|Yeah, this really happens.|
So, I'm well aware that I'm one of those bitter folks who has been in retail for too long. But the fact of the matter is, most of the year, my job is pretty fun. I work with awesome people who are like my family, and we have a pretty good time.
But the truth is - Black Friday is my least favorite day of the whole entire year. It looms over the month of November like a thick black cloud, and now that it has crept earlier and earlier and now is into Thursday, has effectively killed my Thanksgiving.
But that's okay. It's all so you, the consumer, can save a few bucks. It comes with the job, it's not going anywhere, and I've done so many I'm the go to expert for my department (arguably the most important one in the store on this holy day).
None of that makes it any easier, and it's certainly not fun. But there are a few simple things that you - the crazy deal seeking masses who ensure that this one day keeps getting more and more and more out of hand every year - can do to make this day more safe and bearable for all.
1. Don't bring your children. First of all, people die during this thing, and if you need more of a reason than that, you're already seriously disturbed enough that you should just stay home to begin with.
2. Don't show up drunk. Because if there's any day that being belligerent and difficult will get you booted out of your favorite retailer, it's this one. We generally draw the line at when you start cussing us out, fyi - and the management team is extremely lenient when it comes to us firing back on this day. If you get snippy, we're going to get snippy back. Complain all you want, and demand that we get fired - unless you're leaving with bruises, it's not happening.
3. Stop running, pushing, and why the hell are you yelling? I've often compared that moment when the doors open to the scene in the Lion King where Mufasa gets trampled by the stampede. As people rush through the building toward the electronics counter in a sale induced frenzy, it straight up sounds like a riot. Calm down, crazy people, we all know what we're doing here. It's not like we hide the sale items from you, you have a map that tells you where you are. (Although hiding them sounds like an amazing idea and I want to try it next year.) Also, and I know this one is hard to believe - we can hear you. There's no need to scream at us when demanding to know where the digital cameras are. My ears work just fine, thanks.
4. Do not, under any circumstances, call the store. Any phone call that occurs during the first four hours of Black Friday madness, will either go largely ignored, or will be answered with the shortest, best guess of an answer possible. The fact of the matter is this - everything is so chaotic that we rarely actually know what we have left in stock until the dust settles anyway, so you're probably not getting the correct answer to begin with, and furthermore, there's not a chance in hell that we're going to traipse across the store to find out, nor are we going to hold whatever you ask for anyway. Save your minutes, either let the dream die, or show up like everyone else.
5. Don't touch me. I mean really, just don't. You will get an elbow to the jaw.
6. You're going to have to wait. The lines are long, and the team is busy. Deal with it.
7. Once the doorbusters are gone, they're gone. Sure, we're going to tell you that we have a truck coming on Saturday morning and there's a chance that we'll get more back in just to get you out of our hair. Here's an insider tip for you: I've been to this party seven times - it's never happened, it's never going to happen. Sorry about your luck.
8. It's not the day for a tutorial. You'd be surprised just how many times people will come up in the midst of the most chaotic few hours of the year, park themselves in front of me clutching a doorbuster camera/tv/other random electronic item, sigh with labored irritation and demand that I tell them everything that they need to know about this product. "Sigh. I don't know anything about digital cameras, can you tell me about them?" Any of the other 364 days of the year, I'd be more than happy to explain to you how cameras work. But there are punches being thrown behind you and a line of impatient, exhausted, drunks in front of you. Keep it moving and look it up online, or come back next week.
9. You get what you pay for. There's a reason that you don't see that giant tv that you paid like ten dollars for on the wall with the tvs that we carry all year. It's because we get them in for the sole purpose of this two day event and will never see them again. Until a month from now when you haul your broken one back in and you're SOL because we can't replace it. Just saying.
10. Don't hand me your list and tell me to find you "any of this." This happens every day of the holiday shopping season, and unless you're a sweet old lady, is completely lazy and rude.
11. The rules exist for a reason. Did you see that line outside? Yeah, that means that we have to try and make that many people happy in span of about two hours until things calm to a dull roar. So when we say there's a limit on purchasing, we mean it. And stop telling me that you have twins, triplets, are the octomom. I see you here all the time, and you've never been hauling anything but a latte and an iPhone, and even if you are straight out of an epsiode of 18 Kids and Counting, you're not getting more than one tv/camera/whatever.
12. We're people, not robots. People lose their shit during these sales. I mean really. So if we have go to get you something from the back room and it seems to take forever - that's because the back room is like a damn day spa while the war rages outside of the swing doors. It's quiet, nearly empty, cool. So while someone is pretending to look for that last tv, we take full advantage of a few moments to breathe, cry, sneak off for a drink of water, or to pee. A couple of years ago, some woman bitched me out because I wouldn't give her a deep discount on a video game that wasn't even on sale, even after the manager next to me shut her down twice. It was near the end of my shift and I was tired both physically and emotionally, and her rage fest was almost enough to push me over the edge. The man who was waiting patiently behind her until she stomped off in a huff, had been paying rapt attention the entire time. I started to ring up his purchases, and he stopped handing me things until I looked up at him - when he smiled sympathetically and said "Hey, just so you know, you're doing a really good job." It made my whole holiday season better. Seriously.
So as you head out tonight in a tryptophan and wine haze and stumble into a herd with the rest of the crazed shoppers clutching your ads and your coffee, take a minute to remember that people have been working around the clock for weeks to make sure you have the best chance of getting the items that you want. But once the floodgates open, our resources are limited and there's only so much that we can do. Being rude, pushy, and aggressive isn't going to change anything, and isn't going to help your case if there's any sort of negotiating to be had. Be nice to us, and we'll be nice to you. Isn't that some sort of golden rule or something?