Walmart Sign

Walmart Will Close All Of Its Stores On Thanksgiving This Year

Walmart announced this week that it will be keeping all of its retail locations closed on Thanksgiving this year. Traditionally, Walmart begins its epic Black Friday sale on Thanksgiving, drawing massive crowds of individuals ready to take advantage of all the sales. However, this year due to Covid-19 concerns and the uncertainty of how far along a vaccine will be by November, the corporation is deciding now to close down for the holiday. 

All Sam’s Club stores will also be closed down, marking a huge departure from company tradition, however, as we’ve seen with countless annual parades, award shows, music festivals, etc. many cultural traditions have been put on pause indefinitely until the world gets a better handle on this virus that’s infecting millions.  

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Sam’s Club is a part of Walmart’s warehouse chain and it normally is closed down on Thanksgiving every year anyway, so that choice wasn’t that out of the ordinary. John Furner, the president and CEO of Walmart in the US recently released a statement in which he praised all of his employees for being so patient and dedicated during these uncertain times.  

“We know this has been a trying year, and our associates have stepped up. We hope they will enjoy a special Thanksgiving Day at home with their loved ones. We are certainly thankful to our people for all of their efforts.”

Walmart normally is open during its regular hours on Thanksgiving, but has special roped off areas where Black Friday merchandise that’s already marked down is on sale. The sales begin to appear more and more as the day progresses until they open again on Black Friday itself, where the whole store is essentially marked down. 

Last year, Walmart made the decision to start its Black Friday door-buster sales at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving which, business wise, draws a ton of customers into the store early before they go to all their other favorite retail establishments the next day. 

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Walmart and other major retail corporations in America typically always stay open on Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend is one of the biggest retail events to happen annually, however, that doesn’t mean that these retail giants haven’t faced their fair share of criticism for doing this. 

Pandemic aside, normally many customers and employees ban together in their belief that everyone deserves to take the day off to spend it with their families and loved ones, as that’s the point of the entire holiday. Black Friday itself is a holiday specifically made for working in retail, so why should employees be expected to work both days in a row when the sales are the same? 

However, the decision to close this year was more so inspired by the pandemic directly and will likely not become an annual tradition, according to Furner who claimed in his statement that the decision to close was inspired by a manager at one of Walmart’s Texas locations. 

“Kevin Carlyle is the People Lead at Store #475 in Round Rock, Texas. He recently wrote us and suggested that we close for Thanksgiving during this unusual year, so that our associates could spend the day with their families.”

With this announcement the company also claimed that they would be providing their employees with an additional bonus of $150-$300 starting on August 20th. This is the third round of bonuses for employees since the beginning of the pandemic and any employee (part and full time) who started working for Walmart before July 31st will qualify.

Cyber Monday

Consumers Spent $9.4 Billion During Cyber Monday This Year

The holiday shopping season has officially kicked off with one of the most chaotic weekends for retail and online stores everywhere. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and finally Cyber Monday truly did set the tone for how intense holiday gift shopping is looking to be in the coming month. According to data curated by Adobe, Cyber Monday in particular broke e-commerce records, as shoppers in the United States spent about $9.4 billion online this year! 

According to the same data, Americans spent close to $1.5 billion more than they did last year; granted $3 billion of the money spent this year was on smartphones alone, another record broken for the smartphone industry. Technology has truly developed and thrived this year, so it makes sense that a hefty percentage of spending was on smartphones and other electronics that were on sale this Monday. 

During the peak times of online traffic, consumers were collectively spending $12 million every minute. After this weekend, US online shoppers have spent close to $82 billion since the beginning of November on their holiday shopping.  Representatives from Adobe said that the original forecast for Cyber Monday Sales didn’t exceed $8 billion, even with the massive amount of money consumers have already spent before this past weekend. 

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“That’s despite very aggressive pricing on the part of online sellers. “Retailers unlocked sales earlier to combat a shorter shopping season, while continuing to drive up promotion of the big branded days including Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Consumers capitalized on deals and ramped up spending, especially on smartphones, where activity increased on days when shoppers were snowed or rained in,” said John Copeland, head of Marketing and Consumer Insights at Adobe, in a statement.

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According to Tech Crunch Magazine, the top items sold this year on Cyber Monday included Frozen 2 merchandise, LOL Surprise Dolls, NERF products, Nintendo products, Star Wars merchandise, Samsung TV’s, Amazon Fire TV, Airpods, and air fryers. A diverse group of products for sure, but when we think about where each of these products fall demographic wise, it makes a lot of sense. Of course, smartphones also took a top spot, accounting for almost a third of the total money spent, sending overall smartphone sales for the year up 46%. 

Cyber Monday has been slowly taking the crown from Black Friday in terms of significant shopping days during this Thanksgiving weekend. More and more consumers are embracing the digital age and staying home instead of getting up early to go to the store and wait for hours in line to get a TV on sale that they could just buy for the same reduced price online that upcoming Monday. Additionally, this year the winter weather hit a lot of the US hard during Thanksgiving weekend, so customers were even less inclined to leave their homes, and more inclined to shop online. 

“Online shopping received some unexpected boosts this holiday season. Retailer fears of a shorter season meant that deals came much sooner than usual, and consumers took notice. In some areas of the country, adverse weather in the form of snow and heavy rain meant that many opted to stay home instead and grabbed the best deals online. Just look at Black Friday, which brought in $7.4 billion online and is just below last year’s Cyber Monday at $7.9 billion,” said Taylor Schreiner, principal analyst and head of Adobe Digital Insights.

With online retail growing everyday, it makes perfect sense that Cyber Monday brought in so much money this year. Tech Crunch predicts that in total consumers will spend $14 billion more than they did this year on their online shopping alone. It’s truly beginning to look a lot like Christmas.


Cyber Monday

Top 5 Best Cyber Monday Deals for 2019

In recent years, Cyber Monday has eclipsed Black Friday as one of the best days of the year for deals on all manner of products. The number of items on sale across the Internet is surely in the thousands, and it can be difficult to find the best deals. As such, this article details some of the best deals on some of the most popular products this holiday season.

1) Apple Airpods

Wireless earbuds are all the rage as of late, and for iPhone users, there’s perhaps no better option than Apple’s own Airpods. Normally $159, they can be purchased for $144 today only from Walmart. While this is not the best deal on this list, Airpods are an extremely popular gift this holiday season, and the wireless earphones are, as of this writing, currently sold out on Amazon and other retailers. Apple products rarely go on sale, so if you’re planning on giving Airpods as a gift this year, it’s a good idea to buy them today before the deal ends or they’re sold out.

2) Apple iPad

An even better deal can be found for the newest versions of Apple’s iPad, which can be purchased for up to $100 off today. The new iPad can be bought at a discount from various retailers, including Target, Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy today. On Target’s website, the 10.2 inch 32 GB iPad is $229.99, $100 less than its usual price. If you want to buy the tablet in other colors, however, you’ll have to spend $249.99, which is still a substantial discount. Apple’s latest version of its popular tablet is its best yet, and thanks to software updates and a wide range of accessories, the iPad is a powerful mobile computer which can be had for an excellent price.

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3) Xbox One X

Video game consoles are often a great holiday gift for children and teenagers, and the most recent gaming consoles are as affordable as they’ve ever been. The Xbox One X, Microsoft’s answer to Sony’s Playstation 4 and Nintendo’s Switch, can be purchased at a $200 discount for $299 from B&H today only. The Xbox One X is an update to the Xbox One, and supports 4K and HDR output. As such, the console makes a great gift for fans of video games who want to enjoy some of the best graphics console gaming has to offer, as long as they have a TV compatible with the console’s advanced visual features.

4) Amazon Fire TV Stick

Another great entertainment option is Amazon’s Fire TV Stick, which plugs into the HDMI port on a TV and grants access to a wide variety of streaming video services, including Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, and Amazon Prime Video. The Fire TV Stick is offered for $19.99, half of its usual price, on Amazon, Target, and Best Buy. The Fire TV Stick transforms any HDTV into a Smart TV, and its easy-to-use interface is ideal for accessing movies and TV shows. The device’s remote even offers a voice input feature through Alexa. For just under $20, the Fire TV Stick is a great option for streamlining one’s TV-watching experience.

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5) Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

While the Apple Watch is likely the best available smartwatch for iPhone users, people who have Android phones have a plethora of options for compatible devices. Probably the best smartwatch for Android users is the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, which is currently $50 off on Amazon. Both the 40mm and 44 mm sizes are on sale today, and can be purchased for $229 and $249 respectively. Though it was released just months after Samsung’s other Active smartwatch, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, this watch offers a number of improvements over its predecessor, including more accurate heart-rate sensors and a 2-day battery life. The watch works especially well with Samsung smartphones, making the watch an excellent gift for someone who has a Galaxy or Note phone.

As always, time is of the essence when shopping for deals on Cyber Monday, as the products listed here as well as countless others are likely to be sold out by the end of the day. It’s a good idea to take advantage of these deals while they last and complete your holiday shopping when you can save the most money.

Small Business Meeting

How To Prepare Your Business For “Small Business Saturday”

With Thanksgiving right around the corner shoppers are eagerly planning and waiting for one of the biggest retail holidays of the year. Once the turkey’s have been eaten and the last slice of pumpkin pie is gone, shoppers across the country get ready to wake up early and head to some of their favorite stores in an attempt to get a great Black Friday deal. Black Friday, however, is just the beginning of an extended weekend of shopping deals. Cyber Monday takes the title of second most recognized holiday shopping affair, however, one that is often overlooked is Small Business Saturday. A Saturday that’s meant to remind consumers everywhere that while they’re shopping at retail giants for the holidays this year, don’t forget about the hard-workers that make up local small businesses. Supporting your local small business is especially important during the holidays, while retail in general tends to boom during the holiday month, small businesses are often disregarded in terms of shopping, when superstores and online retail giants have taken over. 

Owning a small business is something that you should pride yourself greatly in. Running an entire establishment and keeping up with modern retail trends can definitely be difficult, but millions of Americans are out there doing it and succeeding. There’s many ways that these businesses can keep up a modern and fresh image, especially during this major shopping weekend, to really draw customers in. 

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Store design, graphics, and branding is obviously so important to catching the consumers attention. The holidays give small business owners another great opportunity to do a mini “re-branding” of their businesses aesthetic, and doing so will draw in the attention of holiday lovers everywhere. If you own a store front property, don’t be afraid to invest in some lights and other festive decorations to engulf the outside space of your business. While tedious, holiday decorations in general evoke a very “homey” and euphoric reaction in customers and will draw them in to see what kind of holiday specials you’re offering. The same goes for interior design, don’t be afraid to make your space festive with some little pre-lit Christmas trees, ribbon, twinkly lights, and glitter, glitter always helps. Even if you just have customers coming in to take photos of the amazing decorating work you’ve done, that’s free publicity right there, so don’t be afraid to do what you need to do in order to get the most foot traffic. 

Social media presence is a major requirement for owning a small business in this age. Your online presence is how you advertise, especially if your business is locally based. If you don’t have any sort of social media profiles for your business, definitely make a few! Especially for the holiday season and Small Business Saturday (SBS), you can turn to your platforms to inform your following of all the great SBS sales you have going on. Word spreads the quickest when it’s done through digital communication, so don’t hesitate to join the digital age, especially when it comes to your business. 

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In preparation for SBS, you also want to ensure that all lines of communication relating to your business are up and running. Telephone lines are cleared, internet access is set up, and you have staff ready to answer any customer questions in a quick and efficient matter. Relating to technology, you want to ensure any digital devices that you use to run your business are set up and in working order before the holiday weekend rush. If you know for a fact that you’re likely to get major foot traffic at one point or the other during the day, maybe invest in an additional “Square Terminal” that can simply be plugged into your phone (or employee’s phones) to take care of credit card transactions with customers, (assuming you’re in some sort of retail industry). Running a small business as smoothly as possible during a holiday retail weekend will stick with customers, and most likely lead to word spreading about all  the great deals your having. 

Finally, ensure that you and your team are ready and prepared for this holiday season. Employee’s tend to feel residual stress from the holiday’s in general that they bring into the workplace, and understandably so. The holidays in general can cause a whole slew of emotions and stresses to occur, be the leader they need you to be and ensure everyone that you’re a team and will work together the whole way through. Bringing in some holiday snacks might keep morale up as well. So whip out the cookie mix, Christmas lights, holiday ads, high-speed internet, and get ready for another successful year in the books of running a successful small business. And good luck this Saturday!

Christmas Market

We’ve Looked at Six Fantastic Christmas Markets You Should Visit This December

With Christmas only five weeks away it is time to start putting together your list of presents, activities and decoration shopping and although the thought of heading to the bigger stores can be appealing we think a Christmas market is an even better idea.

We’ve looked at some of the markets across the country and put together some of the best, and funkiest, markets for you to choose from.

Christmas Village, Philadelphia

Based on the traditional German markets, the Christmas Village in Philadelphia has many German vendors selling authentic German trinkets, Christmas decorations, toys, accessories and much more. It is always worth going to these German markets with an empty stomach so you can fill up on amazing goodies including German bratwursts, a glass of Gluhwein, schnitzels and cotton candy.

When: November 28th – December 24th 2019
Open: Sunday to Thursday, 11am – 7pm. Friday to Saturday, 11am – 8pm. Thanksgiving Day 9am – 5pm & Christmas Eve 11am – 5pm.
Where: Love Park, JFK Plaza, Philadelphia

Georgetown Christmas Markets, Colorado

If you fancy a more traditional setting for a Christmas market head over to Colorado and their snowy mountains to the beautiful town of Georgetown and join in with their 60th annual Christmas market. As well as their outdoor European marketplace there are also horse drawn wagon rides, Christmas museum tours, appearances by St. Nicholas, carolers in Victorian dress and a Santa Lucia Children’s Procession each day at noon.

Like most Christmas markets there is free entry leaving you more money to spend in the many stunning stalls selling a mixture of Christmas goodies, food and drink – including the amazing Colorado wine – and the different tours through Hamill House, Hotel de Paris and Energy Museums.

When: December 7th & 8th and December 14th & 15th 2019
Open: 10am – 5pm
Where: 6th Street, Downtown Georgetown, Colorado

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Christkindlmarkt, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Visited by locals and tourists alike, Christkindlmarkt is an experience for everyone. Celebrating their 27th year there have been many new booths added for 2019 meaning you can buy your Christmas presents, eat your Christmas food and listen to the live Christmas music that is played the entire day.

You can also treat your pets here with several booths dedicated to our furry friends, including a pet photo session with St. Nicholas on certain dates. Make sure you also visit the fire pits and igloos in the outdoor village!

When: November 22nd – December 22nd 2019
Open: Thursday (from 5th December) 11am – 6pm, Fridays 11am – 8pm, Saturdays 10am – 8pm and Sundays 10am – 6pm.
Where: Steelstacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Columbus Circle Holiday Market, New York

You cannot compile a guide to the best Christmas markets across the country without including New York.

New York City has several markets, including Union Square Holiday Market and Grand Central Holiday Fair however we think you should head to Columbus Circle Holiday Market in Central Park West.

Although this is one of the smaller markets it has a huge personality! The buzz you feel as you wander around the jewelry, Christmas decorations, scarves and gloves and children’s toys is something you may not experience in many other markets.

And with the location being Central Park West it is easy enough to head towards the Wollman Rink for some ice-skating under the New York skyline.

When: December 4th – 24th 2019
Open: Monday to Saturday 10am – 8pm, Sunday 10am – 7pm
Where: Columbus Circle, 59th Street, Central Park West, New York City

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The Old World Christmas Market, Wisconsin

Wisconsin may be famous for its cheese but their Old World Christmas Market is also something you should be visiting.

With similarities to the Christkindlmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, Wisconsin’s 22nd annual market is full of Christmas cheer from around the world. Whether you prefer Russian nesting dolls, Czech glass-blown ornaments or Estonia woollens there really is something for everyone.

Once you have finished your shopping head over to The Old World Food Court which has a fantastic choice of international fare, including Nuremberg bratwurst, apple strudel, dumplings and more. And if that isn’t enough to get you in the Christmas spirit, Father Christmas himself will be wandering around the market, ready to speak to anyone regardless of which list they have made!

When: December 6th – 15th 2019
Open: 10am – 5pm
Where: The Osthoff Resort, 101 Osthoff Avenue, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair, San Francisco

If you are looking for a Christmas fair with a difference head over to Daly City in San Francisco where they will be hosting their Great Dickens Christmas Fair, dedicated to life in Victorian London, England.

You’ll join hundreds of performers in a twilight evening in Charles Dickens’ London Town and can roam the winding streets in search of Christmas gifts, decorations, food and drink with the beautiful aroma of roasted chestnuts in the air.

When: November 23rd – December 22nd 2019
Open: 10am – 7pm
Where: Cow Palace Exhibition Halls, San Francisco

Whichever Christmas market you decide to head to – whether on our list or not – we’re sure you’ll have an amazing time.

Girl Using Binoculars

The Best Science Gifts For Kids

Gift giving can be one of the most daunting tasks of the holiday season, but it doesn’t have to be. Luckily there are tons of online resources and articles to help you find the best gifts for your loved ones, this being one of them! With Black Friday coming up, there’s never been a better time to shop for your specific loved ones wants. Many kids these days are so engulfed in technology, they forgot about the lost art of toys as a source of entertainment. As a child, I always loved gifts that involved making anything. The tactile process of creation is one that keeps kids engaged, their brains stimulated, and is also extremely fun. Live Science Magazine recently compiled a list of amazing Black Friday gift ideas for all of your little creators! What child doesn’t want to conduct experiments and create some scientific magic all by themselves? These gifts not only are a great source of non-digital entertainment for your kids, but provides an educational component that is disguised as fun experimentation. 

Amazon has a bunch of online Black Friday deals that have already been discounted on the site, and these science themed toys are some of the best deals out there! Even if you’re child isn’t too keen on scientific experiments yet, these toys will surely grab their interest, without breaking your bank.

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First up is a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton model that assembles to be two feet long (26 inches to be exact)! This toy is for kids ages six and up, and is perfect for any child who has a keen interest in the species that ruled the planet before we got here. The kit also comes with a colorful instruction manual that will catch the eye of any child. The kit itself is made up of twenty different pieces, so depending on how old your child is, they may require some assistance, however, that just means you get some extra time both playing with and teaching your kid about something really cool! Once complete, the T. Rex model comes with it’s own stand, so your little paleontologist can display their beautiful work, and educate all their friends about the cool dinosaur skeleton in their room! The best part? It’s currently discounted at $10 off the original price (now $19.99)!

Next up is the Kidzlane Microscope. This microscope is for kids ages three and up and is the best way to introduce your children to the magical powers of magnifying something to see all its inner workings. The kit itself comes with two rubber “specimens” that your  child can view up close with a magnifying glass that zooms in eight times the size of the object! In addition, the built in light, fun design, and science tools will have any kid feeling like a real scientist ready to learn! Currently on sale from $20 to $16!

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Speaking of magnification, for more portable fun you can get your child a cool pair of compact binoculars made for kids! Currently priced at $10 with free shipping, these vibrantly colored binoculars can bring the microscope powers outdoors! Your child will be able to see the world magnified eight times, perfect for discovering new birds and critters lurking in the backyard, as well as getting a closer look at any planes flying up above. This gift is perfect to fulfill all the curiosity cravings that kids are constantly engulfed with.

Going back to our dinosaur theme, this set of four dinosaur figurines with movable jaws is perfect for any child who wants to see what their favorite prehistoric friends looked like beyond just a skeleton. At just $13, this set will give your child a variety of dinosaurs to learn about and play with. The figures range in size from five to ten inches and are perfect for any child ages three and up!

Last, but certainly not least, what child do you know that wouldn’t be completely entertained by the classic exploding volcano experiment? Amazon is now offering a Volcanic Eruption and Lava experimentation Kit at 60% off, making it just $20! This 22 piece set is made for children eight and older, and provides enough entertainment for a full day of building, mixing, and exploding! The best deal on the list and by far the most entertaining and educational. This gift will allow your child to not only have a great time making a cool volcano craft, but they’ll be able to learn about the inner workings of one of the Earth’s coolest natural features.