The 14 Worst Things Retail Workers Have To Deal With During Black Friday

Mean Girlsl
Mean Girls

Ahhh, Black Friday. A glorious tradition of complete and total chaos with the ones you love most! Together, millions of people wake up in total darkness, struggle to zip up their jeans from the feast they partook in the night before, and rush down to the mall for the best deals in town. What a lovely, lovely time to make everlasting memories, right? And if you are one of the lucky employees WORKING during Black Friday, oh boy do you make memories…. and here are some things you can expect.

1. People forget you’re a human being

There’s some horrible voodoo spell Black Friday casts that sometimes turns otherwise nice, docile people into the most horrible, vile creatures to walk this planet. Sound harsh? I once had a woman tell me I wasn’t wrapping her gift quickly enough and then added, “Ugh, people like you don’t even deserve to have a job during this economy.” LADY, ARE YOU SERIOUS?

2. Your feet will go numb

Everyone who is on their feet a lot for work knows that annoying, achy feeling of tired muscles. Black Friday elevates this to a whole new level, and eventually, you just stop feeling like you have feet at all.

3. You witness mini family dramas

Nothing says “it’s the holidays” quite like three screaming children and a mother and father fighting over whether or not the in-laws can spend the night for Christmas! Anything that is normally a private discussion gets amped up on Black Friday. Arguments become the soundtrack to your work day.

4. Your coworkers become your comrade-in-arms

Even if you weren’t tight with them before this hellish massacre, you certainly form a new kind of bond when you’ve both survived a Black Friday shift. A knowing look from your coworker while you’re dealing with an 85 year old woman complaining that you can’t accept her 20 year old coupon can make all the difference in just…making it out alive. Plus, you can laugh about this in the future. Far in the future.

5. Someone will get pissed if you are politically correct

I’m Jewish, but I’m not going to make some assumption and just say Happy Hanukkah to everyone I greet in the store. Please don’t freak the fuck out when I say, “Happy Holidays!” and then dive into how this is an attack on Christmastime and I’m not a true American. Like, can you take a Xanax or something?

6. You will want to die if you hear “Santa Baby” one more time

All your favorite holiday songs come to die when you work Black Friday shifts. Oh, baby, it’s cold outside? Cool. Go outside and stay there. The worst part? Even though you are incredibly annoyed by the same songs repeating over and over again, they will still be stuck in your head and later, find yourself singing them in the car.

7. Your patience is tested

To work retail at all, you need a decent level of patience. But just how patient you think you are will be put to the test on Black Friday. The same person will ask you the same question, but in six different ways. Someone won’t be able to decide if they should get the blue cardigan or the white one, and ask you to keep bringing the other one back so they can compare. You will explain policies, rules, exceptions so many times, you will have reoccurring nightmares. But you walk out of the situation knowing just how much you can handle.

8. Your own Thanksgiving either doesn’t exist, or is cut short

Some of us EXTRA lucky folks work on Thanksgiving to make sure the store is all stocked and prepped for the rush the next day. But even if you don’t work and then have a Black Friday shift, you are headed to bed super early. Like…basically at dinner time.

9. You’ve got to be a top notch security guard

You almost have two jobs: whichever one you were hired for, and then also that of a ninja. Shoplifting increases with all the craziness surrounding Black Friday, so you’ve got to keep an eye out for people who are acting sketchy.

10. You sustain minor injuries

Two words: paper cut.
Two more words: hunger pains.
Three more words: make it stop.

11. You’re in a bad mood when you go home

I can’t speak for everyone, because some of us are better at compartmentalizing than others. But if you’re at all like me, after a Black Friday shift you need to go home, sleep, and just not be around anyone or a part of society for a good solid 24 hours.

12. You feel irrationally jealous

We’ve all felt pangs of envy when someone gets something we really want, but can’t afford at the moment. This is intensified like crazy when you’re ringing up tons of cool stuff for people.

13. The sound of bells chiming drives you crazy

You start to wonder if you’re actually going insane….

14.You’re filled with a sense of pride when it’s over

You did it. You’re feeling like a superhero, and you know you can handle ANYTHING now. AWE YEAHHH!!! But once the high of being a bad ass is over, you’ll immediately start dreading next year. TC mark

Ari Eastman

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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