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Retail workers scheduled for Black Friday shifts probably feel envious when they watch Thanksgiving football games. They wish they could get some helmets and padding, too.
On Reddit, battle-scarred veterans of the post-turkey shopping frenzy were asked: What's your Black Friday horror story?
Here are a few of the most memorable responses. The store associates probably can't forget some of this stuff no matter how desperately they try.
1. You get a hoody, and you get a hoody
I used to work at Victoria's Secret PINK and my first Black Friday, I was at the front of the store. People were already outside waiting to get in at midnight.
When the (gates) lifted, I was pushed backwards and almost fell to the ground, luckily I fell on our launch table. I climbed the table and stayed up there throwing customers hoodies and yoga pants.
It was fun yelling, "Green hoodie, size small, who wants it?" And everyone jumping and yelling for it.
Also, a girl fainted and I had to push people from walking all over her.
2. Wild cards
I worked retail through college. The store ran a special leading up to black Friday that resulted in a ton of gift cards. With lines leading out the door and the store an absolute mess, my shift was a nonstop run of cashiering.
After several hours I had turned into a robot. Greet customer, ring stuff, swipe gift card, cut up gift card, hand receipt and stuff back. You see where this is going...
A client handed me their gift card and their ATM card. I swiped both, handed the gift card back, and cut her ATM card in half. She freaked out.
It was horrible.
3. The longest fake line ever
(A) 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.
4. Tackle Me Elmo
My dad was a police officer when the toy of the year was the Tickle Me Elmo. He responded to a call at Walmart or Target (can't remember which one exactly) of two women beating each other up over one.
When he went to break up the fight, one of the women bit his arm. She bit him so hard that she actually spit some of his skin and blood out onto the floor.
He had to get his blood tested every six months for two years after the incident to make sure he didn't get any diseases from her. People are [bleep]ing crazy.
5. In the rough at the golf shop
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 SKUs, calculate tax, and use the old credit card swipers for three hours.
I never worked retail during Black Friday again.
6. Mr. Unpopularity
Years ago I was working cashier in a department store with every available cash register staffed.
I worked through my "smoke" break voluntarily, but my manager came over and told me to go on my lunch break. I'd been working for four hours, so I was needing a restroom break, too.
I've never been booed in my life. Forty-plus people booed at me as I closed my register.
7. Bacon a real spectacle of things
I worked for six years at a Johnny Rockets in a mall as a server and management. We didn't open early (on Black Friday) like the rest of the stores because we are a restaurant and well, we don't serve breakfast.
(We) had people shake our gates screaming that they wanted food. Would be just me and an opener getting the chairs set out.
I pointed them toward the food court and told them we didn't serve breakfast. A lady spat at me and told me, "I know you have bacon."
We do. In a fridge waiting to be cooked and put on a burger.
8. A Wii bit of trouble
(I'm a) former GameStop manager. The worst one I ever worked was 2006. Everyone wanted a damn Wii.
When I got to the store at 4 a.m. to prep for the 5 a.m. opening, there were people wrapped around the shopping center in a line for the damn thing even though I had a sign on the door explicitly stating that we could only guarantee them for the first six people.
When I made the announcement to the folks in line, I thought I was about to get my [bleep] kicked by more than a couple (angry) grandmas and soccer moms who had been waiting since midnight.
9. Gift wrapping is extra, but what about babysitting?
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 three employees in the store: two on register, then there's me, the shift manager, supposed to be helping people shop. ...
... Mall security called the cops. The officers show up about 25 minutes after this lady left her kids — the lady 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 FOUR-LANE STREET. At 7:30 p.m. During crazy-busy shopping time.
10. Furby or bust
When I was in college I worked at a toy store and it was the year of the Furbys. They were really hard to get and our site only got 10 of them.
We were instructed to pass out numbers rather than the actual toys to the first nine in line. (One was donated.) I was the lucky one to pass out numbers.
When we opened our doors it was pretty organized because we had set up lines and it was also a high-end neighborhood. I gave the first person their number and then all of a sudden I am tackled from behind.
This woman slammed into me and knocked me to the floor and ripped the tickets out of my hand, breaking two fingers. All for [bleep] numbers.
How dumb was she? The store refused to give her a Furby for her numbers and was trying to detain her until the cops showed up, but she decked our manager and walked out.
11. An alarming confrontation
(I) worked "greets" at American Eagle. My job was to stand at the front and tell you what the sale was.
Some lady walked in with like eight 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 stormed off.
Nothing special honestly, just another day of retail.
12. The TV buyer's poor resolution
A man showed up the Tuesday before the big sale with a tent, ice coolers, generator, TV and everything he needed to brave the three nights he would be staying over.
He continuously talked about being first in line and how he was going to get the plasma TV and how he was hosting the next Super Bowl party so this was just going to be the best thing ever. ...
At 5 a.m., the doors opened and the man goes straight to the plasma TVs to see that they were all gone. What happened? The garden center at the Walmart opened up about 10 seconds before the front doors and those that came the night before scooped up on all 15 plasma TVs.
This guy who had been there since Tuesday afternoon was dumbfounded and argued with management but was stonewalled and told there was nothing that could be done. That guy's Thanksgiving was a bust for sure.
13. Oh, Christmas trees!
There was a sale on Christmas trees that normally cost $250. If I remember correctly the price dropped to something like $80. It was my first Black Friday and I was still trying to do price changes.
Well, as soon as the managers opened the door, I was like a deer staring at headlights. All the customers ran in and pushed me left to right. I admittedly got nervous.
I was being yelled at and screamed at for that tree. Some women were arguing and pulling either side of one of the boxes. Then a man came and grabbed it from both and started dragging it off.
It was hell. I literally ducked under one of the bays and disappeared 'til the chaos stopped. Boy, was that incredibly stressful.
14. Black Friday can be a scream
Ours wasn't that bad in perspective (Walmart, small town), but I actually froze in shock and thought I was going to die right as everything went down.
Basically, our event started Thursday at 6 p.m. I had to be out front to guide traffic.
At 5:56 p.m., one of the assistant managers at the back of the store decided it would be a great idea to start opening the plastic on some of the displays, so customers wouldn't have to savage them open.
A customer nearby made eye contact with her, looked at the ceiling and let out a VIKING SCREAM.
This viking scream echoed throughout the store, and everyone else started screaming too. The whole thing lasted about seven minutes ...
15. Wreath wrath
My first day of retail was on Black Friday. I got hired at Home Depot, and they didn't know what to do with me so they put me in the Christmas tree lot.
Basically somebody would come pick out a tree and I would mend it to their specifications with a chainsaw, which I have never used before in my life.
I wasn't given any gloves and whenever I asked for some, somebody would tell me they'll grab me some but never came back. So my hands were all sappy.
The worst experience was that a woman had started yelling at me and even demanded to speak to a manager because she insisted that I was the one who promised to save her the Christmas tree clippings so she could make a wreath. I had not seen her before in my life.
16. Not fine with the fine print
Our sale was a nightmare. It was literally a deal you could get any other time of the year, but people went nuts because it was Black Friday.
"Buy one get one half off, all shoes" except in the long, small print paragraph below the deal, the coupon claimed that this did not include Nike shoes, among many other popular shoe models from other brands.
Cue customers throwing a huge fit when they came up to the register and saw that the deal didn't go through. After 20 minutes my manager got so fed up he just started overriding the transactions because every cashier was getting screamed at.
17. Carted off
I was working at a retail store and this women leaves her cart alone for one second to go check something out, and customers just raided her cart and took everything in it.
Worst part was that we were out of everything she had in the cart, so she had no way of getting it back.
18. People want what they want
The first couple in line had been there for about 13 or 14 hours. So we open the store, and we have deals on all sorts of electronics, toys, etc.
They get in line and have a shopping cart full of towels that we had on sale for $2. That's it. Just towels. They were first in line outside and waited over half a day for $2 towels.
When I left after my 12-hour shift, we still had shelves full of these towels, along with tons more in the stockroom.
19. Don't blame crabby kids
I worked at Toys R Us some years ago.
No standout bad customers, but it surprised me how many parents brought their young children out at 3 a.m. and then got mad and would yell at their children for whining/crying because "you can't get any toys, Christmas is next month. Ask Santa."
Your kid is exhausted and you dragged them to a toy store, of course they're gonna be (angry). Working there really changed my perspective ..."
20. Horribly humdrum
My Black Friday two years ago was just the opposite of crazy — I used to work in a grocery store, so it was absolutely dead the whole shift.
I have never been so utterly and thoroughly bored before or since.
I would have killed for some crazy [bleep] to happen just so I could have a chuckle about it the next day.
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