The Friday after Thanksgiving is either anticipated or completely dreaded. The infamous Black Friday is the day that marks the unofficial beginning of the holiday season, with a wide variety of stores opening their doors early and offering many sales and deals that many people don’t want to miss.
While the deals are exciting for customers, the employees behind the counter face a whirlwind of people, challenges and even fear.
Not only do they have to go to work extremely early and handle aggressive holiday shoppers, they have to cut their Thanksgiving short to get to work to start their Black Friday shifts.
“I started at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and worked until 12 p.m. the next day,” says Theresa Leo, who has worked on Black Friday at a popular retail store. “It was a really long and busy 14 hour shift because everyone on staff was working … The customers were getting agitated because the store was disorganized due to all the chaos. I hope to never work on Black Friday again.”
However, not everyone has had bad experiences working on Black Friday.
“I’ve never really had a bad Black Friday experience. Since I’m a cashier I just had to stand still for eight hours at a time,” says Emily Kaczmarczyk, who is a cashier at another retail store. “You get customers that are super cranky by the time they get to your register, so that can be annoying, but that’s really about it.”
Despite her long hours, Kaczmarczyk said her experience overall was a positive one. “Last year I started at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and worked until 2 a.m. then I went home and slept, then came back to the store and worked 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Customers are usually nice. They complain about it being busy, but what else would you expect on Black Friday?”
Whether the experiences workers have on Black Friday are positive or negative, they are still subject to the hectic atmosphere of working the cash register, helping a variety of customers, working an excessive amount of hours and more. Black Friday shoppers should keep these stories in mind so they know how the people on the other side of the counter feel when working on the busiest day of the year.
Alison Hamilton is a senior professional writing major who loves to hike, read, and watch cult movies. She loves to travel around the U.S. and her favorite destinations are to the arches in Utah and in the mountains in Colorado.