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Black Friday: From the Other Side of the Register

Black Friday is all about shopping, and getting discounts either for yourself or early holiday gifts for others. Most people are used to getting up at the crack of dawn to get ready to go to their favorite stores and buy a lot. I bet you don’t realize that some people don’t get to do that, because they are actually the employees working at the stores.  


I’ve never shopped on Black Friday because of how hectic I assume it will be and how I’d rather go shopping on a normal day than fighting over clothes and waiting on long lines.  Then, I decided to work on Black Friday at a huge mall at Urban Outfitters. This was quite the experience.


It was crowded, obviously.  But, you don’t realize how crazy it is for the employees.  Customers treat you like you are a customer, not letting you get by them and dropping clothes on the floor right in front of you! Customers on Black Friday have no shame, and they will flip out if you get in their way.  


I saw so many piles of jeans get thrown to the floor, while people were fighting over the last size 25.  I watched customers yelling “get out of my way” hundreds of times. Half of those times were at me. I watched clothes fall off the hangers too many times, and when I would hang them back up, they would fall back over in a second.  


It was impossible to maintain the store and this nine hour shift felt like a whole lifetime.  The fitting room always had a line, the register always had a line. Glasses broke, clothing was stained with coffee, and I was stressed out of my mind.  


I even felt for some of the customers.  The nice ones. They would ask me for help instead of helping themselves.  Those few pleasant customers actually helped me through the shift, and just a thank you was very rewarding.  Instead of trying to grab an item off the top of the shelf, they asked me to grab it for them. It makes it easier for all of us.  


Stealing was a big issue too, but there’s only so much you can really do to prevent it.  With hundreds of people walking in and out of the store, you can’t be watching every single person.  Plus, I didn’t get paid time and a half so don’t even go there with me about that.  


In the end, I survived.  The first few hours were tough, but it got better and died down as the night went on.  My feet hurt, I had a headache, but getting through the day with my other coworkers helped.  Complaining about the customers to each other and laughing about it helped. Also, seeing the store clean…finally…at the end of the day felt great.  Plus, buying clothes at the end of my shift felt AWESOME!

Grace Catlett is a senior at Penn State University where she is pursuing a Public Relations major with a minor in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Management. Since her freshman year, she has been very involved with her sorority, Delta Gamma. She was the director of social events for Delta Gamma and loves event planning! While she loves social media and public relations, her dream job is to become a wedding planner. She also loves fashion and is a TV show enthusiast.
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