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Black Friday Retail Workers Reveal Their Worst Experiences

My first job was at Ross. I was in high school, I was young and naive - far too young and naive for the horrors that awaited me the first day I was asked to help clean out the fitting rooms. Our store didn't have restrooms open to the public, though we would let customers use them if they asked - particularly women with children. Unfortunately, several customers decided there was no point in asking, they would just help themselves to use the fitting rooms as bathrooms. Diapers, menstrual products, and urine puddles were pretty common. Nothing could prepare us for the "Black Friday Incident of 1998"


The store was jam packed - obviously. It was Black Friday and it was Ross. We were swamped, there were three fights and one woman went into labor. But that wasn't even the bad part. The bad part came when the lone attendant at the fitting rooms grabbed the phone, hit the loud speaker button and let out a wail for help... and a few expletives.

"Oh HELL F^CK NAW. IF Y'ALL DON'T GET ME A MANAGER AND SOME GLOVES RIGHT NOW I AM LEAVING!"

One of the three managers on duty ran to her aid expecting maybe an influx of people that was too much to handle ... but no. Someone had used the men's fitting room to release their Black Friday anguish through their bowels. It was on the mirrors, the carpet, the fitting room walls, splashed into the next fitting room stall ... and they had used a few onesies from the baby department to wipe. Then they'd just left, leaving the employees - mostly high school kids and older ladies - to clean it all up. It was atrocious. The fitting rooms had to be closed, which made customers irate.

One Reddit user asked:

Retail workers of Reddit, what's your Black Friday horror story?

And yeah... there's mine. Here are a few more for your "enjoyment" - some responses have been edited for clarity or content.

Manual Transactions

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I worked for a golf superstore as a cashier. Black Friday customers come rushing in and the line starts. I proceed to scan the first item and nothing... the registers are completely down and the lines are growing fast. The only thing we could do is take every transaction manually. Write down SKU's, calculate tax, and use the old credit card swipers for 3 hours. I never worked retail during Black Friday again.

- SteelerGrl2310

Follow The Leader

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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. 15 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 2nd 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. That same year we had several scuffles at points where the register line had forked into two lines. From then on we marked off a huge register path and had several employees just manage the line.

- IntentionalTexan

A Very Jazzy Jinglebells

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About 15 years ago, I was working at a book store in a mall. Somehow, around 5pm maybe, I found myself the only employee in the entire store--not a single coworker to be found, and we were slammed with customers. We usually had music playing in the store, controlled by an ordinary 5-CD stereo in the back office, and of course this is the day the inoffensive holiday music gets brought into circulation.

Around the time I found myself alone, I noticed the stereo had become stuck on repeat, just playing the same song over and over. It was at least an hour before I was able to get away from the counter, and so that was the day I was forced to listen to some kind of generic "A Very Jazzy Jinglebells" some 30 times back to back.

- HeyNomad

A Couch, A Prius, and Some Twine

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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.

- UberHypnoToad

Trampoline Theft

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I worked at Wal-mart during Black Friday about 12-13 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 grocery 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 receipt and all, just needed a carryout) said "Hey, that's mine" and the husband got in her face and said "What are you gonna do about it, b!tch?"

They started to walk off and I was shocked at that point and the husband looked at me and said "what's 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 again.

- DuckMunch

"So He Took Off His Pants And Started To Fight"

I worked at a restaurant that is right across the street from the mall (And open black friday) so naturally after people get great deals on whatever they come eat.

Anyway, I'm sitting in back of the house Black Friday morning, waiting for my inevitably long shift to start. It was incredibly busy as it was but I wasn't about to clock in early. I was BSing with one of the managers when I heard a hostess scream through the walkie "HELP HELP!"

So I immediately rush to the entrance to see two grown men on the ground fighting, one in nothing but his underwear, and my shift lead trying to pull them off each other while screaming "THIS IS A FAMILY RESTAURANT THERE ARE CHILDREN HERE!"

I jolted forward in an attempt to break up the fight. This is where it gets weird. Everyone is gathered around this small area watching or trying to help when someone grabbed a fire extinguisher and started spraying us with it. So we have a bunch of people trying to break up a fight between a man in his underwear and some other dude and someone spraying us with a fire extinguisher while we have Christmas carols playing in the background. Finally we get the fight broken up. Cops show up. The whole 9 yards.

Guy1 got the last TV/voucher from Best Buy and Guy2 was very angry about that. So he followed him over to the restaurant to try and buy the TV from him. Guy1 told Guy2 to f^ck off so Guy2 took off his pants and started to fight Guy1.

- Usernamesarestupid12

Child Abandonment

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I worked at a toy store in the mall. Really fancy mall, and we only sold one brand of toys. Anyways, we were all about interacting with the parents and especially making the kids feel special. It was probably the best place in retail to work, not gonna lie. If I could have had full time with benefits, I'd have stayed.

Anyhow, early December a woman comes into the store with her two children - probably aged 5 and 7, no older than that. I overhear her say "I'll be back, stay here." and she just leaves them. Not a word to us, she just vanishes. Within minutes it got busy -- as in, 50 customers plus kids. There are only 3 employees in the store: two on register, then there's me...the shift manager...supposed to be helping people shop.

There is no way I'm taking my eyes off of these kids, but there are too many people here. Five minutes go by. Then ten. Then fifteen. I'm checking in with these little dudes to see how they're holding up. They're just fine, but I'm the type who takes 100% responsibility for children in my store. I call mall security because I'm freaking out about the need to watch them. At this point, I have to make a return and do a bunch of customer-maintenance. No way to keep track of the kids.

Turns out mall security called the cops. The officers show up about 25 minutes after this lady left her kids - the lady officer gets down and makes small talk with the boys while the man waits outside. Things slow to a crawl in the store, so my fellow employees entertain the boys while I speak with the officers. Apparently their mother had gone to THE OTHER MALL ACROSS THE EFFING 4-LANE STREET. At 7:30pm. During crazy-busy shopping time.

She eventually did come back for them, but it had been close to an hour. And in Ohio, that is way past what counts as child abandonment. I dunno what happened to her/them, but all I remembered is the shock of "who the hell thinks that's a good idea" and "omg is she going to jail" while I watched the officers escort her and her children away.

-Starcraft_Tenor

Extreme Couponers

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I worked as a cashier at Target two years ago on Black Friday.

About midnight, two....large women....come to my register with four carts piled with things that they "had coupons for." Just imagine 40 bottles of shampoo, 50 sticks of deodorant, 25 two liters of soda, etc. all just piled in there.

I take a deep breath and began scanning items. and The total was somewhere around $800. One of them pulls out a wad of slightly damp coupons from her bra. Stifling the urge to vomit I accept the sweaty wad and proceed to scan/attempt to scan roughly 200 coupons. After doing about 20 of them with only 3 or 4 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, for example.

About 20 minutes later (some coupons were hard to make out because of the dampness) and the ladies 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 yelling 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, one 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. I said that I couldn't give her any besides the normal 5% if she payed with a RedCard; 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.

Now the fun part.

The two 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, etc. After telling my boss what I did, she agreed with me and said that I was following the stores policy. The ladies then tipped over all four carts full of their sh!t 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.

-GeldedGerbil

Lingerie And A Gun

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I work at the largest lingerie retailer in the country. We had a security guard last night for the beginning 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.

-KittyKatie0629

Uncle Ned's Biological Waste

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Worked at a car wash in college. You'd think a car wash would be empty on Black Friday. Nope. We're busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest, but we're keeping up. Then comes the minivan with puke all. over. his. dashboard.

By which I mean puke of mythological Biblical Proportion.

Apparently, the guy out selling the car washes was too busy to notice said puke, and put him in line. So, the guy makes it to us at the vacs. I see the puke on the dashboard as I start to slide open the rear door.

...and that's when I see: it.

We're talking an honest-to-god pond of puke in the back. Turkey. Stuffing. Pumpkin pie. Grandma's own whipped potatoes and gravy. The driver says,
"Uncle Ned had too much to drink yesterday, so my brother offered to drive him home. Uncle Ned upchucked first. That's when my niece lost it in the back seat, too. Do you think you're going to be able to get it up?"

Now, mind you, even if we were slow we wouldn't do it, but to pull shenanigans of this caliber when we're this busy? I'm about to go full ape sh!t and start clubbing him with my vac nozzle when my quick-thinking partner on vacs steps in and says, "Sorry, sir, our union contract prohibits us from removing biological waste."

Slams the door shut and sends the car down the conveyor. The guy stands there slack-jawed and stammers out, "I.... but I... I didn't even know car washes had unions."

"We do today." he grins and walks away.

-Well_Shoothed


H/T: Reddit

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