On Thursday, we’ll sit down to dinner with our nearest and dearest and celebrate all the things for which we’re thankful. On Friday, we’ll beat the shit out of each other in the middle of a Walmart to try to get the last pair of $5 mittens. Some people love Black Friday and some people hate it, but there’s one group of people out there who unanimously despise it: retail workers.
I worked at Old Navy throughout most of college, and I can tell you from experience how much Black Friday sucks. You have to show up to work at ungodly hours when even the sun is too tired to make an appearance, people blame you personally for every sell-out and pricing error, and you run into some straight up weirdo customers. One bonus, though, is that you do end up with some pretty crazy stories.
Here, 10 people who’ve worked retail on Black Friday share their most hilarious and nightmarish anecdotes from the big day.
1. “Someone pooped in the fitting room.”
“I spent my early 20s as the manager of the junior’s department of a very high-end retailer. One Black Friday, I guess someone couldn’t wait for the restroom — they decided to relieve themselves in the dressing room on top of a pair of jeans and hid it under a coat. I was absolutely MORTIFIED. I had to call housekeeping, and basically the dressing rooms were out of commission for the rest of the day as it aired out. I also felt really bad for the poor woman who had to come sanitize the area.” – Amber M.
2. “I had to call security on a crazy lady.”
“I worked as a cashier at Target one Black Friday, and I had a teenager come through my line with a bunch of clothes that had $0.20 clearance stickers. Clothes go on clearance at Target, but never for $0.20, and I recognized the items as being new from our latest shipment. Basically, she took the clearance stickers off of something else and tried to get the discount on new clothes. I told her the price was wrong and she freaked out and started screaming and calling me a liar. Security ended up having to escort her from the building.” – Tara J.
3. “Someone showed up with a 30-pound turkey.”
“My worst Black Friday experience was when I worked at a grocery store. A lady showed up as soon as we opened, lugging a frozen turkey with her. Turns out she’d purchased it the night before Thanksgiving and didn’t realize those suckers have to defrost for several days before you can cook them. She was ill as a hornet and demanding her money back on a halfway thawed 30-pound turkey. On Black Friday. At 5 a.m. She didn’t get her money back, and she left the store screaming that she would never buy her groceries there again. Bless her heart.” – Tamara G.
4. “I witnessed a fist fight.”
“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).” – Redditor KnowMatter
5. “I had the world’s grosset run-in with a shoplifter.”
“I used to work at a clothes store, and one Black Friday we had the craziest shop lifter. She took all this stuff into the fitting room and then came out wearing it all and tried to walk out. When the fitting room attendant confronted her, she took the clothes she’d been wearing and balled them up and threw them at the attendant. Here’s the horrifying part: the balled up clothes were covered in what we’re pretty sure was period blood.” – Elizabeth M.
6. “A dude went berserk, because he doesn’t understand how stores work.”
“I used to work at the Gap when I was in college. One Black Friday, I had a guy get all worked up and start yelling at me. Why, you ask? Well, because the Gap doesn’t carry Levis jeans, of course. We only had Gap jeans. Because it was the Gap.” – Emily A.
7. “I blacked out on the job.”
“I was scheduled to work 6am-5pm on Black Friday. My lunch was at 8am. Not much of a breakfast person, I chose to only consume a granola bar before getting back to work. As the hours go by, I find the demanding circumstances (I was behind the register) coupled with hunger are making me feel light-headed. At 2pm I’m denied a 15-minute break to eat something more substantial. At 3pm an ambulance arrives due to the fact that a young, female sales associate has hit the tile and is probably suffering a concussion… That sales associate was me. I recovered just fine, but at 4pm my boss called me at the hospital and inquired, ‘Are you coming back to work?’ And that’s why I’m now a bartender.” – peacelovewaffles, Reddit
8. “I almost got trampled.”
“I worked in the toy department of Target…during Black Friday. I was bringing out a box of stuffed animal figures—not even that season’s must-have,’ just some generic shit. As I unpacked the box, someone must’ve mistaken them for something else because a couple shoppers started grabbing them right out of the box I was holding, which led to a crowd rushing me trying to get one. I got pushed back into the shelf and banged my head pretty hard. What pissed me off most was when they walked away and realized it wasn’t valuable, most of them just dropped theirs on the floor.” -Redditor wizardinsurance
9. “I watched someone flip a table.”
“The clothes store where I work has big tables of folded shirts and sweaters. One year on Black Friday this man was looking for a sweater that was on sale and couldn’t find his size. We didn’t have anymore in the size he wanted, but when I told him that he completely freaked out. He started swearing and banging his hands on the table. He ended up freaking out so much he knocked the table completely over. It was fucking ridiculous.” – Grace P.
10. “I witnessed a grandma catfight.”
“I worked at RadioShack for a year in college. During Black Friday, one of the sale items was a $10 calculator marked down to $5. Two sweet, elderly women came in to the store looking for them. When I told them there was only one left, the shit was ON. It turned into a geriatric version of roller derby without the skates. The grandma who lost the race called the other one a ‘fucking bitch’ as she was standing in the checkout line, gripping her $5 prize. I always imagined some little kid opening presents on Christmas morning and getting this stupid $5 calculator, not really wanting it, and having no clue about the backstory, as his grandma, sipping her tea, looks on with a triumphant gleam in her eye.” – Redditor Jsquaw