'Old Ladies Fist Fighting.' Retail Workers Share Their Black Friday Disaster Stories.
If this doesn't make you want to hug a cashier, you should get a stocking full of coal.
This piece is based on an AskReddit thread. Link on the last page.
1/17. I have seen two grown men punching each other in the face. Over a toaster.
2/17. When I was 15 I got my first actual job. It was at a clothing store and my first day was Black Friday. I thought it wouldn't be a big deal because I was hired for men's formal wear. When I showed up at 4AM, the manager apologized and told me he actually needed me to work women's shoes today only.
The worst part is shoes salesmen normally get commission, but since I didn't have an employee number or any experience, I got only minimum wage. Losing out of hundreds of dollars extra pay while pretending to know something about women's shoes made for a pretty Black Friday.
3/17. I worked for a golf superstore as a cashier. Black Friday customers come rushing in and the line starts to form. 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 inventory, calculate tax, and use the old credit card swipers for 3 hours. I never worked retail during Black Friday again.
4/17. People running in pushed a shelf full of TVs on me. I broke my leg. But at least I got to go home.
5/17. One year, 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. A guy was 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. (continued...)
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While he was arguing somebody else saw him standing by something that looked like a register and so they 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 non-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 all 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.
6/17. There was one customer who took a crap in one f my fitting rooms and then wiped himself with a $125 Ralph Lauren Polo shirt. Nothing more needs to be said.
7/17. I was working at a Wal-Mart. I was assigned to be one of the employees that would cut open the plastic on the pallets which contained our merchandise.
As I readied box cutter, I got shoved by a customer and I fell right on it and sliced my hand open. After getting through that ands patching it up, I came out on the floor and promptly got punched in the face when I picked up a DVD on the ground. A customer apparently wanted it.
8/17. 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 the to get one and as I'm coming back, someone asks about an item.
So I walk two feet away from my cart to help the customer, when out of nowhere, a woman swoops in, grabs the trampoline, and begins bolting away with it. (continued...)
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I chased them to the front, where they were seriously trying to make away with this trampoline that was definitely not for them.
The other lady who had already purchased it (had receipt and all, just needed a carryout) said "hey, that's mine." The woman who was trying to steal her the trampoline got in her face and screamed "what are you gonna do about it?!"
They started to walk off and I was shocked at that point and the husband looked at me and said "what are YOU looking at?" I just smiled and told the cashier to call management. The husband then said "run, honey!" And they booked it for the door. 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 will I work Black Friday.
9/17. I saw someone get the crap beaten out of them for the toy of the year. The sad part is I dont even remember what it was. I assume it was worth it.
10/17. Store is absolutely packed, and an angry-looking woman walks up to the register with 4 coffee machines, about 30 different pieces of clothing, a set of pots and pans, and a blender.
I'm at the register serving a line of, at this point, probably 20 people. She gets to my register, and I ring everything up. Total comes out to about $200, because most of the crap she's getting is cheap garbage that we sell even cheaper on Black Friday.
As soon as I tell her the total, she lets loose: "You double scanned most of it! It should be half that price!"
Hell no I didn't lady. Learn to count. I wish I couldve said that to her, but my manager was literally right behind me on the other register, and would chew me out like no tomorrow.
So I had to deal with her in my polite sarcastic voice. (continued...)
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Finally, after spitting in my face for a few seconds while I'm forced to smile like the braindead monkey corporate thinks I am, she agree to pay and hands me her credit card. I check the name because legally we have to, and we have to see ID as well.
Well, I see the card and immediately expect more trouble because the first name on it is "David". She hands me her ID, and lo-and-behold, her name ain't 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 f*****g kidding me?! THIS IS MY SON'S CARD. HE'S LETTING ME USE IT. HE'S AT HOME WITH MY HUSBAND."
"I'm sorry," I said, 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, she hands over a different card. I swipe it, and as you might expect... "Your card was declined, ma'am."
Cue me getting screamed at in front of an ever-growing, impatient live audience.
Finally, when she realized she wasn't going to get anywhere with me, she actually tried to bolt out the front of the store with her cart full of garbage!
They sent the loss prevention team after her and she gave them about as much trouble as she gave me. Now, I didn't get to leave the register because we were packed, but I was told she tried to fight a few of the people from loss prevention before the cops got there. The whole episode ended with her getting arrested.
The rest of my day sucked anyway, but that made it a bit better.
11/17. Back in my poor college days when I worked at walmart we had a fight break out over a bike. Fists were thrown and there was some blood.
Eventually one guy got ahold of it and managed to get away from the crowd, he rode the bike out of the store to flee his pursuers (without paying).
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12/17. I worked for six yearsrs at a Johnny Rockets in a mall. We didn't open early like the rest of the stores on Black Friday because we didn't serve breakfast.
We had people shake our gates screaming that they wanted food. It was just me there, getting the chairs set out and ready for the day.
I pointed the crowd towards the food court and told them we didn't serve breakfast. A lady spit at me and told me: "I know you have bacon."
We do. In a fridge waiting to be cooked and put on a burger.
13/17. I was working in a video store and we marked down absolutely everything (including our selection of hundreds of used movies) to insane degrees. I mean 50% or more in most cases. Used movies were practically giveaways.
Among the usual mobs were this guy and his wife who walked in with a box of those giant professional grade trash bags. They proceeded to fill up four of these trash bags. At one point, they were just going through the used bins and throwing things in there.
Naturally then when they got to the register, they had quite a few doubles. Every time they would hit a double, they'd remove it. Because of the sheer volume of movies, they had a tough time keeping up with everything and were taking forever to check out.
Luckily my manager came up and, acknowledging the increasingly angry lines of people behind them, told the couple they can either buy everything they have in the bags regardless of whether it was a double or leave.
After some arguments the husband eventually grabbed the bags and upended them, spilling the DVD's on the floor right in front of the register. They then left.
The best part? Customers started to go after the movies on the floor like vultures before we could get to them.
14/17. I used to work at a tech store. My worst experience was watching two elderly ladies get in a fist fight over a Nintendo DS. That and the cleaning the aftermath of Black Friday. Looked like a grocery store before a hurricane.
15/17. 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 department store, and ALL of my checkers called in sick that morning. All of them. (continued...)
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So I am the only fucking one ringing people up, for the first like 6 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 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.
16/17. Worked as greeter at American Eagle. My job was to stand at the front and tell you what the sale was. Some lady walked in with like 8 bags and the alarm went off. So I smiled and said that it went off most likely because there's possibly still a tag on one of her items. This was her response:
"I JUST WALKED IN AND YOU'RE ALREADY ACCUSING ME OF STEALING?!?!?" And then she stormed off.
Thanks for listening, lady.
17/17. There are too many horror stories. Im gonna tell you about my last customer from this Black Friday. I am a service advisor at a very large Toyota dealership.
My typical cutoff was rolling around (I usually stop writing cars an hour before my shift ends) but I got a car that came in for a wheel rotation. I thought Id be nice so I wrote it up and immediately got it into the shop.
My techs knocked it out lickety-split and I got it over to the carwash, where I personally washed it myself. I even vacuumed the car. Then I drove the car up to the drive-out section, called the customer and turned in the paperwork to be closed out.
Then I asked my boss for some of the Knotts Berry Farm tickets that all Toyota dealerships in Southern California are handing out, and when he came to grab his car I let him know I had some free tickets for him.
His face lit up like a Christmas tree. I hope he has a great holiday season. Not everyone is a nightmare.
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