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The Reality of Working Black Friday as a Retail Employee is Scary, Here’s the Truth

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From mad dashes to sale racks, verbal attacks from customers and merchandise snatchers, Black Friday is around the corner. Every year, retail employees go through hectic overnight shifts and long sale weekends and experience the rush of holiday shoppers. Whether customers are restless from the long lines or impatient about the limited inventory of sale items, the retail workers often receive backlash about matters that they have no control over. The reality of working during Black Friday is that without the proper preparation, retail workers are being sent to a battlefield defenseless.  


@threadsobsessed via Instagram

Black Friday can sometimes bring out the worst in people, specifically managerial staff. It is true that there are deadlines that must be met in order to be ready to meet the demands of the public. However, unrealistic preparation expectations are unsafe. Refinery29 conducted a series of interviews about Black Friday horror stories, and an employee reported opening and stocking 300-400 boxes of inventory in one shift individually. In addition to this alarming story, another employee shared stories of working multiple overnight shifts. A staff member even reached 16 hours! Not only are you performing strenuous activities, but you are being drained mentally in the process by harsh supervisors, then rewarded by customers telling you how dissatisfied they are with your service.

people standing and walking around at a mall
Anna Dziubinska on Unsplash

Every year, there are reports of occurrences in various retail locations that involve fights, frenzied arguments and even stalking. The horror story begins when the retail workers open the doors to the stampede of people who rush into stores with no remorse. Imagine being followed into the back of the store where inventory is held by a customer because they don’t believe that a sale item is out of stock. Imagine watching grandmothers fighting over the last sweater, that you, the retail worker, just brought from the stockroom and are still holding. Can you even envision arguing over items that are labeled as “Black Friday deals” that are always offered at the same discounted rate every other day of the year? Visualize the aftermath, the remnants of the chaos and the scattered merchandise that must be cleaned up before the next time the doors open. That is the life of a Black Friday retail worker, and yes, it is scary. 


Alori Council

Hofstra '22

I am a Hofstra University student working to earn a dual degree in Community Health and a Master's in Health Administration. I love volunteering and being the change that I wish to see in the world. I am a proud member of HerCampus Hofstra and I wholeheartedly stand by the quote "HerCampus, Our Canvas".
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