If the holidays wasn't already stressful enough, the retail industry had to make up Black Friday just to bring out the absolute worst of people the very next day. Though most of us would rather ditch the hectic crush of Black Friday shopping, loads of people still turn out each year in hopes of grabbing that last minute deal. No matter the preference, never forget about the real MVPs of this holiday season; the retail and service workers who seriously have to put up with some wild antics. Here are some of the craziest, most entitled customers retail workers have had to deal with on Black Friday. Content has been edited for clarity.
"I've thrown one punch in my life. It was on Black Friday.
It was the year the Xbox 360 came out. I was standing in line to get some external hard drive next to the video games. There was this 11-year-old kid with a woman in her 60s. He was waiting for his Xbox bundle. The woman before him had gotten the last one and everyone sighed all around. Then the worker says 'nope one more' and begins the motion of handing it to the kid and this guy comes out of nowhere and pushed the older woman and the kid. The kid hit his face on the edge of a video game rack, you know the one with the metal and plastic dividers. At 19-years-old, I don't know what came over me, but I instantly swung for the dudes head and caught him right in the temple sending him into a tower of coffee makers stacked in the middle of the aisle. Everyone froze, including me. The guy had dropped the 360 and got up and walked away. I slid it with my foot to the kid and he didn't say anything either.
Best part was, as I still wanted the hard drive, I turned to get back in the end of the line. At the same time, cashier asked who was next. The first two people in line just pointed at me, causing me to skip about five spots in line."
"I worked in home theater at a Best Buy in Southern California in 2006. We had this really poor quality Pioneer home theater in a box that retailed normally for $200. It was on sale for $150. We had, literally, 500 in stock. They were freaking everywhere - in every aisle of home theater, in the overstock, warehouse, floor shelves, overhead storage, everywhere. We had a few pallets on the race track that we would keep stocked as best we could throughout the day.
As it would happen on Black Friday, we got busy and the pile dwindled. There was only one on the pallets. Never mind that anyone with eyes could see that we had hundreds more around. The only one on the pallet must be the last one in the store.
A lady grabbed it and put it in her cart. Some guy was clearly moving for it but was beat. The lady was oblivious. She turned down a movie aisle and proceeded to look through one of the bins filled with random $2.99 DVDs. The dude snuck up behind her, lifted the home theater in a box off her cart, and started to walk off. He got about 10 feet before this very large older man in his early 50s, I'd guess, said, 'No you don't.'
He then delivered the guy a square punch, more of a jab really, in the jaw. The would-be thief fell into one of the DVD shelves and dropped the home theater in a box. The older guy then picked it up, put it back on the still oblivious lady's cart, and walked away.
As the thief, who was clearly shocked and confused more than injured, stood up, he saw me and my coworker. We stared at him bewildered, each holding more of the home theater in a box units he was trying to steal in our arms as we were just restocking the pallet. The guy stood up, walked over, grabbed one, and walked away without saying a word.
That was about the best I have ever seen. I worked four Black Fridays in all and never saw anything more bizarre and outrageous than that."
"I've been pretty much a Drive Thru Slave for about 13 years now. Right now, I'm the night manager at Taco Bell/Long John Silver's. Situated in the nook of a rather ridiculous 3-way intersection, I am blessed with pretty low volume work.
I spent most of Black Friday night thanking the retail/customer service gods for making drive-thru completely utterly dead. There's a Walmart less than quarter mile away and the streets are packed...and I have one customer. My heart goes out to all the retail slaves getting spat on for their ten dollar TV coupons! The worst I had (before the paragraph to follow) was an entitled woman who thought she could to prepay her tacos, shop, then come eat them. I told her she better hope I remember her...
So its 20 minutes to closing time, I've had maybe 5 orders in the last hour, and I knew I wouldn't get away without any problems today. 10 minutes to close, this guy wants 50 of EACH hot sauce with his two bean burritos.
I said, 'No our policy is one per two items ordered, but I'll give you this (giant handful of packets, probably 20).'
He goes, 'C'mon baby, you can do better than that.'
I just growl and walk away to get his burritos.
I ask one of my two crew members to hand them to him because I'm going to yell at him when he asks for even more sauce.
She returns a moment later saying, 'You gotta come talk to these guys.'
As I return, I'm psyching myself up for an argument. Just as I reach for the window latch, the guy gets out of his truck and punches the window, twice and hard!
I recoil and suddenly realize no way am I opening the window now!
I scream, 'Did you just punch my window?! I'm calling the police!'
He levels a finger at me with a death stare.
I grin and stick my finger on the window like I'm E.T. and start giggling. I think I freaked my crew out. One girl was all 'I never seen you get mad like that!'
I thought about it and regained my composure and said to her, 'If that's the worst thing that happened to us on Black Friday, I'm pretty dang good with that.'
"I worked at a store that had a service department. They couldn't ring up anything at the service counter but they had a computer which made it look like a register. Guy is standing there patiently waiting to be rung up. Finally, somebody notices him and asks what he needs. 'I'd like to pay,' he says. 'I'm sorry this isn't a register' replies the service tech. The guy then proceeds to try to convince the service tech to let him pay because the line for the main registers is three hours long. Of course, the service tech couldn't because he didn't have a register. He just had a computer for making appointments and such. After 15 minutes of argument, the guy moves off to find the line.
But here's the fun part: while he was arguing somebody else saw him standing by something that looked like a register and got in line behind him. Then, people saw the shorter line and got in behind them. With nobody to control it, the line to nowhere grew quickly. 15 minutes was all it took for the not-line to snake all the way around the department. So, when the doofus who started this whole fiasco went to find the right line, he found the end of the line he had started. Then, the guy behind him heard that there wasn't a register so he followed the first guy. Then the next customer followed the 2nd and so on. They walked around in a circle for an hour before somebody noticed them. We almost had a riot when a manager had to tell 100 people that they weren't in line and had just waited an hour for nothing.
That same year, we had several scuffles at points where the register line had forked into two lines. From then on, we marked off a huge register path and had several employees just manage the line."
"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 in the display, the battle was ON.
It turned in to a geriatric version of roller derby without the skates. The one grandma who lost the race called the other one a 'freaking hag' 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 back story behind it, as his grandma, sipping her tea, looks on with a triumphant gleam in her eye."
"I worked one Black Friday in the clothes department at Walmart. For like two straight hours before the sale began, people hovered over the pallets. The alarm went off and the swarm just went insane.
There were two women in particular on opposite sides, tossing clothes back and forth to each other. I don't know what their system was because half the stuff they were just catching and tossing aside. Then, this little teenager (I mean like petite tiny girl) intercepted a pair of jeans being tossed and the women went absolutely INSANE and elbowed her in the face. There was instant blood and the little girl was so shocked she just stood there shaking and crying. The woman acted like that was a perfectly reasonable thing to do.
I pulled her out of the crowd and started to walk her to get her cleaned up when the sheriff appeared out of nowhere. The best part was she and the woman was arrested on the spot. She had to post bail AND pay full price for her crummy Levi's."
"An 80-year-old grandma tackled and then bear-maced a woman over fleece fabric at my store.
The old lady wanted a cancer pink-ribbon fabric, and the woman she ultimately tackled had called ahead and ordered a bulk amount of it because she works for a cancer organization and makes blankets for cancer patients.
The woman was wheeling a cart in the store with several large bolts of the fabric in it (which she had special ordered, and we put it in the cart for her so she could continue shopping). Old lady sees that this woman has 'ALL the bolts' and feels that it isn't right that she's hogging the entire stock of that particular print. The woman explains the situation and that she in fact special ordered these, and that the reason she was coming in on Black Friday to purchase them is because they were a major Black Friday promotion at 60% off.
The old lady continues to yell at the poor woman. The woman very calmly keeps trying to reassure her that she is not taking any of the store stock, and that she makes blankets for dying women with cancer. She is a very sweet store regular who pays out-of-pocket for all the blankets, so my store held the fabric for her until Black Friday when she would come in and purchase them with her coupon.
Old lady doesn't care one bit and whips out mace and tackles the woman.
Old lady gets kicked out of the store. She would come in once every couple of months, give me the stink eye, and then rebelliously write down recipes from the home and food magazines so she wouldn't have to buy them. Then, she'd scurry out and come back in a few months."
"My first day working in retail was Black Friday. My store was running a promotion where you buy one novelty tee shirt and get another half off. Novelty meaning characters, phrases, things of that sort, NOT tee shirts with band names.
A woman comes up to me asking me to help her pick an even number of band tees for the sale. I kindly told her it was novelty tees only, and explained what that meant. She insisted I was wrong and I told her she could check at the register if she didn't believe me.
Instead, the woman gathers a bunch of band tees and tells my manager at the register I told her it was rock tees, not novelty, despite the signs all over the store saying novelty. She wanted the sale honored because the 'idiot new employee messed up.' My manager knew I didn't say that and refused. The woman threw all of her stuff around, screamed and stormed out. Whatever. Forget her, right?
When I took my lunch break, she hunted me down in the food court threatening to punch me in the face for telling my manager I wasn't responsible for the mix up and 'ruining her sale' aka foiling her plan to get one over on my store. She chased me all the way back to my store screaming with her fists up. I hid in the back for the rest of my shift. I never even got to eat lunch."
"Years ago, I worked for Best Buy. I was hired as a seasonal employee while in college, and actually enjoyed working there most of the time. Unfortunately, Black Friday ended my enjoyment for the big box retailer. The year that the PS2 came out, I was in charge of issuing the systems to customers with vouchers (the ones who stayed all night camping out). The customers would approach me and I kept two systems in my arms at a time and would go from the stock room to the floor in order to give out each system.
On one trip out of the stockroom, a gentleman (early 40s) approached me and proceeded to (try to) yank a system out of my hands and run with it. As an aside, I'm no small fellow. As the [im]mature gentleman attempted the grab and go, I simply tightened my grip and calmly said, 'your ticket first, sir.' He rebutted with,'I don't have a ticket, and I don't need one; I 'seen' this thing first, so it's mine.'
After a brief explanation of the voucher system, the man and his wife only seemed more angered that I refused to surrender the PS2.
To really convince me to give him the system, the gentleman then proceeded to say, 'Okay, well I guess I'll have to whip you for it.'
Perhaps of my own naïveté, or the adrenaline, I responded, 'Sounds great, let me clock out first, and I'll meet you outside shortly.'
A little taken back by my response, the gentleman started to profusely apologize and even teared up giving me some sob story over why he deserved it. Of course, I didn't surrender the system.
Needless to say, this was one of the reasons I did not hang around Best Buy for much longer. Sheer stupidity. A grown man trying to fight a 19-year-old who made $8.00/hr for a video game system. Brilliant."
"I worked for six years at a Johnny Rocket's in a mall as a server and management. We didn't open early like the rest of the stores because we are a restaurant and well, we don't serve breakfast.
We had people shake our gates screaming that they wanted food. It was just me and an opener getting the chairs set out.
I pointed them towards the food court and told them we didn't serve breakfast. A lady spit at me and told me, 'I know you have bacon.'
We do. In a fridge waiting to be cooked and put on a burger."
"Former GameStop manager. The worst one I ever worked was 2006. Everyone wanted a darned Wii. When I got to the store at 4:00 AM to prep for the 5:00 AM opening, there were people wrapped around the shopping center in a line for the thing, even though I had a sign on the door explicitly stating that we could only guarantee them for the first 6 people. When I made the announcement to the folks in line, I thought I was about to get my butt kicked by more than a couple ticked off grandmas and soccer moms who had been waiting since midnight.
After opening, our systems were unbearably slow when processing credit cards, but they still worked. The rest of the day was busy, but not too terrible other than the angry people who couldn't find a Wii.
Fast-forward three days later: a lady walks in to the store with a bank statement and starts laying in to me about her card being charged $200 four times (Processing, not drafted yet by the way). She insists that she won't walk out until I give her $600 cash from the register. It ended with her and I on speaker phone with my district manager who politely told her to bug off and call her bank. Cops were very nearly called during the ensuing screaming. This is with a store packed with customers. Fun stuff.
As it turned out, our credit card processor had been overwhelmed that day, and this turned out to be a wide issue. It was the explanation for the system slowdown on Black Friday. The charges dropped off after a couple days.
As others have mentioned, she had every reason to be mad. I would be too. This woman made it very personal, to the point where she was taking liberties with my background and parentage. Be mad, but you can be angry without being a raging moron."
"I was working in a Best Buy at a large Midwestern mall a few years ago. There was a sale on 32" flat panel TV's for $199, which was extremely cheap at the time. The store was mobbed and the checkout lines were insanely long. Not only that, but the server for the credit card verification was having trouble and it was taking a long time to run cards. I estimate it was taking more than an hour and a half to check out. A very obese woman, wearing nothing but a t-shirt, red tights, and heels, was waiting in line with one of the TV sets in her cart. She was by herself. The people standing near her began to curse and back off. Some even left the line.
It turns out she had to take a huge dump, but refused to leave the line, so she let it go in her red tights. The smell was beyond imagination. It could make you gag and vomit in your mouth. You could see the feces lumped around her butt in the tights (no underwear) and liquid dripped out onto the floor. She refused to leave the line. Finally, the manager took her to the front (making him sick and turn green), let her pay, and she left the store. The stench lingered for days."
"Where I work, we're open at 9:00 PM Thanksgiving Day and don't close until 11:00 PM Black Friday. I was a line queuer, which means I direct people to the end of the line and let people go to the register when it is empty (we only have 1 register in electronics).
A woman stood behind the person at the register and my line was already 200 people long so I went up to her and said, 'if you're ready to check out our electronics line actually starts back here.'
Her reply, 'So? I want to check out now.'
'I understand ma'am, everyone else here wants to check out as well, but the people you would be cutting in front of have been waiting for an hour plus.'
'Open more registers then!'
'All of our registers are open, including our pharmacy. There are over 1,500 people in the store right now and we are moving as fast as we can.'
It continued for a good five minutes until she rammed her cart into my stomach and stormed out. People are so stupid."
"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. Basically, as I readied box cutter, I got shoved by a customer and I 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."
"I worked in a hospital gift shop and a man came in to buy some things for his newborn daughter around Thanksgiving. His credit card got declined so he went to the ATM, which charged a $3 fee. For some reason, I had called my manager and had her on the phone when he came back. He asked if we could take $3 off his total (I knew my manager would say no, but I asked to make it look good).
When I told him my manager said no, his reply was 'You just lost a sale. My daughter was just born and you ruined it.'"
"I ran an electronics department in a large retail store and was a veteran to Black Friday. My team always had everything under control. We had tickets for everything that would sell out quickly, we knew exact numbers and where everything was, and had signs for lineups for hourly deals. We were always prepared and never had an issue.
One year, the district manager decided to 'observe' our store during Black Friday. She stopped by my department in the thick of it to see how things were going on my end. It was insanely busy of course, but we had everything managed. She was carrying a piece of paper which she told me had some unadvertised markdowns for old inventory. This was news to me. She glanced at it, grabbed my phone, and made a store-wide announcement that we had JVC Digital Camcorders marked down to $49, regular price $199.
As she was making the announcement, I stood there with my jaw open. A sense of fear came over me. I knew the model that was just marked down, and we did have it in inventory. The problem was, we only had 4. The store was packed and a fast-moving zombie horde of shoppers immediately swamped my department from all sides. It was some Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead stuff. As the horde swept over my department, I saw my district manager hightail it out of there.
I have never been in more fear for my life. We were instantly swamped. It was an idiotic move on her part."
"I think it was around Black Friday 2004 and I was a cart pusher at a Walmart. This particular year, Walmart offered a plasma TV at an extremely low price and was the hottest deal of the year. A man showed up the Tuesday before the big sale with a tent, ice coolers, generator, TV and everything he needed to brave the three nights he would be staying over. He continuously talked about being first in line and how he was going to get the plasma TV and how he was hosting the next Super Bowl party so this was just going to be the best thing ever.
Come around Thursday night, I showed up to my shift and he was still there in a jolly mood thankful he was about to be able to go home and sleep in his own bed. The news came and he did a short interview and explained what he was waiting for, how he was able to get the time off (he was a truck driver) and was overall excited over the whole ordeal and prided himself for toughing out the cold. The line for the entrance wrapped around the whole front of the door and about another 300 yards or so past the store with thousands of people waiting to get in.
At 5:00am, the doors opened and the man goes straight to the plasma TVs to see that they were all gone. What happened? The garden center at the Walmart opened up about 10 seconds before the front doors and those that came the night before scooped up on all 15 plasma TVs. This guy who had been there since Tuesday afternoon was dumbfounded and argued with management, but was stonewalled and told there was nothing that can be done. That guys Thanksgiving was a bust for sure."