Having worked retail before, black Friday stress and shoppers are not foreign to me. Granted, it has been quite sometime since I had been in the game, it isn’t something that you easily forget.
Before getting married, I was a supervisor at Wal-Mart. In my time at wallyworld, I had been through 2 black fridays. The first year, I was a cashier. I don’t remember a whole lot other than obviously cashiering.
The second year, I was a supervisor. Boy are things different when you have some kind of territory to claim. The planning, the overtime, freezing in the trailors, the preparation, stress, and ultimately the event itself.
I remember the panic in people’s voices as we prepared for the day, the night before. I remember seeing people, tons of people, gathered throughout the store waiting for the clock to strike “go time”. I remember seeing people sleeping on the shelves where merchandise should be.
I remember dragging pallet after pallet out of the backroom strategically placed in its location.
I remember having to stand and guard a pallet of leap frog toys until it was time to cut the shrink wrap off of it. As soon as I took my box cutter out, people were pushing and shoving, trampling ontop of me. All for a toy!
It amazes me what people do for things.
Now that I am working this seasonal retail job. I got to experience the black Friday frenzy all over again. This time, it was different. Maybe because it is a different place that is seemingly more sophisticated than good ole Wal-Mart.
The Wednesday before black Friday, I worked the evening shift. As the night began to unfold, I could sense the panic in the voices of people on the walkie. I listened to people voice their concerns about crowd control.
I could only sit back and chuckle. I kept reassuring people about my experience and that since it wasn’t Wal-Mart, we should do and be fine.
Luckily for me, I did not have to work Thanksgiving night. I did, however, work black Friday evening.
Black Friday should not be called black Friday anymore. Since it keeps encroaching on Thanksgiving day, but what can I do?
Anyway, I go in Friday thinking, “okay, this won’t be nearly as bad as Wal-Mart and since it’s the evening it won’t be as busy as the morning shift. I’m sure there will be plenty of things to do/cleanup, and the night should go rather quick.”
I wasn’t wrong.
When I went in, we had about 5 full carts for just my department. Which, doesn’t sound too daunting. The thing though, we still needed to get the store put back together. We were lacking direction from the uppers as they all worked the morning shift. We had about 5 people in our area, but most of us were new. I kind of went into leader mode, out of habit, and helped devise a plan.
We each took an area and focused our attention there. I had the pleasure of spending 2.5 hours on my small area because it looked like a tornado had been through there. About halfway through, I was pulled to help another area because they were running out of space to put things.
By time the store closed, my back was angry. I could feel my pinched nerve starting to flare up from all the repetitive movements. Nonetheless, we got things done. We ended up with one cart that we couldn’t finish.
When I went in Saturday afternoon, as I was putting stuff away, some of it seemed familiar. It was the cart from the night before.
Trying to get caught back up is where the chaos really is. Restoring the order of the store while also trying to maintain the regular function is where the stress is.
I like that it keeps me busy though. I genuinely like the job itself so that has been nice.
I don’t know if I will work another black Friday, but I do know you won’t ever catch me shopping one (online is where it’s at).