Black Friday (Thursday?) is quickly approaching, and whether you see it as a daylong spend-a-thon or a blight on American consumer culture, the fact remains—it can be crazy out there.
Last week, I asked what were some of the craziest Black Friday moments you've ever witnessed, and wow...just wow. I was able to glean some knowledge and tips from your collective wisdom and lived experiences to help prepared you for the sales-fueled battlefield ahead.
Don't swarm retail workers (or dive for laptops)
When I worked at Best Buy we would pass out slips for the laptops about an hour before the store opened. As I was walking down the line, the line decided to curl around me and enclose me in the crowd. I immediately realized what had happened and tucked the slips and said no more. Customers started grabbing me and yanking the slips from my hands. Fortunately a taller and wider coworker was already on his way to save me or things could have been crazy.
That's actually the same year I hit a lady in the face with a laptop because she decided to dive for the last one right as I was picking it up.
Also don't bite retail workers either, please
My first job was working for Best Buy. During my first Black Friday, I had the last two PS3 and Xbox 360. A customer ran and cut the line and demanded I give them both to her, I told her no because the customer who was next in line had a ticket for the last two. The lady bit my arm so hard, I dropped the two boxes and pretty much destroyed the boxes. I didn't have enough time to hunt the woman down on my own, but I had teeth marks for a few days.
via Lisa Arce
Severe line-cutting can quickly become severe fist-punching
My cousin persuaded me to go to a Best Buy Black Friday sale with him. We camped out in line. All of a sudden, these two grown men are on the verge of fistfighting—yelling, trying-to-be-intimidating postures, clenched fists, all of it. Why? Because one guy claims the other "cut him in line". GROWN MEN arguing and becoming violent over cutsies, like schoolchildren. I was in shock, but everyone else around me was unfazed (I assume I was the only one who was experiencing his first Black Friday).
And sometimes you may need to channel your inner action hero
Working at a Walmart around 2003-2004, our store still closed on Thanksgiving so we had a mob at the door waiting for it to get unlocked. The doors opened and we heard the footsteps running at us, I ducked in the HBA ( Health and Beauty) department and waited for the mob to pass.
As I was on my way to the electronics department where I worked, I watched a lady hanging around the outside of the mob grabbing all of the limited amount items out of other peoples carts. It was pretty genius, she was a like a master thief. She took what she needed and walked away with all of the best deals while everyone fought over the Garth Brooks discography.
Don't forget that people can be crazy for sales (towels specifically)
Working in retail allows me to see the worst of humanity. Two events stick out, and both were over the same product, just different years. One was a younger woman who leapt into a bin containing cheap towels. I think that they were a dollar, maybe two. Once in the bin, she proceeded to whip out a very large knife and slash at anyone who was trying to get one, all while trying to shove the ones that she wanted into a bag or purse. During this, she cut a few people, who didn't seem to care and kept digging through the towels.
The second was an older woman last year who had a taser and was tasing people so that she could get to the towels. She was later tased and cuffed by police. Other than that, I typically see people crying when we don't have iPods or iPads.
Prepare yourself for some awkward family moments
The best I've seen was in an electronics store, where a 12 year old (or there'bouts) boy was whining to his mom about wanting specific video games—Crysis, I think— and mom dutifully kept saying no, which grew into NO, then "I SAID NO!!!" in a very loud, frustrated voice.
The kid wrapped his arms around himself, dropped to the floor of the aisle and said, just as loud "Dad's right—you are a fuckin' bitch."
The mom grabbed a box of something and proceeded to beat the snot out of the kid, screaming all sorts of stuff until 2 security guys came and pulled her off the runt.
I'm thinkin' the holidays were a little tense in that year for that family...
Avoid that one guy trying to steal your Xbox
I bought an Xbox One last year on black Friday at Wal-Mart, and multiple times random people tried snatching it out of my cart and running off with it, one guy managed to take it and I immediately tackled him.
But despite it all, remember that people can also be great
During my first 5 years at Sam's I would walk over to the next door Wal-Mart to buy 2 bikes for charity. I would continue to wear my badge for Sam's. I did this on purpose.
I usually got two responses from people. The first group were people who saw the badge and thought I was going to get more merchandise out for them to buy. They left me alone. The second group saw the badge and stopped me for help.
But here is the thing, and it really let me know that despite all the bad press, the average person is really a decent human being. When I told them that I was just there to get two bikes for charity while I was on my lunch break, they helped me. They helped me carry the bikes, or they made a space so I could get through. Some of these people even let me cut in line so I could get out and get back to work on time.
So if your asking what is the craziest moment for me on Black Friday? Affirmation that, even on the worst shopping day of the year, at the worst time, at the worst store, most people still have decent hearts and the Christmas spirit.