Sam D. Miller

Marketer and YouTuber based in Atlanta

Big box retailers made awful Black Friday decisions

If you’ve gone shopping on Black Friday over the past few years, you know what to expect. Long lines and aggressive crowds, but great sales. Traditional retailers have been dominating Black Friday for a long time – but the times are changing. Amazon broke records with its Black Friday sales, and another brick and mortar retailer seems to go out of business every day. To stay alive in today’s marketplace, you’ve got to stay competitive. Unfortunately for Toys R US and many others, they’re just barely hanging in there.

Toys R NOT Us

I didn’t have anything I needed to camp out for on Black Friday, but my wife and I went out mid-day to experience the madness and walk off some of our Thanksgiving carbs. We decided to stop by Toys R Us to see if we could get a deal on a gift for our niece. We walked straight to the Lego Juniors section, found the exact Cinderella Carriage set on my niece’s wish list, and headed to the register.

Before approaching the checkout counter, we decided to check for a better deal on Amazon. Sure enough, we found the exact item on Amazon for nearly half off! HALF! Disappointed but still determined, we walked underneath a sign that said PRICE MATCH GUARANTEE and headed for the cashier. Before we let the woman ring up the Lego set, we asked about their price match, and if they honored sales by Amazon. Sadly, the woman said “we’re only price-matching with”

What? WHAT?! Two things immediately began to frustrate me. First, they aren’t price-matching any other retailer besides themselves, which doesn’t seem to make any sense. But second, and much more importantly, they’re charging DIFFERENT PRICES on their website versus in their brick and mortar stores. Worst of all, the more expensive price was in the store itself! At, we could have gotten the toy for nearly as cheap as we could on Amazon! The price difference was nearly $20!

It goes without being said that Toys R Us is losing the battle. Heck, they filed for bankruptcy this year, but after moving some money and closing their worst stores, I’m sure they aren’t going anywhere just yet. But give competitors another few years and Toys R Us will be no different than Blockbuster to Netflix. With service and tactics like they pushed this Black Friday, they don’t stand a chance and frankly don’t deserve business.

Far From a Best Buy

Bad puns aside, Best Buy also dropped the ball this holiday shopping season. My wife and I went out again, but this time on Saturday, and stopped at Best Buy to try and figure out what to buy with our $20 gift card we’ve had for nearly a year. My wife hates Best Buy with a passion, due to multiple instances of poor customer service and bad return policies time and time again, but reluctantly joined me. This time around, we finally found something to purchase – a new tripod for our DSLR. We picked out a shiny Manfrotto tripod, did a quick search online for a better price, and once again headed to the checkout counter.

Once again, Amazon had a better deal. They were selling the tripod for about $7 less. Not a deal breaker, but we figured we’d might as well price match at save $7. However, once we asked the question, the clerk looked to his colleague in the checkout lane next to him, and asked if they were price matching or not. As it turns out, Best Buy wasn’t price matching the entire weekend – presumably from the start of their Black Friday sales through Cyber Monday. Again, Best Buy missed a simple opportunity. They lost business over a $7 price difference. Strangely though, Best Buy isn’t suffering the same fate as Toys R Us – they’re actually posting solid earnings and their stock price is currently at an all-time high.

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