down stuffing and all of the December holidays, so retailers are figuring out whatever tricks they can pull
to get people to open their wallets. Some have already launched major deals—I noticed a promotion by Levi's on Twitter a few days ago, for example, that gave shoppers 40 percent off their online purchases.
Farhad Manjoo, formerly of Slate (his last post there was about how men should wear makeup
) is now at the Wall Street Journal
, and he writes about how robots and computers have yet to take over the low-wage job of the grocery cashier
In the current issue of Seattle Met
, Kathryn Robinson writes about three of the most common salespeople
she comes across while living in the Pacific Northwest.
In April, I got into the “pilot test” for Google Shopping Express, the search company’s effort to create an e-commerce service that delivers goods within a few hours of your order. The service, which is currently being offered in the San Francisco Bay Area, allows you to shop online at Target, Walgreens, Toys R Us, Office Depot, and several smaller, local stores, like Blue Bottle Coffee. Shopping Express combines most of those stores’ goods into a single interface, which means you can include all sorts of disparate items in the same purchase. Shopping Express also offers the same prices you’d find at the store. After you choose your items, you select a delivery window—something like “Anytime Today” or “Between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.”—and you’re done. On the fateful day that I’d run out of toilet paper, I placed my order at around noon. Shortly after 4, a green-shirted Google delivery guy strode up to my door with my goods. I was back in business, and I never left the house.
Farhad Manjoo experienced Google’s new shopping service, compares it to Amazon, and wonders if this will greatly change the way we do our shopping.