As you wait in line for the year’s hottest toys and gadgets, spare a thought for the retail workers who make Black Friday possible. Each year, up to 100 million people line up to fight with each other over the season’s hottest toys and electronics. The folks who work in retail are the ones who have to wrangle the lines and de-escalate the fights — not to mention clean up the wreckage afterward.
As one anonymous Redditor put it: “Retail is where you go when you have too much faith in humanity and you want to do something about it.”
Unsurprisingly, most retail workers have a Black Friday horror story or two. We combed Reddit for a few of the best/worst:
1. Toys Are Serious Business
I got punched in the face because I didn’t know what a Zhu Zhu Pet was.
2. Can You at Least Take Some Customer Service Calls From Your Hospital Bed?
I was scheduled to work 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. My lunch was scheduled at 8 a.m. Not much of a breakfast person, I chose to only consume a granola bar before getting back to work. As the hours went by, I found that the demanding circumstances (I was behind the register) coupled with hunger were making me feel a tad lightheaded.
At 2 p.m., I was denied a 15-minute break to eat something a tad more substantial. At 3 p.m. an ambulance arrived due to the fact that a young, female sales associate had hit the tile, and was probably suffering from a concussion, going by her delirious ramblings about wearing mismatched socks.
That sales associate was me. I recovered just fine, but at 4 p.m. my boss called me at my hospital bed and inquired, “Are you coming back to work?”
And that’s why I am now a bartender.
3. Actually, Bears Probably Have Better Manners
Worked at Walmart during college a few years back. Because Walmart keeps the store open, unlike say, Target or other stores, we are setting up the merchandise right in front of the customers. It’s literally like setting up a buffet in front of hungry bears or something.
When it came time to release the video games, a guy literally jumped over the crowd of people and into the game display, knocking it over. Games went everywhere, and the crowd turned into a mob trying to get the games. No one was hurt except for the guy and a couple of COD games.
4. When Working on Black Friday Is the *Best* Part of Your Day….
Since I had previous experience at Sears, they decided it would be appropriate to rehire me with my first day being Black Friday (in a completely different department). Not only did I have no idea what was going on, I didn’t know any of my coworkers and they didn’t know I was starting that day.
That was the easy part. When I got a lunch break, I went to the parking lot and my car was stolen. What a day.
'Retail is where you go when you have too much faith in humanity & you want to do something about it.'
5. They Were Sick, All Right. Sick of Working on Black Friday.
It was technically the day AFTER Black Friday, but it was still busy as all hell.
I worked as a customer service supervisor at a CompUSA before they closed down (think Best Buy), and ALL of my checkers called in sick that morning. ALL OF THEM. So, I was the only #$%#@ one ringing people up, for the first like six hours of the day.
When I finally got a 15-minute break, I went into the back area and blew up at the first manager I could find, because I was so pissed and stressed. He just sat there and let me vent to him. After a little while I went back to him and apologized to him, and he was cool with it all.
That day sucked.
6. Mom’s Got Priorities
I was a manager at GameStop. A kid pooped on our floor because his mom didn’t want to leave and have to stand in line again.
7. This Could Also Be a Terrifying Ghost Story
A customer at the jewelry counter shoved one of the huge spinning cases that sit on top of the counter right into a salesclerk’s back. Cut her and bruised her bad.
Craziest part? The lady did it for NO reason. We reviewed tape to see WTF happened — no one saw — and we watched the lady walk up, loom around, and just rear back and shove it forward with all her might, then walk away out the door like she didn’t see a thing. Middle of the rush. She hadn’t even spoken to anyone or picked up merchandise, and no one knew her or has seen her since.
8. Good for the Environment, Not Necessarily For Moving Furniture
Just today I sold a couch to a guy who drove a Prius with no roof-rack.
We do not deliver, and he wouldn’t leave until WE found a way to get this thing secured to his car somehow. Not only had he clearly not planned ahead or thought it through, he was a total jerk about it and insisted on making it our problem.
We ended up using half a spool of twine to tie this thing down and he had to climb in through the window because the twine went through his doors. I REALLY wish I had taken a picture.
At one point he complained to our GM, who had no idea what we were supposed to have done to appease this moron. Finally, we insisted that he sign a waiver before leaving because we were not about to be held responsible for his own stupidity.
Of course, this was also during the busiest part of the day. I don’t mind helping load or tie down for customers, but this guy took the cake.
9. It’s a Retail Emergency!
My first day working for Best Buy was on black Friday eight years ago. I was controlling part of the line since I had zero training to do anything else.
I had a lady saying she was going to faint. She kept saying, “Please just let me pay so I can get to a doctor.”
I knew she was lying and called my manager over so he could talk to her. He said, “Ma’am, they told me you were in need of medical assistance, I’ve got an ambulance on the way.”
She freaked out, yelling at my manager about the line being too long and how it was his fault she was feeling sick. She looked at me and said, “This is all your fault you little b****, if you would have just let me cut the line we’d be out of this mess.”
I couldn’t help but smile. My manager told her to leave and or he would call the cops. She tried to stay until a random cop came in to check out the crowd. She left so quick. That was my first of five black Fridays with Best Buy.
10. The Accidental Psych Experiment
I worked at a store that had a service department. They couldn’t ring up anything at the service counter, but they had a computer which made it look like a register.
Guy is standing there patiently waiting to be rung up. Finally, somebody notices him and asks what he needs.
“I’d like to pay,” he says.
“I’m sorry, this isn’t a register,” replies the service tech.
The guy then proceeds to try and convince the service tech to let him pay because the line for the main registers is three hours long.
Of course, the service tech couldn’t because he didn’t have a register. He just had a computer for making appointments and such. So, after 15 minutes of argument the guy moves off to find the line.
Here’s the fun part. While he was arguing, somebody else saw him standing by something that looked like a register and so got in line behind him. Then people saw the shorter line and got in behind them.
With nobody to control it, the line to nowhere grew quickly. Fifteen minutes was all it took for the not-line to snake all the way around the department.
So, when the doofus who started this whole fiasco went to find the right line, he found the end of the line he had started. Then the guy behind him heard that there wasn’t a register, so he followed the first guy. Then the next customer followed the second and so on.
They walked around in a circle for an hour before somebody noticed them. We almost had a riot when a manager had to tell 100 people that they weren’t in line and had just waited an hour for nothing.
Stories have been lightly edited for clarity and style.
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