Every year, retail employees dread the inevitable Black Friday nightmares that most will only know about because of the news. While you experience the shock and awe of Black Friday horror stories from the safety of your homes, retail workers must deal with the worst Black Friday incidents as they unfold in all their discount-induced devastation.
Childhood havens like Toys R Us take a nosedive into anarchy while already obnoxious retail spots like Walmart descend from the third circle of Hell into the seventh layer. Retail employees who work on Black Fridays describe soul-crushing accounts of shoppers yelling, shoving, and full-on assaulting other customers and employees in order to get that plasma flat-screen or Furby.
Black Friday is, indeed, that. It keeps companies in the black but it leaves employees to see humanity through black-colored glasses.
A Nintendo Caused A Bloodbath
"Years ago I got hired as seasonal help for Toys R Us. It was before they redesigned the stores into their current [mess] and everything was in long aisles. I got stuck in aisle one, which was board games on one side and the big glass case of video games on the other. This was the year that Super Nintendo came out, so we had one behind the glass with a controller outside so you could try out Super Mario Land.
"I'm up on a ladder getting more copies of Crocodile Dentist down to restock the lower shelves and hear some yelling. I look down and two kids are shoving each in front of the SNES. They start swinging at each other and the parents intervene, only to start fighting themselves.
"I slide down the ladder and my manager rushes over to try and stop things from getting worse. One of the parents had a bat in his cart and hits the other guy square in the back, knocking him into the display cabinet, shattering the glass and cutting him up really good. The guy with the bat realizes what he did and grabs his kids and tries to make a run for the door.
"Management is trying to block him from leaving as they go and manage to get the cop that is outside directing traffic. The police come in and wrestle this guy to the ground while his kids watch. He resists and gets a serious beat down in the middle of the store. The other guy that went through the glass is cut up and bleeding really bad. He ends up losing an eye over the whole thing. After this is all over, we have to lock up the SNES and you could only try it out if management opens the case for you.
"The other really messed up part of this whole thing is that people are taking toys out of the cut-up man's cart as EMS works on him and his kid sits there crying. One woman even tries to take the blood splattered, demo SNES out of the broken case to try to buy for her kid. People are heartless, mindless sheep when it comes to cheap crap. Ever since this, I spend my Black Fridays at home."
One Customer Suffered A Bloody Hit-And-Run
"I worked at Walmart for four 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 two 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."
Some Black Fridays Warranted Hospital Visits
"My first Black Friday, I was working at a Walmart. I was assigned to be one of the employees that would cut open the plastic on the pallets which contained our merchandise, which were all in the floor. As I readied [a] box cutter, I got shoved by a customer, fell right on it, and sliced my hand open. After getting through that and patching it up, I came out on the floor and promptly got punched in the face when I picked up a DVD on the ground. A customer apparently wanted it.
"F*ck Black Friday."
Not All Of The Balls Were For Purchase That Black Friday
"This one year when I was 15, I worked at Walmart doing shelf stocking. This time, we happened to have this doll on sale for $19.99; Toys R Us had the same doll for $79.99. This was [between 2003 and 2004].
"Anyway, people knew about this; I mean, people were lined up outside five hours before we opened. [They weren't] just your regular bargain shoppers. [They were] a bunch of middle-aged women who have been standing in the cold for five hours for this... doll, and of course the few normal bargain shoppers in the mix also. 15 minutes before open, [we] started hearing this loud bang, so a few of us went to see what's happening.
"They were ramming the door! 200 cold people were trying to take down the gate to the kingdom! Five minutes later you heard the loud SNAP; they broke through the doors! Everybody rushed in the store. Though it was not open yet and nobody was at their cash register, it didn't matter... People thought it was okay to go in through the door that popped off its hinges. I've never seen anything like it, and I've worked retail in total now for almost 10 years...
"First, we had to call an ambulance, as there was one of our elderly customers, a very nice, old man who always made people smile. He was near the front entrance, in the front line of the battle of the bargains (barbarians). He fell to the floor and got run over by countless people. Nobody stopped to help, he just got stepped on. He had a broken hip, broken ribs, and countless bruises and cuts... after getting stepped on with high heels...
"At the same time this was happening, I headed over to the toys section where the three pallets of these dolls were sitting. And what did I see? A crazy woman swinging her cane violently, claiming the whole lot of them! Screaming things like 'I've been here for eight hours! I brought $5,000 and I'm getting them all! If you want some you are going to have to buy it from me!'
"She was crazy and hit two employees along with many customers. Our security guard Robin was there, though... small but she was built. She was trained in martial arts, but you'd never know because she wore baggy clothes. Robin went up to the front of the crowd and just said, 'This is strike two, I want you to leave now or else I'm having you removed' Of course she screams out 'Bring it on, you can't take me!'
"So Robin did the most unusual thing I've ever seen. She slowly walked up to her, put her hands in her pockets, and threw three or four bouncy balls on the floor. Crazy lady was a little thrown off and looked at the balls. Robin... snapped the cane out of her hands while simultaneously smacking her with it on her arm. She spun her around and held her arms behind her back (no cuffs) until the cops showed up a minute later.
"The rest went pretty well, we sold out of dolls in minutes, a limit of one per customer."