Black Friday: An Employee Perspective

COMMENTARY | During my time spent in working retail I have worked many a Black Friday. I have had to deal with crowds, near fistfights, and mass chaos all over the store. I had the unique experience of working in both a record store and a drug store on Black Friday. It was an experience that I will never forget, and people need to know about. This is Black Friday, from the viewpoint of an employee.

I remember the week of Thanksgiving, looking over my schedule and cursing under my breath. I was opening on Black Friday at the record store. The store normally opened at 11 a.m., but this day we would be open at 7. We were located in a strip mall with a department store that was opening at 6. The owner’s idea was to catch people leaving the department store and bring them our way. I arrived to open at 6 in the morning. I looked across the parking lot and could see people rushing into the department store. I made sure that we were stocked and that big electronics were on display.

My coworker arrived 15 minutes before opening. We talked strategy and before we knew it we unlocked the doors and people began to stream in. We couldn’t believe how many people were packed into our store. People were jabbing each other out of the way just to grab CDs and DVDs. We tried to cope with the crowds and make sure nobody was acting out of line. The clocked seemed to never move and within a few hours I was exhausted.

This year Target is is opening at midnight. This will of course cause serious dilemmas for employees looking to visit family out of town. The idea that Target has created could become an industry standard if they make more money than their rivals. It is a scary precedent that could be set, one that could compromise many family traditions. Understandably, many Target employees are not fond of this new idea. They know that they will have to be at work early just to beat the crowds hanging around outside their doors. I would be upset too; for many it means cutting dinners short, not traveling to visit family, and just ruining a great time with family. Target is a big corporation that sees only profits and not families missing out on holiday fun.

When you head out to the shops this Black Friday, remember the employees and what they give up just so that you can get some great deals. They are the unsung heroes of Black Friday.

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