Black Friday, the age old american tradition of waiting on a 4 hour line, then stampeding into a Best Buy only to fight someone’s grandma over which one of you gets to purchase a 2 year-old, off brand plasma TV at a 10% discount. Black Friday has the unique ability, unlike any other day of the year, to turn regular human beings in to enraged, penny-saving, child-trampling savages.
As you can imagine, being a retail worker at a big box store during this day of insanity is no picnic. In fact, since 2008 there have been over 2,700 reports of retail workers being injured by customers on Black Friday alone.
However injuries aren’t the only result of all this consumer chaos. Often times the events that take place within the masses of pushy customers have resulted in some hilarious, scary and down-right unbelievable tales. So with that in mind we asked our readers and scoured the internet for the most wild Black Friday horror stories we can find and luckily for you, we’ve compiled our findings here for your enjoyment.
Without further delay, here are the craziest Black Friday stories revealed by retail employees from around the country.
1. Is that a lobster in your pants? Or are you just happy to see me?
When I worked at Sam’s Club, during the madness one black Friday morning, we caught a woman stuffing frozen lobster tails inside of her pants. She would unpackage them and throw the trash in a stack of tires that were on display.
Whenever I tell this story to my friends they always ask me, “what did you say to her?!” My response is always the same… absolutely nothing! There is NO WAY I was approaching that lady! Someone willing to go that far to get some free lobster is clearly not someone you want to mess with. I avoided eye contact with the lobster lady and let her walk right out the front door.
With that visual burned into my memory, I haven’t been able to eat lobster since that day.
2. C is for cookie…it’s good enough for me.
I haven’t told this story in a while, so here goes… So I worked for Mrs. Fields Cookies in my local mall during Black Friday back when I was in high school. Our manager got called to a store in a different city because their manager severely hurt himself melting chocolate.
I end up having to work for the majority of the day with an equally lazy buddy of mine slinging cookies and taking orders for cookie cakes while the mall was jam packed.
Around 4 in the afternoon (and about $1,600 in sales) a gentlemen in a button down Mrs. Fields Cookies Shirt comes to our counter telling us he had to do a mid day pickup for whatever money we had taken in in the day. I let him in the back. He tinkers for a second on the computer and removes all the cash we have in the register.
So now it’s an hour before closing time and my boss is now back to our location to help us close. He starts going through our cash register and realizes we are about $1,600 short (uh oh…). I explained to him that Mr. So-and-so came down to our location to do a mid day pickup. He told me Mr. So-and-so doesn’t exist and calls the corporate office.
It turned out this guy had gone to over a dozen Mrs. Fields in the area and robbed over $10k worth of money. They never figured out who it was and I ended up being fired over it with my buddy. We stole a giant cookie cake as compensation. Worth it.
3. The Bonnie & Clyde of Blockbuster
I was working in a video store and we marked down absolutely everything (including our selection of hundreds of used movies) to insane degrees. I mean 50% or more in most cases. So used movies were practically giveaways.
Among the usual mob of crazy shoppers, there was a sketchy looking couple who walked in with a box of giant professional grade trash bags. They proceeded to fill up four of these trash bags. At one point, they were just going through the used bins and throwing things in there.
Naturally then when they got to the register, they had quite a few doubles. Every time they would hit a double, they’d remove it. Because of the sheer volume of movies, they had a tough time keeping up with everything and were taking forever to check out.
Luckily my manager came up and, acknowledging the increasingly angry lines of people behind them, told the couple they can either buy everything they have in the bags regardless of whether it was a double or leave. After some arguments the husband eventually grabbed the bags and turned them upside down, spilling the DVD’s all over the floor right in front of the register. Without saying another word, they stormed out of the store.
The best part? Customers started to go after the movies on the floor like vultures before we could get to them.
4. The most painful sneeze of her life
A couple years ago when the sale started there was a surge of people trying to get their stuff. One lady got knocked down and her pen went straight up her nose.
The messed up part is no one tried to help they just walked over her to get their silly deal items. An associate that saw it happen had to stand over top of her to protect her from getting trampled. When the ambulance crew arrived they had to literally shove people out of the way because no one would move.
This poor lady was probably sneezing ink for the rest of the week.
5. This security guard could have used some backup
I’ve worked in retail for years. But I work in the stock room, so I don’t get out onto the floor to see the madness on Black Friday. I was given the day off this past year, so I thought it would be fun to go shopping and see if Black Friday was as crazy as most people say it is. Boy was that a bad idea…
It was absolute chaos from the moment I tried pulling into the parking lot at the mall. The yelling, screaming, and “adult language” were on a whole new level. Then there was the non stop sound of car horns, which was absolutely deafening. But that wasn’t even the worst part…
My wife and I join a line outside of an electronics store because we heard they were having a great sale on flat-screen TV’s and surround sound systems. The store hadn’t opened yet, but the line was already at least 200 people long and you could tell most of them had been waiting for at least a few hours.
Right as the store was set to open, some nut-job tackles a security guard to the ground and starts yelling at him. Turns out that this crazy shopper thought the security guard was a customer trying to cut the line. He was just walking in the door to start his shift. So yeah, my town has those kind of people in it.
6. People will do just about anything for a flat-screen TV
Never worked retail, but I deliver to a lot of retail stores (I’m a trucker). Showed up with a delivery at a Wally-World about 8am on Black Friday, and couldn’t even back into the dock. I think my truck was giving off an aroma that attracted crazed housewives with shopping addictions.
Turns out the store had some ridiculous price on flat screen TV’s, but they had sold out the day before. The store manager had told these crazy shoppers that there were more TVs coming in on the next truck that morning. So, naturally, they saw me and thought they’d be allowed to just grab them off the truck. Man were they disappointed when they saw I had a trailer full of brand new shopping carts.
7. I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid
I worked at Toys-R-Us when the original Furby came out (that alone should tell you how crazy the scene was on that Black Friday). Right before my shift started, I tried to enter the store through the back doors, but I was mobbed by a group of shoppers pushing and shoving trying to get past me and grab a Furby.
Thankfully, there was a security guard in the back and he was able to scare off the group of crazy zombie shoppers. But that was just the beginning. About 10 minutes later, when the doors finally opened, one parent pushed my coworker to the ground and jumped on top of a pile of people to get one from the display.
She ended up tripping some poor guy who fell to the ground, she then grabbed a Furby, stuffed it down her shirt and casually walked out without paying for it. At that point, nobody was going to say anything to her.
8. Thou shalt not steal
Back in my poor college days when I worked at Wal-Mart we had a scuffle break out over a bike. Eventually one guy got ahold of the bike and managed to get away from the crowd. He rode the bike out of the store to flee his pursuers (without paying).
This guy must not have been the brightest crayon in the box, because he shows up at the store the very next day with his kids! He claims he wasn’t the guy who stole the bike, even after we showed him surveillance video of him stealing the bike and riding out of the store.
From the look on his oldest kid’s face, you could tell it wasn’t the first time his father had done something outrageous like this.
9. The early bird doesn’t always get the worm
This story goes back to 2004 when I was a cart pusher at a Walmart. In this particular year, Walmart offered a plasma TV at an extremely low price — it was definitely the hottest deal of the year.
So a man shows up the Tuesday before the big sale with a tent, ice coolers, generator, TV and everything else he needed to camp out for the three nights until Black Friday. He continuously talked about being first in line and how he was going to get the plasma TV and how he was hosting a big Super Bowl party that year, so this was just going to be the best thing ever.
Come Thursday night, I showed up to my shift and he was still there in a jolly mood. The line for the front entrance wrapped around the front of the store and 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 5 minutes 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.
10. Clean-up aisle 9
I worked for Best Buy for 16 years. Everyone knows about the crazy long lines you have to wait on outside, before you can even enter the store. Part of the process is once you get into the store you stand in another line to buy your products (sounds fun, right?).
Our manger thought he was particularly smart winding the line through our appliance department. Mind you there is usually 1500+ people in the building at 6 am (with a line still outside). Well we get a complaint from one of our patrons that there was a funky smell coming from the appliance department.
After checking the dryers we find a nice smelly surprise in one of the dryers. Good size, solid constancy, just sitting there. A lady who did not want to lose her spot opened the dryer, and handled her business right there in front of everyone. I decided that day even though I may want stuff; I will never go #2 in front of an entire crowd of people no matter how good the deal is on a plasma TV.
BONUS: Tis the season… (a heartwarming story with a good ending)
Editor’s Note: At this point, we figured you might want to read a positive story with a happy ending. Well here’s a good one for ya!
In 2008, I was able to get off on Black Friday and my son and I stood all night outside Best Buy so he could get a deal on a gaming console. They are really organized and they passed out papers to people for the doorbusters.
They let those in the front of the line pick first. We were 12 back or so. They had laptops for $299, $499, $699, etc., as well as other great prices. So they get 5-6 people past us and a lady asks for the $299 dollar laptop and the clerk says they only have the $499 and up laptops left. Lady starts to cry, says she’s starting night school and can’t afford the $499 laptop and that she waited all night (which she had because she got there shortly after we did).
A complete stranger from in front of us in the line walks over to her and says, “I knew I brought so much cash for a reason”, and then peeled off $200 and handed it to her and walked back to his spot. People were losing it. “Do you know him?!” “Nope.” “Did you see that, a guy gave that woman $200.” Coolest thing I’ve ever witnessed at Christmas.