The day after Thanksgiving, U.S. shoppers shake off their turkey stupor, cinch up belts that had to be let out a notch or two the day before and set out en masse to make shopping history. It’s Black Friday – the biggest shopping day of the year.
Last year, according to ShopperTrak, a retail data analysis firm, U.S. shoppers hit a new high mark for the day, dropping almost $10.7 billion on goods often offered at highly discounted prices. This year, ShopperTrak expects Black Friday, Nov. 25, to hold the top spot in terms of sales and shopper traffic for the year.
Costa Rica isn’t immune to Black Friday fever. A number of local businesses aim to cash in on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which begins the week following Black Friday and is a high point in the year for online retailers.
Kristian Herrero, who runs the website Black Friday CR, which offers information on Black Friday deals and discounts in Costa Rica, said he has seen traffic to his site climb steadily since the beginning of October.
“It seemed important to me to give Ticos or people who are in Costa Rica a guide to the best offers for Black Friday,” Herrero said. “Ticos go crazy for Black Friday.”
Herrero said most of the people who visit his site are looking for discounts at locations in Costa Rica, but some are interested in the possibilities of snagging great deals from U.S. online retailers. That is made easy in Costa Rica, Herrero said, by mailbox companies that set up shoppers with post office boxes in Miami, Florida, and facilitate having goods delivered to Costa Rica.
Herrero said he has been told by two mailbox companies, Aerocasillas and JetBox, that they are anticipating a rush on the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend by hiring temporary workers to handle to a swell of packages and orders.
Getting set up with a Miami P.O. box is simple; Aerocasillas, JetBox and Mail Boxes Etc. are three choices you can go with. Each store offers online registration for your Miami P.O. box, though you’ll also have to go to a branch location and present identification before you can start receiving goodies. All companies have multiple locations in the Central Valley and beyond.
Mail Boxes Etc. offers membership plans starting at $25 for delivery of up to 2 kilograms per month, with a charge of $9.50 per kg for anything over that amount. Plans of up to $70 per month for delivery of up to 8 kg are also available. On Black Friday, all deliveries to Mail Boxes Etc. locations in Costa Rica will get a special rate of $8 per kg. For more information or to find a store, visit www.mailboxesetc.co.cr.
Aerocasillas also offers a tiered membership scheme, starting at $20 per year for basic membership and rates starting at $6 for packages up to 0.5 kg and increasing to $59.50 for a 10-kg package. Other Aerocasillas memberships waive the annual fee but have monthly minimum-use requirements. Shipping rates for these memberships, which can require up to $75 a month in account activity to get the lower rates, range from $5 for a 0.5-kg package to $44 for a 10-kg package. Last year, Aerocasillas locations in Escázu, Curridabat, San José, Desamparados, Guadalupe and Heredia offered extended hours over the Black Friday weekend, in addition to special delivery rates for orders paid in cash and with Aerocasillas membership cards. Aerocasillas will offer Black Friday promotions this year as well. For more information, go to www.aeropost.com or call 2208-4848.
JetBox offers memberships for $1, but you will have to leave your credit card number for automatic payments on shipments. Next-day and economy shipping are available at different rates, though they both start at $9 per kg and top out at $84 for next-day service of a 15-kg package or $29.33 for economy delivery of the same package, which generally takes eight to 16 days. JetBox will offer Black Friday discounts of up to 70 percent on shipping charges for multiple packages this year. For more information and to find a location, visit www.jetbox.com or call 800-2353-8269.
Some shoppers prefer to throw themselves into the moil, going head-to-head with other bargain chasers charging down the aisles of shopping’s ground zero. If this is the kind of thing that gets your blood pumping, then you’re in luck. Terra Nova travel agency is getting in on a slice of the Black Friday action with special Miami-based hotel packages for the weekend.
The three-night packages start at $340 for one person and go as low as $117 per person if four attend, and include accommodations at one of three hotels, breakfast and transportation to and from the airport. Also included is transportation to Sawgrass Mall for deal hunting on Black Friday, as well as to stores like Walmart and Kmart and other malls on other days of the weekend.
Prices do not include airfare, and a $75 nonrefundable deposit is required per person to reserve space. For more information, contact Terra Nova at 2288-2520 or 2234-2225, or visit www.terranova.co.cr.