Every year, Walmart makes certain tweaks to its Black Friday game plan, in an attempt to better deal with the crowds that mob its stores on the shopping day that first took off in the US, and is increasingly being taken up in South Africa.
This year, adjustments include rearranging stores to better funnel customers to check-out and to highlight popular items. The new arrangements mean new colour-coded maps, printed in Walmart's circulars and - for the first time - available for reference on Walmart's app. To avoid lines, customers can check out with certain employees throughout the stores.
Unsurprisingly, the revamp hasn't fully solved the Black Friday chaos. A look at social media reveals that Walmart stores across the US - which kicked off sales at 6PM - were as crowded and intense as ever.
Some shoppers are specifically targeting the "maze" that Walmart has created as part of the problem.
It was a total joke. We were in and out of @Target in under 15 mins but at @Walmart it took then 30 minutes to realize nobody made it to the checkouts because we were all stuck in the maze and nobody could move. They finally opened spots for us to make it to the registers.— Matt Paschke (@mpaschke13) November 23, 2018
However, at least one Walmart Black Friday innovation this year has been welcomed with open arms. "Check Out With Me," which allows employees in the busiest sections of its stores to check out shoppers with mobile devices, is a hit with customers - if they can find the workers.
Still, for the most part, chaos - or at least crowds - reigned at Walmart.
But, for many shoppers who got their hands on Black Friday deals, the hectic scene was worth it.
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