As the Holiday season gets closer, we all get into the spirit by decorating and baking, and yes, preparing for Black Friday. While a lot of us might go online for our seasonal shopping now, there were days that we didn't have those outlets to turn to.
Once upon a time, if we wanted the best deal or coveted gift for a loved one, we had to get up at the crack of dawn, and stand in line for hours, to only get trampled on by other people trying to do the same thing. Here are some of the wildest stories that will make anyone want to stay home this Black Friday. All content has been edited for clarity.
Tantrum At Toys R Us
“I worked as a supervisor at Toys R Us for several years. On Black Friday, we opened at midnight, and you basically hug the wall and hope you don’t get crushed, so you are stuck in the same spot for hours.
This (grown) woman was about 500th in the first wave. She told me the lines were too long. I told her that’s what happens on Black Friday. She said we should make them shorter. It hurt my brain, but I explained that every register was open. She said she wanted to go the front. I told her that everyone does, and that’s why we have a line. She asked to see my manager. I told her that isn’t possible, because there were over 2000 people in the store. She threw a tantrum and sat on the floor in the middle of the line. Whenever the line moved, she would push her cart and crawl after it, then resume sitting on the floor with her arms crossed.
That said, everyone who has worked retail on Black Friday has seen the worst humanity has to offer.”
She Was Relentless
“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.”
Elmo Brought Out The Beast In People
“I was in a Kmart back in 2010 for Black Friday in Staten Island when this old lady (70+) started screaming and berating me for having two Elmo dolls in my cart. I mean, she went off on me and even tried to take one out of my cart!
I didn’t even want the stupid dolls– they were for my husband’s best friend who was buying them for his kids. We decided to divide and conquer, so while he was in Best Buy getting us stuff, we braved Kmart for his things. Holy cow. A deal just brings out the beast in people.
I could have given her one and just told our friend that’s all was left, but forget that old witch.”
“Never Saw Anything More Bizarre Than That”
“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 (HTIB), that retailed normally for 200 bucks, but it was on sale for 150. We had literally 500 in stock. They were freaking everywhere, in every aisle of home theater, in 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. Well, as happens on Black Friday, we got busy and the pile dwindled so there was only one on the pallets. Never mind that anyone with eyes can see we have hundreds more around, only one on the pallet must be the last one in the store.
Well, this lady grabs it, and puts it in her cart…some guy was clearly moving for it, but was beat. Lady is oblivious. So she turns down a movie aisle and proceeds to look through one of the bins filled with random $2.99 DVDs. The dude sneaks up behind her and lifts the HTIB off her cart and starts to walk off. He gets about 10 feet before this very large older man (early 50s I’d guess) says, ‘No you don’t, boot licker’ and delivers him a square punch, more of a jab really, in the jaw.
The would-be thief falls into one of the DVD shelves and drops the Pioneer. The older guy then picks it up, puts it back on the ladies cart (she’s still oblivious) and walks away. The thief, who was clearly shocked and confused more than injured stands up and sees me and my coworker staring at him bewildered, each holding more of the Pioneer units he was trying to steal in our arms as we were just restocking the pallet. The guy stands up, walks over, grabs one, and walks away without saying a word.
I worked four Black Fridays in all and never saw anything more bizarre and outrageous than that.”
She Had To Have It
“Toys ‘R’ Us:
When Bop-Its first came out, I saw an older woman in her 60s and a somewhat younger woman in her 40s reach for the last one at the same time. They then proceeded to get into a tug of war, which ended up in the older woman digging her claws into the other woman’s forearms so deeply that she actually drew quite a bit of blood. She then disappeared into the crowd with the Bop-It leaving the rest of us (including the woman she had assaulted) just standing there stunned.
We later tried to find her amidst the crowd so the officer assigned to our store could deal with the issue, but were never able to. Hope her grand kids knew how serious Grandma was about getting that Bop-It!”
She Didn’t Just “Talk To The Manager”
“In my store, We had a line setup, going from when you enter the store you enter the line (which is near the entrance), and then this line will spand all over the store, so you will be able to pick up any item without leaving the line.
A woman stormed into the shop with an empty shopping cart and her 2 small children. She pushed through the line with the huge cart, elbowing everyone to the side so her and her children could get past. She went to the electronics section and picked up about 50 DVDs. Then pushed to the last register (which was quite hard to reach, since you had to push through 8 different lines), and then just stood there and waited. She waited until someone was not paying attention enough, and then quickly just took the spot and put her stuff on the register.
We had a 16-year-old boy in said register, and he had to tell her that this was…not the way things worked. She demanded to talk to a manager. So one of our managers came over and explained to her what she did wrong. She explained that she thought the line was too long, so she took the spot because the guy behind her was not paying attention enough and she didn’t want to wait in the line.
Our manager told her to either get back in the line or out of the store, and then she slapped him. Yes, she open-handed slapped him. I got a little angry even hearing this, but he retaliated and slapped her back. She screamed and called for security. The security laughed at her, after the members of the line backed our manager up. She and her kids were taken out the store. I should also mention, it took quite some physical force to actually get this woman out of the store.
She tried coming back in and doing the same thing at another register…twice.”
That’s Just Low
“Several years ago, I worked at a Best Buy while in college. It was Black Friday and one of our door crasher deals was a poor quality DVD player that was going for dirt cheap (note: DVD players were still fairly expensive at the time). A man in a wheelchair gets one and is trying to navigate to the massive check out line. Some a-hole comes up to him, grabs the DVD player off his lap and does a bit of a football side shuffle type of thing (like he’s shuffling his feet trying to determine his best course of escape) and just bolts it for the check out line and cuts in somewhere in hopes of blending in.
I saw the whole thing go down and was just shocked. I quickly go to ‘the back’ and find one of the DVD players that a buddy of mine had stashed to buy at the end of his shift (told him the story, he was more than happy to give the DVD player to this dude). I give it to the guy and he’s very thankful. I also make sure he gets to the front of the line to check out.”
“The Stench Lingered For Days”
“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.”
They Made Out With A Lot
“Some years ago, I worked a second job at a local Radio Shack during the holiday season. Black Friday was an all-hands-on-deck sort of day where everyone had to work. The deal at the time was on these tiny remote controlled thingies.
If you’ve been in a Radio Shack, then you can picture the inside of this one. Tiny, boutique kind of place with gadgets all over the walls mashed in a stripmall between a Babies R Us and a nail salon.
On this particular Black Friday, the crowds packed this tiny store until one couldn’t even move. The mobile phones were all locked in a cage in the back and retrieving them for a sale became a huge chore because you just couldn’t get through.
The store was packed solid with people.
After a few hours of that madness, the crowds finally left leaving the store like it usually was, empty and sad. It was then that we noticed that somebody stole the crummy demo computer tower that was on one of the end caps, directly in front of the register. The crowds were so thick, they took a lot of stuff on the bottom two rows of shelves, helping themselves without anyone speaking up or any of us noticing.”
Black Friday Victory
“I worked in a smaller retail store that only had four registers. Black Friday comes and lines for the registers are to the back of the store. Woman in line complains that the lines are too long and we need to do something. I tell her that all registers are open. She calls me a liar and gets out of line to prove I’m wrong. She walks to the front, sees all registers open, then wants to get back in line. I inform her that she left the line and would have to go to the back.
My own little Black Friday victory.”
Manager Had Their Back
“I was working a 12-hour shift on Black Friday, from midnight to noon at Toy R Us. Unfortunately, sometime around 9:00 am I was stuck in the customer service desk while another employee took their lunch. At the point, the customer service desk was just another register for the 1,200 customers we still had pouring in since 7:00 pm the previous day. A little boy cut to the front of the line to ask if we had a particular toy. I noticed that behind him was a strange woman crouched slightly behind a pillar, watching the little boy. When I told him that we had sold out of that particular toy already (right after the store opened), he asked if I could check at our other store. I told him that that store had most likely sold out of it as well (it was a pop-up store, so they had about 1/2 the inventory we had).
At that point, the woman ‘hiding’ spoke up, ‘Well can’t you call them and check?’ I told her, ‘Ma’am, I do not have time to call the other store, but I can give you their number.’ I’d been yelled at by my manager for even answering our store phone while simultaneously checking people out, but I was trying to be nice just the same. She then came out of her hiding spot and demanded to see my manager. I told her that I didn’t have time to summon my manager and that I had to check out paying customers (she had no merchandise, she was just lurking, trying to see if her son would get a better response than she would).
So, she left (or so I thought).
She came back a few minutes later with the manager. For some background, my manager was a stickler for customer service and making every customer happy, so I was expecting a royal chew out from him. But for the first and last time in 3 years, he took my side and he told the woman, ‘My employees don’t have time for that.’
To which she responded, ‘This is the worst customer service I have ever seen! I’m never shopping here ever again.’
To which he responded, ‘I would appreciate that very much.’ And she left with her son.”
He Had To Beg People To Stop
“I had just finished a graveyard shift at Walmart. I was there for two of the three big sales they’d been advertising.
The only truly ridiculous thing I witnessed was the kids’ pajamas sale. It took about seven employees to keep customers in line. We formed a barricade of clothing racks around the pallets with an entrance and exit with a clearly marked place to line up. Basically, nobody wanted to wait in line. My job for about two hours was begging people to stop crawling under the racks to get to the batman pajamas.
Eight hours later and there were still plenty of pajamas left, no reason to get upset.
A few complaints about the lines (duh), but many more ‘Thank you for working today’ comments.”
She Said She Wouldn’t Be Back, And That’s Fine
“Years ago, I was working at GameStop and we opened at midnight on Black Friday. This was around 2008 or 2009.
Anyway, we had this deal going for PS3s where you could get a 160 GB PS3 with two games bundled with it for a good price. We had 45 in my store and we sold out in about 20 minutes.
Well, I sell the last one and this old woman walks up to me. I’d ballpark her at mid to late 60s. She asks me for one of those PS3 bundles. I tell her we are out and she asks me to clarify. I explain that we no longer have those in stock.
At this point, she starts to get mad. She starts saying that she’s been in line in the cold for over an hour for this and it is all her grandson wants. I try to sympathize with her and explain this is how Black Friday works and the ad for the sale states ‘while supplies last.’ I explain that the man in front of her received the last one in our store.
Becoming more frustrated, she demands to see my manager. I call him over and the two proceed to have a rehash of the same discussion I just had with her. Only now, she’s becoming more ingrained in victimizing herself, claiming that we are holding out on her and that we have more, but are just keeping them for ourselves.
My boss tries to reason with her, but she just won’t have any of it. It got so bad that she called me over and said I had ruined her Christmas and preceded to spit on my face.
After, my boss demanded that she leave our store, but by that point, she was saying that she was never going to come back here.
Personally, I am fine with that arrangement.”
He Lucked Out
“Six or seven years ago, I was shopping a Black Friday sale at Kmart. I wasn’t looking for the big deals, but they had a bunch of deals on little appliances that made it worth it to me to wait in line for an hour to get in the store.
The big deal of the year was a 26″ Hyundai TV for $189 (usually $499). Somehow or another, I ended up 20th or so in line. It hits 6:00 am, the doors open, and everybody starts pushing through the line. Now, I should mention that this store wasn’t in a very good neighborhood, but it was the closest one to one of the big urban areas in Miami.
Well, I get inside the store and start heading over to the kitchen stuff. To get there, you have to pass by electronics. Two big guys are playing tug of war with the last one of these TVs. It turns into a big fistfight, like 6 people jump in on this fight.
I notice that the TV’s fallen to the side, being ignored as these idiots beat the heck out of each other. Everybody’s too busy watching the fight, so I amble over, grab the TV, toss it in my cart, and it currently resides in my daughter’s bedroom. I still chuckle about those morons.”
Don’t Mess With A Woman With Child
“This was three years ago at my local Walmart: I walked into the store approximately 15 minutes after they opened for Black Friday. There was a pregnant woman who looked to be in her 30s who was loading a television into her cart. An older man, who seemed to be in his 40s, walked up to her and started helping said pregnant woman. As he lifted the television, he started trying to run off with the television. This wasn’t one of those little computer monitors, but a freaking 50 inch LCD TELEVISION. This woman was like, ‘NOPE,’ and runs up to him. Keep in mind, this is a 30-something year old in a late stage of pregnancy, and she CLOCKS him. She knocked this moron off of his feet, took the television back, and gets security called on her. After waking him up and figuring out what happened, they let her go.”
Made Them Write A “Contract”
“I worked at an AE store and we ran out of FREE gift boxes. This woman screamed at me and demanded that I order more. She had me write down her number and demanded that the moment the boxes arrive to call and inform her of the arrival of said boxes. She stood over my shoulder as I wrote down all of her information and signed the piece of paper guaranteeing her at least 7 boxes.
After she left, I threw the ‘contract’ away.”
Those Parents Should Have Been Ashamed
“One Black Friday at about 3:00 am, I saw two little boys (about 7 years old) fighting over a 32 GB Wii U while their parents cheered them on. I don’t know if there was a previous arrangement for the fight to determine who would receive the Wii U or what, but a middle-aged man broke the fight up and then took the Wii.
The parents of the fighting children were outraged, but didn’t say a word because the guy who broke up the fight was 6’4″ and extremely intimidating. When he got to my line with the Wii, he just shook his head.
We would have broken up the fight, but our store was so packed with people that we couldn’t even move. Heroic/possible troll man broke up the fight before security even got there.”
They Didn’t Have Specials
“I used to work at a local pizza and brew place that’s pretty well known around my city. A lady comes in for lunch, exhausted from having been at the stores and completely incapable of going more than five seconds without telling anyone within earshot how dedicated to shopping she was and how much money she was saving. She proceeds to ask me what our Black Friday specials were. Well, we are a pizza shop. We did have a lunch special every day, so I told her what it was.
This was apparently too much for her to handle. She proceeds to lose her freaking mind, shrieking at me about how she has been up since before dawn and that everyone else in America has a Black Friday special, so why don’t we? I don’t think the South Park episode had aired yet, but she ended her rant with ‘I thought I was in America! I am still in America, right?’
That was the second customer I ever told to bug off while working at that establishment. That was also the thousandth time I realized that while working in restaurants can be awful, at least I wasn’t working retail.”