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... Click Here To Get Started!
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A stranger saves the day
I’ve thrown one punch in my life (I’m 55-years old). It was on Black Friday. So it was the year the Xbox 360 came out. I was standing in line next to a kid who couldn’t have been older than 11 and a woman in her 60s (probably his grandmother).
He was waiting for his Xbox 360 and could barely contain his excitement. The woman in line before him screams out; “I got the last one!” –the kid’s heart stops.
Then the guy behind the counter says “nope one more” and begins the motion of handing it to the kid, but this guy comes flying out of nowhere and pushed the older woman and the kid. The kid and the older lady tumbled to the ground.
At 51-years old I don’t know what came over me but I instantly swung for the dudes head and caught him right in the temple sending him into a DVD rack in the middle of the isle. Everyone froze, including me. Guy dropped the 360 and got up and walked away. I slid it with my foot to the kid who quickly hands it to the cashier.
Warning: Only authorized personnel beyond this point!
I work back of house at a Toys R Us. I spent Black Friday taking big-ticket items to the back where we load them into the customer’s car instead of trying to make our way to the front of the store. Apparently, someone decided it was fine to wander into the back storage room and start opening boxes to find what they wanted.
Other customers saw this one fool do it, and then decided it was ok if they did too. Myself and the other back of house guys were busy wrestling with a really obnoxious bed set, so when I made it to the other side of our back storage, I found like 8-10 people just taking cases off our bays and opening them, then tossing them aside if they didn’t want it.
They claimed there was nothing indicating they couldn’t come back there. We have a two signs on the swinging door saying “Employees Only” and “Warning: Only authorized personnel beyond this point!” These people were either the world’s worst liars or they can’t read.
Don’t mess with Granny!
I worked at RadioShack for a year in college. During Black Friday, one of the sale items was a $10 calculator marked down to $5. Two sweet, elderly women came in the store looking for them. When I told them there was only one left in the display, it was ON!
It turned into a geriatric version of roller derby without the skates. The one grandma who lost the race called the other one a bunch of four letter words as she was standing in the checkout line, clutching her $5 prize.
I always imagined some little kid opening presents on Christmas morning and getting this silly $5 calculator, not really wanting it and having no clue about the backstory behind it. All the while, his grandma, sipping her hot tea, looks on with a triumphant gleam in her eye.
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.
Here’s another story with a happy ending. Enjoy!
I went to the midnight release of the Wii at Walmart. We were given numbers and everyone just chilled in chairs outside the store. One guy had a generator in the back of his truck and ran an extension cord to where we were sitting.
He set up his laptop and a small projector with a small screen. Everyone just sat together, watched movies, shared popcorn, food, and drinks. It was awesome and I’m sad this is such a rare case.
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.
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.
The reason I will NEVER work in retail again
My first experience with Black Friday came when I was working at a Walmart in my hometown. I was assigned to be one of the employees that would cut open the plastic on the pallets, which contained our merchandise.
As I opened my box cutter, a customer shoved me and I fell right on it and sliced my hand open. After getting through that and patching it up, I came out on the floor and promptly got hit in the face when I picked up a DVD off the ground. A customer apparently wanted it. Needless to say, I hate black Friday.
“Excuse me sir, what’s that in your pants?”
Ex-Best Buy here. Four Black Fridays at the highest grossing store in the company gets you a few wild tales. This one is quick: Guy tried to shove a Panasonic Blu-ray player into the front of his jeans. He was a rather large man, but dude its a Blu-ray player, seriously?!
I approached the guy and said, “Excuse me, sir, is that a giant black rectangle in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?” His face turned as red as a tomato and he spent the next 10 minutes following me around the store explaining that he was simply trying to hid it from other shoppers.
Full speed ahead!
Back when I worked retail we had people lining up outside the doors at least five hours before we were set to open. We were running a little late, so at 12:01 AM, the people outside started pushing on the door and cussing at my manager.
The door was cheap so even though it was locked they were able to push it inward. Problem was, it never actually opened but the people at the back of the crowd thought it did so they started pushing and the people at the front started being crushed against the door.
When my manager saw this she immediately opened it up and the 5 people at the front spilled onto the floor and the rest of the people behind them started trampling over them. They were okay though because they were all young guys and I saw them shopping a few minutes later.
It’s time to throw in the towel
Worked security at Target for 5+ years. Even though the store was in a rougher part of town, I don’t have too many horror stories. The funniest one I like to tell is a couple years ago, I was there early doing crowd control. I would always talk to people in line; try to keep them entertained while they waited in the cold.
The first couple in line had been there for about 13 or 14 hours. So we open the store, and we have deals on all sorts of electronics, toys, etc. They get in line and have a shopping cart full of towels that we had on sale for $2. That’s it. Just towels.
They were first in line outside and waited over half a day for $2 towels. When I left after my 12 hour shift, we still had shelves full of these towels, along with tons more in the stockroom.
My first Black Friday, was my last Black Friday
My first week of retail was Black Friday. Three days of training, one to prepare, day off. BOOM BLACK FRIDAY! I had a woman almost make me cry the first hour. My muscles and joints ached, I could barely speak. “I can help whoever is next”… swipe, bag, repeat. I made so many mistakes, it was a complete nightmare.
That was my first and last time working in retail. I honestly don’t know how people do it because some customers are absolutely crazy! God bless your hearts, you deserve a raise or some kind of medal.
The definition of Hell on Earth
I used to work at a family-owned vintage video game store at a mall in north Austin. Naturally, the mall opened early for Black Friday (5:00 in the morning). When I unlocked the door at 4:30 I was absolutely blasted by heat.
For some reason, the mall’s heating system was outta whack, so one side of the mall was freezing and the other was sweltering hot.
I remember looking at the store’s thermostat and seeing that it read 95 degrees. Working in a mall on Black Friday in a nearly hundred degrees store is probably the closest literal example of Hell on Earth.
I bet you think this sale is about you, don’t you?
People are complete savages on Black Friday. But the worst are the people that don’t like what the sales are… as if we expect to mark down the exact item they wanted.
Sorry, but I don’t really care if the Bose headphones aren’t on sale but the hot pink Beats are. Sales are to get you in the door, which is why I am glad the store I work at has very few sales.
Here’s how my boss completely ruined my day
I ran an electronics department in a large retail store and was a veteran to Black Friday. My team always had everything under control. We had tickets for everything that would sell out quickly, we knew exact numbers and where everything was. We were always prepared and never had an issue.
But one year, the district manager decided to “observe” our store during Black Friday. She stopped by my department in the thick of it to see how things were going. She was carrying a piece of paper which she told me had some unadvertised “secret sale items.” She grabbed my walkie talking, and made a storewide announcement that we had JVC Digital Camcorders marked down to $49, regular price $199.
As she was making the announcement, I stood there with my jaw open. A sense of fear came over me. I knew the model that was just marked down, and we did have it in inventory. The problem was, we only had 1 left in stock. The store was packed, and a fast-moving zombie horde of shoppers immediately swamped my department from all sides.
As the horde swept over my department, I saw my district manager hightail it out of there. I have never been in more fear for my life. I think I still have some PTSD from that Black Friday…
Never judge a book by its cover
I once witnessed an 80-year-old grandma tackle and then mace a woman over fleece fabric at my store. Here’s how it started…
The old lady wanted a cancer pink-ribbon fabric, and the woman she ultimately tackled had called ahead and ordered a bulk amount of it, because she works for a cancer organization and makes blankets for cancer patients.
The woman was wheeling a cart in the store with several large bolts of the fabric in it (which she had special ordered in advance). Old lady sees that this woman has “ALL the bolts” and freaks out. The woman explains that she has in fact special ordered these in advance, and that the reason she was coming in on Black Friday to purchase them is because they were 60% off.
The old lady continues to yell at the poor woman. The woman very calmly keeps trying to reassure her that she is not taking any of the store stock, and that she makes blankets for dying women with breast cancer. Old lady doesn’t care at all. Whips out mace and tackles the woman. Old lady gets kicked out of the store.
She would come in once every couple of months, give me the stink eye, and then rebelliously write down recipes from the home and food magazines so she wouldn’t have to buy them. Then she’d scurry out and come back again in a few months.
I had to numb the pain
I had just undergone shoulder surgery the day prior to Thanksgiving. But my boss didn’t care, he told me I had better show up on Black Friday. I showed up at 5am in a shoulder sling, just hours post op. I popped some pain meds, and started the day.
My job was to handle the computers, so I dealt with the onslaught of people pushing me aside to get free electronics. Literally pushing me over. I fell down on my shoulder after some mother pushed me over a little kid, no lie.
To ease the pain, I took some more meds. A few hours later, a woman bought five huge monitors and insisted I “do my job” and carry them out for her. I objected, but he started getting upset, so I dragged the monitor with my good arm and put it into a cart. By the time I was done loading the equipment into her car, I had extreme pain running throughout my body. I went back inside and took more meds.
Flash forward to around 11am. Customers look like blurs and I find myself drooling a little bit. A customer comes up and asks where he can find the monster cable. I found the idea of a “monster” cable to be hilarious, so I laughed maniacally in his face. He quickly backed away and speed walked towards the front of the store.
Customers guarded their children and nobody bothered me for awhile. This went on for a good ten minutes in real time, which felt like three hours to me. The manager in my department walked over to me, grabbed my good arm, and escorted me out of the building. I have no idea what she said, but I’m sure she wasn’t giving me compliments. That was my last day working in that store.
Don’t worry grandpa, I got your back!
I saw an elderly woman steal an ice cream maker from a handicapped man who was in a wheelchair. He got a security guard, and she flat out denied it saying the man was using his handicap to embarrass her. I lost a little faith in humanity in that moment.
I followed her and took stuff out of her cart and put it back on the shelves and put in random embarrassing items in their place. It might sound petty, but it made me feel like I got some kind of revenge for the poor old guy she had just terrorized. Take that grandma!
How badly do you want that perfume?
I worked at an Ulta Cosmetics store a few years back, the store was mobbed, but nothing bad had happened (yet). Well, a group of teenage girls came in with HUGE bags and went straight to the perfume section.
Then on top of that, they were cursing LOUDLY and were just generally disrupting everything. My manager goes over there and just calmly asks them to quit cursing and talking so loudly, and they erupted and started screaming and hollering like uncivilized farm animals. My manager then of course told them to leave the store.
Well at that point, I was close to the door along with pretty much all the other employees trying to calm everyone down, when this one chick who had been the main one screaming, pulled out mace and sprayed my manager straight in the eyes. Unfortunately for her, there was a HUGE guy there with his wife and he straight up tackled her and held her down while her friends ran away as fast as the could.
The cops ended up having to taze her in the parking lot because she tried to bite an officer. Crazy stuff. I have never seen anyone behave like that. Haven’t worked retail since.