Retail Workers Came Clean About The Black Friday Moments They Wish They Could Forget

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and some people are ready to do anything for a bargain – like, literally anything. But as an employee explained, “You see the worst of humanity on Black Friday.” And if these horrifying stories from retail workers on the front lines are any indication, you might want to consider shopping online from now on.

40. The line of best fit

A store worker told the Business Insider website in 2019, “I once saw a fight between strangers because someone changed lines. They did not cut in line, they just got behind the other line. And someone in front of that person – so no way they were being affected – decided to verbally attack this person.” Savory words were exchanged. Right in front of their kids.

39. Crutch control

In certain cases, injuries aren’t enough to stop some rabid shoppers. Not even a broken leg. “One year when I had just begun my shift a customer with a broken leg tried to hit me with one of his crutches,” a salesperson told Business Insider. The offence? “Because I didn’t know where we were keeping a particular item.” Ouch.

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38. Coffee break

It seems that some customers aren’t satisfied with the massive price drops that even Black Friday has to offer. “I’ve had a woman pour her coffee on the ground because we wouldn’t give her an extra discount,” a store employee recalled. “She maintained eye contact while pouring the coffee.”

37. Stock take

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Customers might have their hearts set on certain purchases. And if they don’t find what they’re looking for, their behavior can become very unusual. They may even become suspicious of shop workers. As one explained, “I had someone follow me into the stock room to see if I was lying about being out of something.”

36. Secret stash

Shoppers might have good reason to be wary of staff, though. For instance, a perk of working in retail is that employees have access to merchandise before the Black Friday doors swing open. But this salesperson grew wise to a colleague’s tactics. They confessed, “An employee once pre-shopped and hid stuff under a counter. I put them back out for sale.”

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35. Pajama party

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It’s perhaps natural for customers to want to check out the goods before making a purchase, even on Black Friday. But as a retail worker observed, “Some people have untied and unwrapped pajama sets to check them out. And then they want you to go get them one in the same size and pattern from the stockroom that has not been opened.”

34. Delivering the goods

Most people know exactly when Black Friday occurs every year – that’s the day after Thanksgiving if you’re not one of them. But some still show up woefully unprepared. As this retail worker noted, “One of the craziest things you see is people driving a two-seat sports car and wanting you to help them load an eight-foot Christmas tree in there.”

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33. Jewelry box heist

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A shop assistant recalled a time a man spied a jewelry storage unit he wanted. The problem was that a pair of older women had spotted it first. “There was only one left, but the ladies couldn’t lift the box and decided to go find an associate to load it in their cart,” the employee recalled. “As soon as they were gone, [the man] grabbed it and ran to the checkout.”

32. The snitch who snatched

Some shoppers go to extremes to get what they want. “I once had a lady try to snatch something out of another customer’s hand,” a salesperson explained. “But before I could do anything about it, a couple of ladies in line who had been talking to the assaulted customer grabbed it back and chastised her to the point that she ran out of the store cussing about telling management.”

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31. Ride it like you stole it

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According to a former retail worker, “Back in my poor college days when I worked at Walmart, we had a fight break out over a bike. Fists were thrown and there was some blood. Eventually one guy got ahold of it and managed to get away from the crowd. He rode the bike out of the store to flee his pursuers – without paying.”

30. Mistaken identity

Black Friday can be stressful for all concerned. And as customers vie for the best bargains, staff may find themselves in the line of fire. “Someone punched a security guard in the face because he thought he was a customer skipping to the front of the line,” an anonymous retail worker recalled. “He was just walking in the door to start his shift.” Oof.

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29. Rage against the coffee machine

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Things can certainly become heated in the electronics department on Black Friday. A store employee told Business Insider, “I have witnessed two people fist fight… over a toaster.” And on the BuzzFeed website, Carla Catalan revealed, “We had this Mr. Coffee machine that was on sale for $3, and I witnessed one lady punch another lady in the face for our last non-reserved one.”

28. A fishy tale

Bizarrely, it isn’t only non-perishable goods that get shoppers riled on Black Friday. “When I worked at Sam’s Club, during the madness one Black Friday morning, we caught a woman stuffing the inside of her pants with frozen lobster tail,” a salesperson revealed. “She would unpackage them and throw the trash in a stack of tires that were on display.”

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27. A Blu Black Friday

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The savings may be humongous on Black Friday, but that doesn’t mean you can just walk away with the goods for free. Some still will try, though. As a store clerk recalled, “A guy tried to shove a Panasonic Blu-ray player into the front of his jeans. He was a rather large man, but, dude, it’s a Blu-ray player… seriously.”

26. No holding back

Crowds can grow impatient waiting for doors to open for the sales, as this worker witnessed while setting up for the day. Shoppers surged as the locked door started to give way, crushing those waiting up front. “[My manager] immediately opened it up, and about five people at the front spilled onto the floor,” the employee said. “People behind them started trampling over them.” Fortunately, though, no one was hurt.

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25. When you’ve gotta go

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Shopping with children can be stressful. And when you have one who needs the bathroom sharpish things can get, well, messy. Salesperson Ashton David recalled a mom telling her young daughter to wait. He informed BuzzFeed, “The daughter ended up peeing all over my station and the mom didn’t say anything about it. She paid, grabbed her bags, and said that I should clean that up and just left.”

24. Path of the righteous

A woman claimed to be purchasing items for children in her congregation and cut in front of a 200-strong line. She was then told she wouldn’t be served. “Right there in the middle of the store, she got down on her knees and started praying – LOUDLY – that Jesus strike me down with righteous lightning for blocking the path of a Christian soldier,” Emmay Friederson recalled to BuzzFeed. “After 15 minutes of me not being struck down, she left the store.”

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23. Underhand tactics

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Some customers will do anything for a bargain. “I once worked a Black Friday at TRU,” store employee Vince Plowman told BuzzFeed. “A guest sprayed mace behind them as they ran in front of the pack towards the electronics section.” And if you think such behavior is the preserve of young thugs, another retail employee added, “I watched a little old lady pepper spray someone over towels.”

22. Take this hand

A store assistant spied a customer who appeared to have a prosthetic hand as he paid for his goods. She thought nothing of it. But, as she told BuzzFeed, “About an hour later a co-worker came over the headset in a panic because one of the mannequins was missing a hand. Turns out he had checked out with our mannequin hand and stole it! WHO does that?!”

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21. Hold my sweater

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“A customer called asking for a sweater she said she put on hold,” shop worker Des told BuzzFeed. “We didn’t do Black Friday holds. When I told her the sweater wasn’t available, she said she wished she was in the store so she could put her hands around my neck and choke me. All because the sweater wasn’t available.” Yowzer.

20. When push comes to shove

Some customers can get carried away on Black Friday, as Kaitlin Bilodeau experienced. She explained, “My managers stationed me near the front doors next to several tall cardboard bins filled with $3 scarves, gloves, and hats.” Then Bilodeau became caught up in the jostle of the crowd when the doors opened. “One woman placed each of her hands on my shoulders and SHOVED,” she recalled. “I went flying into two of the cardboard bins, which then broke and spilled everywhere.”

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19. Banned for life

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When a GameStop store couldn’t accept trades due to a lack of cash registers, a shopper kicked off. Staff apologetically asked him to return with his 100 or so games later in the week. But, the employee said, “He proceeded to throw each item he brought with him at me, one at a time, in the face, until I called the cops.” The man was taken into custody and banned from GameStop for life.

18. Bathroom break

As well as losing all sense of civility on Black Friday, some shoppers appear to turn positively feral. “I worked at Bebe on Black Friday a few years ago,” a store assistant recalled. “Someone literally took a s*** in one of the dressing rooms then covered it with a $200 dress and disappeared out the door.” Eww!

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17. Baby rage

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Apparently even cradling an infant isn’t enough for some shoppers to consider their actions. “My first Black Friday, I was watching over the self checkout at my Super Target,” a former employee explained. “When the doors opened, I saw a woman holding an infant child who couldn’t have been older than three months elbow a lady in the face for a cart even though there were more close by.”

16. This is not a drill

A female customer, annoyed that the Black Friday crowds were blocking the way through the store, asked staff to remove other shoppers from the outlet. The workers of course said that wasn’t possible. “A few minutes later the fire alarm went off and we had to evacuate the whole store,” an employee recalled. “The fire department came and found that lady trying to shop.” She’d found a way to clear the store. Then she was arrested.

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15. Fight club

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When two female shoppers began brawling at Walmart, one turned over the other’s baby stroller. And yes, the baby was inside. But seemingly unconcerned about her child’s welfare, the mother instead attacked the perpetrator. An employee explained, “Turns out they knew each other and had an argument before, and decided the middle of Walmart during Black Friday was the perfect time to fight.” The unharmed child was rescued by another worker.

14. If the shoe fits

A terrifying experience ensued when this retail worker was 16 and was deployed to the shoe department one Black Friday. She said, “We didn’t have the size a lady was looking for, so I offered to check our system for another store. She proceeded to shout, ‘I don’t have that kind of ****ing time!’ and threw the shoe at me. [It hit] me in the mouth and split my lip.” Yikes.

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13. Attention seeker

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“A customer was having problems finding an associate to help them in the shoe department,” an employee recalled. “So what did he do? Dropped his drawers in the middle of the shoe department and c****ed all over the floor. Then another customer didn’t see the mess and stepped in it before it could be cleaned up.” And that’s perhaps starting to look like a fitting symbol for Black Friday shopping…

12. Xbox uncertainty

When the last Xbox 360 went to a woman in her 60s, a young boy was left disappointed. But staff located one more and proceeded to hand it to the child. Then a man shoved both out of the way to grab it for himself. A witness recalled to Business Insider, “I don’t know what came over me, but I instantly swung for the dude’s head.” Dude collapsed and the kid got the Xbox. Bemused dude then walked away past gobsmacked shoppers.

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11. Potty time

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Customers sometimes queue for hours to grab the best deals on Black Friday. So what happens when they need a bathroom break? “Well, we get a complaint from one of our patrons,” this staffer explained. “After checking the dryers we found a nice turd in one. Good size, solid consistency just sitting there.” Someone, it seems, wasn’t about to give up their spot in the queue.

10. Different frequencies

Random acts of violence seemingly aren’t the sole preserve of young men on Black Friday. As this retail worker recalled, “Working in the electronics department, a little old lady punched a teenage boy in the face to get the last radio he had picked up. She snatched it up and ran.” What was that about respecting your elders?

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9. Denim volley

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A pair of female shoppers seemed to be pointlessly throwing garments between them in the Walmart clothes department. But when a slight youngster intercepted a pair of jeans, the women lost it, hitting the girl’s head. There was blood. And police. And an arrest. Turns out the girl was the daughter of the cop in question. The woman certainly spent more than she bargained for when she then needed to hand over bail money.

8. Blanket rage

A woman makes blankets for terminal breast cancer patients and Black Friday meant a big reduction on her usual pink fabric order. But a rival customer then berated her for scooping up “all” the fabric bolts. And there was no reasoning with her protests. “The old lady continues to yell at the poor woman,” a staffer recalled. “Old lady doesn’t give a s***, whips out mace and tackles the woman.”

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7. What a crock

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Even basic kitchenware is apparently enough to make some people go crazy. “Today, one of our male customers hit another male customer upside the head with a crock pot,” a salesperson revealed. “What were they fighting over? The crock pot. Both customers had to be dragged out of the store by the police.” Nuts.

6. Furby fighting

Another retail worker recalled, “By far the best was three grandmothers getting into a literal fist fight over the last Furby. A full-on brawl, rolling around on the floor, kicking and punching. Nobody knew what to do. It took two women and a manager to pull them apart. It was the most screwed up thing I’ve ever seen.” We’re speechless.

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5. Laptop frenzy

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A new Walmart Supercenter seemed under-prepared for its first Black Friday. That’s despite a three-cop, two-burly-manager escort for a pile of laptops. “When they threw off the cardboard, it was like people transformed into animals,” an employee recalled. “People climbing over one another and grabbing them out from other people’s hands. There were people stealing them out from other people’s carts. It was crazy.”

4. No bargain too small

This store worker has apparently seen it all. That includes a sizeable male customer stepping on people to get hold of $1 towels. They also saw a customer tazed for threatening an employee after refusing to queue with everyone else. And also a girl being stomped on over $3 DVDs, an incident that left footprints on her body. The shop assistant’s conclusion was: “Black Friday sucks.”

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3. Sick of this

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“I had a lady saying she was going to faint,” a store worker shared on reddit. “She kept saying, ‘Please just let me pay so I can get to a doctor.’” But staff suspected she was faking to cut in line. She lost it when told an ambulance was on its way, shouting at employees who threatened to call the police if she didn’t leave. She then split rapidly when a police officer randomly appeared.

2. Picture this

This reddit user claimed to be a “veteran to Black Friday,” so they were ready for the furor. What they weren’t ready for, though, was a manager’s unexpected announcement of a 50 percent price reduction on digital cameras. Customers charged to snap them up, leaving no opportunity for the staffer to inform management that just four cameras remained in stock. Oops.

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1. Black Friday is the worst

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Another employee summed up the carnage of Black Friday. They told Business Insider, “People have thrown things at me, ripped product intended for other customers out of my hands, stolen and broken things, relieved themselves in fitting rooms, puked and fainted while in stores I have worked in.” But on a positive note, the eight-mile legwork the sales bring for this staffer means that “I feel a little more justified when I have six servings of stuffing the day before.”

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