For many Americans, the time-honored tradition of Thanksgiving dinner is followed by another, equally important ritual: Black Friday.
Waking up at 1 a.m. and braving the masses in search of the ever-elusive deal is a reprieve for some after slaving over that big bird. But, for many retail employees, the annual “holiday” (which has slowly crept into Thursday) is less fun and more like their own personal Vietnam.
From violent customers with lewd behavior to the inexplicable garbage heap that forms in store aisles after the first mad dash, here are the best of the worst Black Friday retail employee stories that Reddit has to offer.
First, from Reddit user KnowMatter, we learn the lengths people will go for a set of wheels. This story, arguably – and sadly – is one of the tamer ones.
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).
After spending the day being thankful for family and friends, people immediately turn around and resort to violence to save a few bucks. Maybe Black Friday should precede the retail holiday, so shoppers can be surrounded by their relatives while they reflect on their actions. Case in point, InfinityKitty‘s experience:
I worked at Walmart for 4 years and worked all Black Fridays. I’ve seen a woman hit another woman in the chest with those toddler car boxes you drive in. Woman who got hit was a week or 3 post op of open heart surgery. Lots of blood. Right In front of me. No idea what happened to the woman who hit her. I do think she got the toy car purchased it and left.
Madamimadam89‘s tale also proves that Black Friday aggression knows no age limit.
I saw an elderly woman steal an ice cream maker out of a man in a wheelchair’s electric handicapped cart. He got a security guard, and she flat out denied it, saying the man was using his handicap to embarrass her. I lost a little faith in humanity in that moment. I followed her and took stuff out of her cart and put it back on the shelves and out random embarrassing items in their place.
People have no chill, even when they’re shopping at kids’ stores. Just ask MsKnee:
I worked at Toys-R-Us when the original Furby came out. I walked in the back doors right before my shift, when doors were supposed to open. I had people follow me in and assault me trying to get a damn Furby. Then when doors finally did open, one parent pushed my coworker to the ground and jumped on top of a pile of people to get one from the display. She ended up kicking some poor schmuck in the head and grabbed a Furby and stuffed it down her shirt, and tried to casually walk out and steal it.
Reddit’s Lochneffmonster told a similar story of violence, but, thankfully, the fighting was contained to the store’s parking lot.
I work as a Deputy in the suburbs of a fairly large city. My very first Black Friday on the streets, I had to respond to a knife fight outside ToysRUs that started over line jumpers. Ugh, still makes me shudder. I hate knives..
Then there’s the public defection, which happens (unfortunately) way more than you’d think. With kids, like in JSalazar3‘s case, it’s maybe a little more understandable…
Manager at GameStop: kid pooped on our floor because his mom didn’t want to leave and have to stand in line again.
But when adults get in on the bathroom action, that’s where we draw the line. Take, for example, Mikram‘s first Black Friday in retail, three years back. It’s the worst Goldilocks adaptation of all time.
My first Black Friday tonight, I worked 8pm to midnight. I went to the bathroom about 3 hours in and went to use the handicap stall and someone had just straight up shit on the floor in there. I went to the next stall, lots of shit not flushed. I then continued on and got to the 3rd stall and there was a little smear of poop on the ground but it was actually the cleanest stall so I just covered that with toilet seat covers and used it.
Or Becksterh‘s tale, which is really just inexcusable on all fronts.
I had an old lady take a dump in line, rather than lose her place. We had to shut down the line to clean it up. The 50 people behind her had to move to other lines after already waiting a half hour. I had to clean it up, and was just waiting to get stampeded. The rush to the register when we reopened was horrific.
It’s also interesting to see what items customers get riled up over. For CeeDeee2, it was Old Navy’s graphic tees.
I worked at Old Navy in college. We would usually have several items on one table, but only one would be on sale. It was clear though, it would be like tshirts, skirts, and sweaters and the sign would say “tshirts $5.” One guy got super pissed that everything on the table wasn’t on sale and started flipping out about false advertising. We wore lanyards and he grabbed my managers lanyard and started choking her. We were all ready to call the police but she was a pretty badass older women and got him to stop.
And who doesn’t see the merit in getting arrested over a slow cooker? From Pandacoot:
One of our male customers hit another male customer upside the head with a crock pot. What were they fighting over? The crock pot. Both customers had to be dragged out of the store by the police.
Some people just won’t accept that the rules apply to them. “Wait in this line? Why should I!” Jessikaye, whose store is open from 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving day until 11 p.m. on Black Friday, said some customers don’t like to be told what to do.
I was a line quier which means I direct people to the end of the line and let people go to the register when it is empty. (We only have 1 register in electronics). A woman stood behind the person at the register and my line was already 200 long so I went up to her and said, “if you’re ready to check out our electronics line actually starts back here.” Her reply, “so? I want to check out now.” “I understand ma’am, everyone else here wants to check out as well and the people you would be cutting in front of have been waiting for an hour plus.” “Open more registers then!” “All of our registers are open including our pharmacy. There are over 1,500 people in the store right now and we are moving as fast as we can.” It continued for a good 5 minutes until she rammed her cart into my stomach and stormed out. People are so stupid.
Then there’s the folks who come in totally unprepared for the chaos of a good deal, like one man MistyJungle encountered.
Managing checklanes at Target today. Lines wrapped around entire store. Guy hands me gallon of milk saying “we’re not waiting in this line” and leaves with his two daughters. Who goes into Target on Black Friday at store open for a gallon of milk?
And, finally, proof that no toy will ever cause as much chaos as the Tickle Me Elmo of 1996, which, at one point, was apparently being re-sold on the internet that year for over $1,400 more than its price tag.
Reddit user TheSchnoo sums it up best:
I worked at Toys R Us the year that Tickle Me Elmo came out. We had put up a curtain to conceal what we were restocking so when we were done and safely out of the way we’d pull the curtain and watch people go f—–g insane.
Anyway, we put up the Elmos, people went nuts trying to get them, a petite woman, probably about 40 and about 5’3″ and a 110 pounds puts her hands on one at the same time as a man that was just about 300 lbs and probably a good 10″ to a foot taller than her. She pulls on it, he pulls on it and I thought for a split second, “I think he’s going to be fair about this and let her have it!” I was part right, he let go of it long enough to reel back and punch her straight on as hard as he could in the face, then he picked up the elmo and ran to the front of the store to pay for it while she lay on the ground bleeding and crying. The cops at the front of the store arrested him and she was given the Elmo for free though… With the shape she was in, I doubt that was ANY consolation.
Just a reminder, leftovers and online shopping are a hell of a way to spend a Black Friday as well. Any horrific Black Friday stories that you want to share?