Susan Schrivjer has launched an online petition to get Toys R Us to remove Breaking Bad action figures from its shelves.
In less than a week, Susan Schrivjer’s petition had garnered over a thousand signatures.
Breaking Bad is about a chemistry teacher who starts cooking crystal meth, the toy line features likenesses of characters Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. The Walter White figurine is holding a tray of crystal meth.
Susan Schrivjer has launched an online petition to get Toys R Us to remove Breaking Bad action figures from its shelves
The Florida mom, who admitted to being a fan of the show, told Today that she was “appalled” that the items are being sold in a toy store, adding that Toys R Us’ “visions and values” need to be reevaluated.
“Anything to do with drugs is not doing the right thing,” Susan Schrivjer said.
A Toys R Us representative said in a statement that the toys are labeled as suitable for children ages 15 and over, with the toys located in the section for adult action figures.
A recent survey shows in-store retail sales on Black Friday, the “busiest shopping day”, dropped from last year.
Holiday shoppers spent $11.2 billion at stores across the US this Black Friday, down 1.8% from last year, according to a Saturday report from the Chicago-based retail technology company ShopperTrak.
Those lower in-store sales figures were apparently impacted by hundreds of thousands of shoppers hitting stores on Thursday (Gray Thursday) evening after filling up on turkey and stuffing.
“Black Friday shopping continues to expand into Thanksgiving Day and will impact the way we look at all of the <<Black>> weekend results, since more shopping hours allows for more shopping visits and a smoothing of sales across all of the days,” said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin.
Big chain outlets including Sears, Target, Toys R Us and Walmart opened their doors as early as 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
A sharp rise in online shopping likely added to the drop in spending at brick-and-mortar stores this year.
E-commerce sales rose 17.4% on Thanksgiving and 20.7% on Black Friday, compared with last year, according to a recent IBM survey.
A recent survey shows in-store retail sales on 2012 Black Friday dropped from last year
Still, ShopperTrak said Black Friday foot traffic increased 3.5% this year to more than 307.67 million store visits – a sign that more people were browsing store shelves, if not making actual purchases.
“Black Friday continues to be an important day in retail,” Bill Martin said.
“This year, though, more retailers than last year began their doorbuster deals on Thursday, Thanksgiving itself. So while foot traffic did increase on Friday, those Thursday deals attracted some of the spending that’s usually meant for Friday.”
ShopperTrak estimated that foot traffic increased the most in the Midwest, up 12.9% compared with last year.
Foot traffic in the Northeast increased the least compared with last year, up 7.6% in regions that include those hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy.
ShopperTrak, which counts sales numbers from 25,000 retail outlets across the US, had forecast that Black Friday sales would grow 3.8% this year.
A separate survey from the National Retail Federation says holiday spending on both days combined will likely rise 4% this year.
Some positive signs of spending growth have been in the news in the past few months. U.S. consumer confidence rose to 72.2 in October, its highest level since February 2008 and up from 40.9 a year ago.
Yet many consumers are still worried about the slow economic recovery, high unemployment rates and a looming fiscal cliff.
The biggest shopping day of the year has begun, as stores began to open their doors as early as 8 p.m. on the evening of Thanksgiving in an effort give customers as much time as possible to get their hands on Black Friday deals.
And shoppers wasted no time tearing themselves away from their families to take advantage of the sales, with stores such as Walmart, Target and Sears packed with desperate bargain-hunters.
While initial accounts indicated that the crowds were largely peaceful, avoiding the riots seen in previous years, many stores had an unusually heavy police presence, and there were some reports of scuffles between customers in packed-out shopping aisles.
And amid the shopping frenzy, two customers – a husband and a wife – were hit by a car in the parking lot of a Walmart on the edge of Seattle on Thursday evening, with the wife being airlifted to hospital after the accident which saw her pinned under the vehicle.
Stores from Target to Toys R Us opened their doors on Thanksgiving evening, hoping Americans will be willing to shop soon after they finish their pumpkin pie.
Target opened its doors at 9 p.m. on the holiday, three hours earlier than last year. Sears, which didn’t open on Thanksgiving last year, opened at 8 p.m. on Thursday through 10 p.m. on Black Friday.
Toys R Us opened at 8 p.m., an hour earlier than last year. And others such as Macy’s are opening at midnight on Black Friday.
When Macy’s flagship Herald Square store in New York opened its doors at midnight, about 11,000 shoppers showed up.
Overall, about 17% of shoppers plan to take advantage of Thanksgiving hours, according to a International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs survey of 1,000 consumers.
Shoppers queued up at Toys R Us in New York’s Times Square on Thursday evening
Retailers are trying everything they can to lure consumers into stores by making shopping as easy as possible.
In addition to expanding their hours into Thanksgiving, many are offering free layaways and shipping, matching the cheaper prices of online rivals and updating their mobile shopping apps with more information.
“Every retailer wants to beat everyone else,” said C. Britt Beemer, chairman of America’s Research Group, a research firm based in Charleston, S.C. “Shoppers love it”.
Indeed, there were 11 shoppers in a four-tent encampment outside a Best Buy store near Ann Arbor, Michigan. The purpose of their wait? A $179 40-inch Toshiba LCD television is worth missing Thanksgiving dinner at home.
With 41million people expected to shop on what has been dubbed “Gray Thursday”, police have responded to fights and threats between bargain-hungry customers, some of whom have camped outside stores for days.
The spats add to the discontent surrounding the stores, with employees frustrated about working on Thanksgiving, and Walmart workers threatening to protest over their pay, schedules and benefits.
Outside a Kmart in Indianapolis, which opened at 6 a.m. on Thursday, officers responded to a brawl between shoppers as some attempted to sell vouchers the store had handed out for limited items.
“Everybody started going crazy about it, and then the cops got called in and it just became a madhouse,” one shopper told News 8.
And at a Kmart on Stockton Boulevard in South Sacremento, one shopper threatened to stab people while waiting in line for K-Mart’s doors to open and told people he “wasn’t joking”.
Police arrived at the scene shortly after the threat – made after shop staff came outside to hand out “doorbuster deal” vouchers to the first in the line – to help control the crowds.
In a bid to minimize trouble, the Los Angeles Police Department deployed helicopters over some malls, while a cavalry of police officers on bikes and horses monitored from streets below.
According to the L.A. Times, others scoured crowds from rooftops and signs warned shoppers against becoming victims of theft.
It comes after a series of previous Black Friday incidents; at a Wal-Mart in the city last year, scores of people were injured when a woman pepper sprayed her competition in a bid for discounted video games. Two years ago, gunfire broke out at a Toys R Us, killing two people.
“For some people, shopping is a competitive sport,” LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith told the paper.
“But it should not be a contact sport.”
Officers are also working with stores to keep violent outbursts under control, and Best Buy even participated in training drills to handle the large crowds.
The Walmart where the pepper spray incident occurred will hand out vouchers for some items to avoid a scramble. If customers do not get a voucher for the item, they should expect there will be none left, management told the Times.
Retailers this year will open for Black Friday sales early enough to make shoppers choose between hot deals and hot apple pie after Thanksgiving dinner.
From Toys R Us to Target to Walmart, retailers are opening as early as 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving night.
Toys R Us announced Monday that its Black Friday will begin on November 22nd, when doors open at 8:00 p.m. an hour earlier than last year.
To entice shoppers to line up even earlier, the toy retailer will give the first 200 customers at each location a free “Great Big Goody Bag” full of stocking-stuffers up to $30 in value.
“You can have your dinner, then come to our store. We all know that everybody gets burned out on turkey and football,” says Troy Rice, chief of store operations, who expects stores to have lines from 500 to more than 1,000 people by the time doors open.
Despite an increase in online shopping, Black Friday isn’t going anywhere. About 51% of consumers plan to go holiday shopping Thanksgiving weekend, according to a study out Monday from consulting firm Bain.
Opening earlier every year:
• Target. The discounter said Monday that doors will open earlier than ever at 9:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving, offering sales such as $199.99 Sony PS3 consoles and $49 Nook Simple Touch e-readers. From 4:00 a.m. to noon on the day after Thanksgiving, the retailer will give $10 gift cards to shoppers spending over $50 in some categories.
“Many prefer to shop following their family gatherings rather than in the very early hours of the morning,” says Target spokeswoman Jenna Reck.
• Walmart. Target’s announcement follows Walmart’s last week saying its Black Friday will start on Thursday at 8:00 p.m., two hours earlier than last year.
• Sears. Consumers can start shopping at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving and keep on going until 10 p.m. the next day, says Sears spokesperson Brian Hanover.
“They drop their drumsticks, and they pick up doorbusters,” he says. Members of Sears’ ShopYourWay program can access Black Friday deals online starting on Sunday.
• Kmart. The discounter will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving, with a break for dinner until 8:00 p.m. after which stores are open until 3:00 a.m. Stores re-open two hours later on Friday morning, and stay open until 11:00 p.m. Kmart has opened on Thanksgiving since 1991.
• Staples. The office supplier will give shoppers until 5:00 a.m. to digest their turkey dinners and start shopping its new inventory of big-screen TVs and video game consoles an hour earlier than last year. Those who arrive before noon on Friday can score savings over $200 on certain HP PCs with Windows 8. Additional deals will be offered all week starting on Sunday in store and online with free shipping to boot.
Retailers this year will open for Black Friday sales early enough to make shoppers choose between hot deals and hot apple pie after Thanksgiving dinner
• PetSmart. And pets won’t be left out of the holiday excitement, either. Feline and canine Santa Clauses will be able to shop for their furry friends at PetSmart starting at 7:00 a.m. on Friday, the retailer announced Tuesday.
Black Friday deals include $19.99 Sunbeam Gourmet Dog Treat Makers, and 50% off pet toys and doggy sweaters. Select online-only pet products will be 75% off starting on Monday. After all, 76% of pet owners give Fido or Fluffy presents for the holidays, according to PetSmart.
The Toys R Us chain is being sued over allegations it stole one of its former partners’ trade secrets to develop its own tablet computer.
Fuhu – the Los Angeles based creator of the Nabi tablet – claims the toy chain copied the design, user-experience and online services of its device.
Toys R Us used to have exclusive rights to sell Fuhu’s machine in the US, but this deal has since lapsed.
A spokeswoman for Toys R Us was unable to comment at this time.
Fuhu is part-owned by the Taiwanese computer-maker Acer, the gadget manufacturer Foxconn and the memory chip producer Kingston.
Fuhu, the creator of the Nabi tablet, claims Toys R Us copied the design for its new tablet Tabeo
It began life as an internet software provider before shifting into the tablet market in November 2011, when it announced it would be selling the Nabi through the Toys R Us and Babies R Us chains in the US.
The machine came pre-installed with popular games including Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja as well as an educational maths-learning program and a painting app.
At the time, a Toys R Us executive said he expected the device to “be a hit with our customers” in the run-up to Christmas.
It also received positive reviews from Time and Wired magazines, among others.
But Fuhu alleges the chain subsequently did “virtually no promotion” and only sold about 20,000 units over the period because it had not ordered more.
Child-targeted tablets proved to be one of the season’s hot categories with rival devices – including the LeapPad Explorer Tablet and the VTech Innotab – selling out in the run up to the holiday.
In January 2012 Fuhu and Toys R Us ended their exclusive agreement.
Eight months later the store announced it would sell its own Android-powered hand-held – the Tabeo – in the US from October.
The announcement followed in the footsteps of another retailer, Amazon, which had seen its own-branded device become a best-seller.
Fuhu claims the Tabeo copied the butterfly-shaped bumper used to protect the Nabi, the device’s software eco-system and the firm’s “business blueprint” in order to release a product ahead of Christmas this year.
“We created a highly innovative product,” said Robb Rujioka, Fuhu’s co-founder.
“Cheap knock-offs will devalue our brand and the children’s tablet category as a whole.”
Fuhu is now demanding all Tabeos be turned over to it as well as unspecified monetary damages.
It has also launched a successor to its original product with improved specifications, which is sold via other retailers.
A mystery woman has popped up to help families pay their bills brandishing an American Express card at a Californian Toys R Us.
The woman, believed to be a retired grandma, delighted shoppers at the store in Culver City when she offered to pay for gifts for around 50 people.
The mystery shopper was joined by a “sidekick” who helped her pass an Amex card between the lines, according to a report by the Daily News.
“She was very quiet and unassuming and nobody in line had a clue what was going on,” shopper Laura Yoo told the daily News.
“People were excited and crying.”
Laura Yoo said the mystery woman paid for shopping for at least 50 people, many of whom had carts heaped with toys.
The woman’s assistant offered to pay for Laura Yoo’s own $54 bill after she bought gifts for her children.
“My boss would like to pay for your purchases today,” Laura Yoo recounted the sidekick as saying.
“I said, <<Thank you very much>> and gave a hug and she said <<Merry Christmas>>,” Laura Yoo told the Daily News.
Witnesses described the woman as at least 50, wearing a skirt, leather boots and a beret.
The woman would not give her name and has not been identified.
There has been a plethora of “layaway angels” in stores this holiday season, paying bills and debts in Kmart, Wal-Mart and Toys R Us stores across the country.
“It’s the Santa effect, really,” author and psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo told msnbc.com.
“It’s exciting and motivating and when people hear about it, they want to be in on it, too.”
More than $400,000 in layaway bills has been paid off at Kmart stores alone, according msnbc.com.
In one of the most recent examples of generosity, David Wilson, a car dealer from Laguna Beach, contacted a K-Mart in Costa Mesa, California after seeing a television report about donors paying off strangers’ outstanding accounts.
He asked the manager to tally up the balances on all the accounts with balances of $100 or less, and then wrote a check for $15,919.61 to pay off the total.