Holiday Shopping Season 2014

December 01, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Written by Nathan Waters

Swipe it, write it, charge it, or just simply pull out the cash; Each and every year, Christmas shopping season begins with Black Friday which has been getting bigger and crazier as stores and companies prepare for the crowds that will hopefully pour in. With all the crowds, we here about the dangers and extremes that come with this massive weekend of sales. For those that don’t know what Black Friday is, you are definitely in for an adventure of a lifetime.  Though the sales are tremendous and savings will hopefully get people in the door, many are still frantic and skeptic of just how much its really worth to go out and if the quality of the products are worth the hassle of the holiday season.

From household goods, to the crazy inventions and releases of the year in the electronics section, people line up as early as two days in advance and camp outside the stores to get the savings and be the first in line to grab the door busters. Stores such as Best Buy, Walmart, JC Penny, Sears, and many others, spend half the year planning for this one day to rake in the shoppers who are desperate to make sure their loved ones get what they want and will love. The question is, can you save just as much staying in and shopping online?

In 2013, Best Buy did an evaluation survey to find out that many of their sales were going online after customers coming into stores and testing the products hands on rather than buying in the store. This reaction to people buying online has put many retailers in the position to dropping prices, running more sales promotions, and lowering hours to the amount of personnel within the retail stores to the size of a skeleton crew. This also causes harsh conditions to the employees with few breaks, overwhelming amounts of customers that becomes increasingly unsatisfied with the decreased services and wait time inside the store. How has this effected the way retailers do business? The answer is, they have hired increase amounts of help during the holiday season.  But how many other retailers and chains are having the same issues and how is it affecting them?


This year, it was reported that Best Buy’s website crashed due to the immense number of mobile users that crowded  website looking for the great deals and viewing the advertisements for their local stores.

In fact, online sales are shown to be up over 20% as reported by Money.CNN.

Are you one of those online buyers? Well Cyber Monday to save some money "chaching cha-ching" just might be the day for you! The Monday following Black Friday is the day that you can save online for just about everything you missed on Black Friday!  For you photography geeks out there, Make sure you stop in and take a look at sites like NewEgg.com and B&H Photo, Video, and Pro Audio!

Taking a look at another retailer known as the “Giant” of retail companies, Wal-Mart has had its share of angry workers and displaced workers. While the sales might be coming in, the employees of Walmart do not feel they have taken in any share of Walmart’s success.

This year, protesters were expected to picket and protest outside over 1600 of its stores nationwide.
Though the company states that they are competitive in their benefits such as health and dental care, as well as now contributing to its stock holders and profit sharing plans passing on the benefits to its associates, the workers argue that its not enough to pay their monthly bills because they continue to be underpaid, overworked, and disrespected.

The plans of what appear to be is for people to get themselves hired by the company, which costs the company thousands for each hire, were to walk off their positions in the middle of the busiest hours.

Its actions like these that prevent big companies from being able to raise wages and benefits because of the cost to the company in both customer service, fees, and expenses to replace the person. This costs everyone and is eventually passed onto the consumer and hinder the sale profits of the retailers on Black Friday. Time is money indeed, and for every person that walks out is more money that comes out of all of our pockets.

On the upside, there were massive amounts of sales as Black Friday has become a shopping extravaganza and extended through the whole entire weekend.

From clothing to electronics, housewares to kitchen and cooking supplies/hardware, there is pretty much a little bit of something for everyone on your list! And extending the sales has helped retailers reach those that can’t get a day off to shop on Friday, so they allow the sales to continue through the weekend. This not only helps the consumer, but also the retailers to get the products out of their stores and warehouses to make room for much more needed space.

An unnamed female associate at Walmart on South Florida Ave in Lakeland said stated as I went through her line how exhausted she was working third shift as she identified the slowest time of the day which is the overnight shift as being “crazy.” The lines were packed and from what other associates who came in were on full alert and ready for the highest volume of customers that they have seen in quite a while.

Also, announcing the opening of the new Lakeland Park Center in North Lakeland is now open for business! Stores include:

  •     Dick’s Sporting Goods
  •     Ross Dress for Less
  •     PetSmart
  •     Old Navy
  •     ULTA Beauty
  •     Shoe Carnival
  •     Floor and Decor
  •     Dress Barn
  •     Lane Bryant
  •     America’s Best


What does this mean for Lakeland? Well, for starters, a growing amount of jobs and a raise in the economy for our local community. As it sits right beside and underneath I-4, the shopping center is a beauty to see for those travelers on their way to their next destination that just need to get off the highway for a quick bite to eat at one of the top restaurants, and then slide over for a few deals next door. In fact, Its pretty much walking distance to Red Lobster, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Panera Bread, Olive Garden, Sonny’s BBQ, and many more!  How much more convenient can you get?

So what is on your list this year? Rather its sporting goods, or apparel, a new car for that loved one, food to fill the table and share memories for years to come, or whatever your heart’s and mind’s desire could be, Lakeland Florida is now on the map for one of the largest shopping areas to travel to.

If you are coming in from out of town, Lakeland Linder Regional Airport is a full service place to fly into, and services that will take you to the most local shopping center only 10 mins away.

That's right! Lakeside Village in South Lakeland on Harden Blvd is where most go now for photo ops or shopping, to grab a bite to eat, shopping, tanning, massages, and much much more! Need a break from all the shopping? Thinking about moving into Lakeland? Shop for apartments right next door to the shopping center! What a better idea than to make a new home right next door? Have family coming in and don’t want them to stay with you exactly? Not a problem! Hotels are only a walk away!

What are you looking for this season? Subscribe and share this article with your family and friends, and use #SHOPPINGWITHNATEW and reply @nlwaters on twitter to share what you are doing this holiday season? Find any great deals? Share it!

Don’t forget, I am a photographer! So for all you photographers out there, share some of your most beautiful moments and ‘Like’ me on Facebook @photosbynathanw.com! 

Happy Holidays, you guys and go grab those deals!

And remember, whatever you do, "Don't just take a picture; ... Capture LIFE!"™


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