"My first day working in retail was Black Friday...
My store was running a promotion where you buy one novelty t-shirt and get another half off. Novelty meaning characters, phrases, things of that sort, t-shirts with band names.
A woman comes up to me, asking me to help her pick an even number of band tees for the sale. I kindly told her it was novelty tees only and explained what that meant. She insisted I was wrong and I told her she could check at the register if she didn't believe me.
Instead, the woman gathers a bunch of band tees and tells my manager at the register I told her the promotion was rock tees, not novelty, despite the signs all over the store saying novelty. She wanted the sale honored because the 'idiot new employee screwed up'.
My manager knew I didn't say that and refused. The woman threw all of her stuff around, screamed and stormed out. Whatever. Screw her, right?
When I took my lunch break she hunted me down in the food court and she started threatening to punch me in the face for telling my manager I wasn't responsible for the mixup, 'ruining her sale' aka foiling her plan to screw over my store. She chased me all the way back to my store screaming with her fists up. I hid in the back for the rest of my shift. I never even got to eat lunch."
"Back in 2001, I worked at Best Buy. To this day, Best Buy was one of the worst jobs I've ever had.
At 6 a.m., people were climbing the gates, literally. They opened the gates and this massive flood of people ran from front to back, some ran past me, spun around and screamed a question at me then darted off again.
Management told us that morning that it was a day we'd make close to a $1 million in business in one day. Therefore, it really didn't matter how we treated people. Sell service plans. Sell accessories. The cash-flow and revenues will be there - make our numbers look good (paraphrasing).
One woman punched another and took the last of some digital camera to the front of the store.
My tall, lanky friend reached between two people, arguing over the last hard drive, took it from them, and handed it to some other guy and told them: 'If you're going to act like children, I'll treat you as such.'
I got moved up front to work 'crowd control'.
They had lined up a bunch of big screen TVs to channel people down the media isles (CDs, DVDs), which those lines went all the way down those aisles, and then all the way back around the outside. I had customers tell me they were glad I was there because they were going to knock out the guy that was there before me. I'm pretty sure one or two of those TVs were tipped over as well.
In total - an absolute catastrophic event that I do not wish upon anybody. I refuse to go shopping on Black Friday now."
"My first job was working at a Kmart when I was 16 years old.
While working on Black Friday and being one of the newer employees, I was assigned to work the children's/baby department, which was conveniently located next to layaway. The whole day was a freakin' mess.
Here is what I remember most:
The lady with five kids, all under the age of nine, waiting in line for layaway with two baskets full of items. While she waited in line and talked on the phone, her children were running around in my department pulling clothes off the racks, opening boxes of toys, screaming bloody murder while chasing each other around. I have never wanted to kick a toddler more.
The never-ending loop of Christmas music, featuring such songs as 'Eight days of Christmas' by Destiny's child, 'All I want for Christmas' by Mariah Carey, and some damn version of 'Jingle Bells' sung by a man that was trying to get it all out in one breath since the song was so fast.
The mystery pooper who pooped in the lady's dressing room and proceeded to cover it with a pile of clothing and smear it on the floor.
And finally, the lady who berated me for 10 minutes, all because the strollers were sold out in the color she wanted.
I had some mad respect for people who work retail and manage not to kill anyone."
"I worked as a cashier at Target two years ago, on Black Friday. My particular store opened at 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving night and I had to be there from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
I don't know how many other stores do it, but for mine, we had vouchers for the big-ticket items, like the new iPads and huge HD TVs, etc. So there usually wasn't a stampede of people and the lines to the registers were set up very efficiently. Seeing all the preparation to avoid making it a disaster, I began to feel hopeful that it would be an okay night, well worth the holiday pay, as the doors were unlocked. I could not have been more wrong.
About midnight, two large women come to my register with four carts piled with random crap that they 'had coupons for.' Just imagine 40 bottles of shampoo, 50 sticks of deodorant, 25 two liters of soda, all just piled in there.
I take a deep breath and began scanning items and as I tell them the total (somewhere around $800) one of them pulls out a wad of slightly damp coupons from her bra. Stifling the urge to vomit, I accept them and proceed to scan/attempt to scan roughly 200 coupons. After doing about 20 of them, with only a few working, I decided to look at the coupons and sort them into expired and non-expired as well as coupons from other stores that we didn't take (we would take manufacturers coupons and target coupons, but we wouldn't take a bed bath and beyond coupon).
About 20 minutes later and the ladies are insisting I sort through them all. I finalized the tally and proceeded to scan the maybe 30 coupons that were valid/acceptable.
The ladies realize that the pile is significantly shorter than it should have been and start screaming at me about the lack of coupons. I explain the situation and continue scanning and then putting them away in the register. The lovely part came when the ladies realized their total was only reduced to around $700.
Screaming that I was trying to scam them, the lady demanded I scan all the coupons. I politely explained that I could not scan the majority due to them being expired or unusable at our store. She then asked what discounts I could give her and when I said that I couldn't give her any besides the normal five percent if she paid with a RedCard. Then she began pulling at the neckline of her shirt, asking if there was anything she could do to get a discount. So I again politely refused and said if they had any more valid coupons I would be happy to scan them, otherwise their total was $X.XX.
The two women decide their rights have been infringed upon and begin screaming profanities, prompting the GSTL (General Sales Team Lead) and the two AP officers to come to my register rather quickly. Upon seeing people who looked in charge, the ladies began telling them how I failed to do my job.
After telling my boss what I did, she agreed with me and said that I was following the store's policy. The ladies then tipped over all four carts full of their stuff, spilling it all over the aisle, threw change at me and my GSTL and proceeded to waddle out of the store.
I quit right then and there, and am now loving my job at a bakery."
"When I was in school, I worked at Wal-Mart for the holidays.
They had a 'fun agreement' where if you worked from 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving until 6 a.m. on Black Friday, you didn't have to come in on Black Friday.
So after Thanksgiving lunch with my boyfriend's family at 4 p.m., I headed to work where I put on an oversized yellow smock with a blue sun on it. I was put in charge of 70-inch plasma screen television vouchers. I was given seven vouchers to distribute at 8 p.m. so customers could go to the register, pay for the television, and have it loaded into their car around back.
So problems arose very quickly.
A line for the 70-inch television began as I started my shift at 6 p.m. As soon as seven people formed a line, I had to turn people away. At 8 p.m., the vouchers were distributed. The first two customers were husband and wife. They were an older couple who brought camping chairs to wait for their two vouchers.
Here's where the mess started.
Customer 8 approaches me for a voucher. I tell him that they have all been distributed and he was free to come back within the hour to see if anyone surrendered their voucher. He then becomes visually distressed and angry, to which there was nothing I could do.
In comes customer 1 from before, the older man from the couple. He offers to sell his VOUCHER to customer 8 for what was close to the price of the on-sale television that had not yet been purchased. Customer 8 agrees reluctantly, pulls out the money in exchange for the television voucher. The older couple then walks off with not only Mrs. Customer 2's television voucher but also THE NEWLY ACQUIRED CASH TO BUY SAID TELEVISION AT THE REGISTER.
In comes customer 9 who addresses me VERY ANGRILY with 'HEY YOU! Aren't you going to do something about that!?' while gesturing wildly at the older couple who totally scored and the poor guy who essentially paid double for a Black Friday television. I had to let that customer know that what others did with the vouchers was their business.
This guy got way too close to me and one of my coworkers noticed and came to help. The guy then took off, angrily, and claimed that Wal-Mart 'cheated him.'
Two months later, I quit to work in my licensed field and never looked back. Years later, still no regrets. I don't even like going into the store I worked at."
David Stuart Productions/Shutterstock
"I work at the largest lingerie retailer in the country.
We had a security guard, Thanksgiving night, as an early-bird special of Black Friday.
A southern belle mother decided she didn't want to wait in a 50 person deep line and she would cut. Our security guard asked her multiple times to step to the back of the line or leave. She proceeded to ream him with every curse word in the book, and ended by threatening him with a gun she had in her bag.
This will be my last holiday in retail."
"I only ever worked a Black Friday shift once in my life. It was during my time at a craft store.
There are two things that were constant during my year working there: The fact that every day was extremely slow because we were never too busy and the fact that for some reason, 90 percent of the customers that came in were worse than anywhere else I've ever worked. So I'm thinking I'll have the typical rudeness, but it won't be too bad because we're always so slow. I couldn't be more wrong.
For the first time ever, I couldn't spend Thanksgiving with my family, because I had to work at 8 pm, so I was already in a bad mood.
That night, I had things thrown at me multiple times, was screamed at much more than usual, and was trampled by a gang of old ladies as I was attempting to head back to the break room.
But the worst moment came when a customer tried to buy a pack of scrapbook page protectors. The customer was attempting to buy a pack of 25 but was convinced the price was wrong because she was looking at the sticker for the pack of 10. She screamed at me for a good 5 minutes while I calmly tried to explain the price.
Finally, it ended with the quote, 'You're ruining my Thanksgiving, you stupid human.' Trying not to scream back after that comment, I replied with, 'I'm sorry to hear that, but unfortunately, I cannot give you the lower price as it was not mislabeled.' She responded to that by throwing a punch, which I ducked. My manager saw the whole thing and the customer was escorted out and banned from our store."
"I was working in a high-end clothing store that rarely puts items on sale. It was a small storefront, so any more than 20 people inside and it's pretty packed.
It was freakin' 9:30 a.m. and this family came in with two kids who were definitely wired on sugar. The kids were running around, acting like idiots and the parents weren't reprimanding them because their favorite style of jeans was 40 percent off.
The store had a bunch of metal pots and baskets used for display (which we couldn't put in the back because corporate would throw a giant fit).
Freakin' little Timmy almost died by nearly falling on a large metal basket with sharp pokey things on it. My manager (in a calm but obviously annoyed tone) said, 'Kids, it's not a playground.' This lead Sally soccer mom to lose it. 'How dare you talk to my kids like that, who the heck do you think you are.'
This naturally cues her husband to try to fight my manager (who is all of 5 foot 6 inches and maybe 130 lbs, soaking wet). I walk over (being 6 foot and 190 lbs and slightly more able to defend myself from the dad) and ask them to leave the store or I'll call security. I was then told to 'screw myself' because they weren't going to be leaving, so 'I better call the mall security.'
Well, the mall security showed up, and by the grace of the Black Friday retail gods, the one security officer who was actually intimidating, responded (former university football player, like 6 foot 6 inches and built like a brick house). The dad suddenly no longer wishes to engage in arguing with the mall security and quickly leaves with his family with security in tow."
"The store I worked at, was absolutely packed on Black Friday.
A larger, trailer-trash looking woman got up to the register with four coffee machines, about 30 different pieces of clothing (clearly none of which would fit her), a set of pots and pans, and a blender.
I was at the register serving a line of, at that point, probably 20 people. She got to my register, and I rang everything up. The total came out to about $200 because most of the crap she was getting was cheap stuff that we sold even cheaper on Black Friday.
Of course, as soon as I told her the total, I was wrong. So was the register, apparently.
She said to me: 'You double scanned most of it! It should be half that price!'
Uh...no I didn't, lady. Learn to count. Ugh, I wish I could've said that to her, but my manager was literally right behind me on the other register and would've chewed me out like no tomorrow.
So, in my nicest (most sarcastic) tone of voice, I replied: 'I don't believe I did, you can even see it right here on the register. If you really want me to, I can start over to make sure nothing scanned more than once, though.'
Of course, she ignored the whole thing and just tried to pay. She, clearly, had not been to the store before, because our old-as-heck register system requires us to take your card and swipe it ourselves.
She spent a few seconds looking around for where she can scan her card, and I chimed in: 'We have to scan it up here, ma'am. The system is too old for us to have something where you scan the card. I'm so sorry about that!'
She was already angry enough and tried to fight with me about her scanning it herself.
Finally, after spitting in my face for a few seconds, while I'm forced to smile like the brain-dead monkey corporate thinks I am, she handed me the card. I checked the name, because legally we have to, and we have to see ID as well. Well, I saw the card and immediately expected a catastrophe, because of the first name on it, was 'David'. She handed me her ID, and lo-and-behold, her name was not David.
'I'm sorry ma'am, I can't legally charge this card. Unless David is with you, in which case I'd need to see his ID.'
'Are you freakin' kidding me?! This is my son's card. He's letting me use it. He's at home with my husband.'
Screw me, as if this stuff wasn't bad enough already.
'I'm sorry, I can't swipe this card unless it's yours. Do you have a different card on you, with your name on it?'
After grumbling for a bit, the horrid woman handed over a different card. I went through with the normal motions, card freaking declined. What? How can this get any worse?
I had to tell her: 'Your card was declined, ma'am.'
(Cue me getting screamed at in front of an ever-growing, impatient live audience).
'Let me talk to your freaking manager.'
At that point, I could only pray that this nightmare would just come to an end... My manager turned around from her register and said: 'Just a moment, ma'am, I'm finishing up this transaction, then I'll be right with you!' Of course, this little old lady ain't got the time for that. I'm pretty sure my line at the register should be paying me for the entertainment they get out of this lady unloading all of her stuff on me.
My manager finally turned around and had me switch to her register for the time being, while she handled the crazy. I managed to get a few people through the register while I heard screaming coming from both sides, as my manager wasn't great with being yelled at (how the heck did anyone think that was a good idea?). I got a few comments and looks from customers basically saying, 'I'm so, so sorry. We're not ALL terrible.'
Finally, I heard the horrid woman over there yell that she was going to put all her stuff back and go shop somewhere else - Thank goodness.
It turned out that's not what she did. Instead, she ended up going to the exit on the other side of our department and tried to walk out with everything in the cart. My manager saw this and called Loss Prevention, and so did the cashier on the register down there. Loss Prevention sent some of their guys over to her, and they tried and stop her, after calling the police.
Now, I didn't get to leave the register because we were freakin' packed, but I was told she tried to fight a few of the people from Loss Prevention before the cops got there. It ended up with her getting arrested.
The rest of my day sucked anyway, but that made it a bit better."
"Back when I worked at CompUSA, a year before they went bankrupt in 2007, I had to work Black Friday.
Though we only had to show up shortly before the midnight opening, the managers gave us the option of showing up at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving so we could get together, relax a bit, and take advantage of everything an empty store could offer. Some went into the training lab and watched movies on the projectors, others of us went onto the sales floor and hooked up and Xbox for some Halo 2 action. On top of this, our managers provided to us plenty of caffeinated products, like Red Bull and Starbucks Frappucinos, for those that wanted to stay awake for the whole pre-open time.
Shortly before midnight, one of our managers flags us down and tells us to come up to the roof and check out the crowd. At our best guess, the line of people had to extend anywhere from 600 to 1,000 feet, blocking the entrances to all nearby businesses. This was about 10 minutes before we opened, and the line only got larger. Once we got all of our stuff packed up and stored in the break room, we all took our positions.
The doors opened, and it was like watching sludge pour into a sewer. People were shoving and pushing themselves through the door, shoulder to shoulder, and close to breaking the glass of the entryway. Within about 10 minutes, there was literally no walking space in the store, which made it a bit of a problem for those of us who worked the Camera and MP3 player counters (normally, we'd have to walk the product up to checkout)
As people filed in, we simply stuck post-it notes to the items with the names of the customer attached and lobbed them over to the member service area and various checkout lanes. That's right...we actually had to throw the product just to get it to check out.
After a few hours, my coworker at the camera station noticed another coworker seemed to be missing, so I ventured out and tried to find him as best I could. Fifteen minutes later, I get to the break room/storage room, only to find him on the floor, sitting cross-legged, fists in his eyes, rocking back and forth while having a full-on meltdown. Apparently, he had consumed eight of the Frappucinos and suffered a panic attack induced by caffeine. Once I worked my way back to the front of the store, we continued on.
At some point, I think around 5 or 6 a.m., I heard some shouting at one of the checkout lanes and saw two of my managers book it out of the office and over to one of the registers; as I was told later, one of the checkout clerks 'locked up' mid-transaction, and fell backwards as if he was frozen solid. The two managers extracted him from the counter and took him back to the break room, where they later found out that he had consumed five cans of Red Bull within a span of three hours prior to opening.
By 7 a.m., our relief shift showed up, and everyone working the night got to leave. Both of the employees who had collapsed were fine, having been taken away from the crazy stuff going on at the front.
Since then, I have never worked anything so chaotic in my entire life."
"I worked at a big box store last year. I was in charge of answering the phone. Only, our cordless handsets were broken so I literally could not leave the fitting room counter because that's where the landline was plugged in.
So, of course, it was super busy, and I find out right away that if I parked a call and reached the proper department to take the call, that call would not be taken because all the other employees were too busy assisting customers who were in the store. Even if I asked a question about item availability over the walkie, nobody answered because they were too busy.
Yes, our store had little scanner devices that we could use to check on item availability. But not a single member of management in that store thought to reserve one for the telephone operator. After asking for one over the walkie three times and receiving no response, I gave up.
The end result of this was that customers would call to see if we had an item in stock, and I would have to tell them that, to be honest, I had no idea. As you can imagine, the customers did not like this at all. One of the managers installed new cordless handsets about an hour before my shift ended, but the eight hours prior had been an absolute nightmare.
Oh, and a few days later, I got pulled aside by a supervisor, who wasn't even in the store during my shift that day. She said that apparently, I wasn't my usual cheery self on Black Friday and that I had told a customer over the phone that I didn't know if we had an item in stock. The customer had actually called back and complained.
It took everything I had not to go off on her, and the only reason I didn't was that she wasn't there during my shift and none of it was her fault. But to the other members of management: Of course, I told that person I didn't know if the item was in stock. I literally had no way of knowing. You did not give me any of the tools I needed to do my job, and you ignored me when I asked for them. And then you wanna coach me on my customer service? OH HECK NO. That's on you, losers.
I am so glad I no longer work there."
"I worked at Wal-Mart during Black Friday about 12 or 13 years ago. The hot items that year were $10 DVD players and trampolines. The DVD players were stacked on two tables near the registers and the trampolines were in sporting goods.
I'm walking to the receiving area in the back and someone from sporting goods asks if I can grab a U-boat (or L-cart) to load up the last trampoline.
I had to go all the way to the grocery section to get one and as I'm coming back, someone asks about an item. So I walk two feet away from my cart and some woman grabs it and runs towards sporting goods. I get there and the woman and husband are loading up the trampoline and it wasn't even for them. The other lady that had it and purchased it (had a receipt and all, just needed a carry-out) said, 'Hey, that's mine' and the husband got in her face and said 'What are you gonna do about it, woman?' They started to walk off and I was shocked at that point and the husband looked at me and said, 'What the heck is your problem?' I just smiled and told the sporting good guy to call management. The husband then said, 'Run, honey!' And they booked it to the front. They made it out of the store with the trampoline too.
Then I get to the front near the $10 DVD players. One older woman grabs the last one left on one of the two tables. Another lady grabs the same one. They scuffle. One lady decks the other one into the other table FULL of $10 DVD players and they all fall over and she runs.
Never freakin' again."
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