By Chevonne Harris–
Black Friday. Retailer’s favorite and most dreaded day of the year. As a former retail employee with nearly 10 years in the game, I’ve seen my share of foolishness over the years. From opening door shenanigans reminiscent of the Running of the Bulls, to full-out brawls in the Hot Wheels aisle, it never ceases to amaze me what people will do for a BOGO deal.
But no judgment here. As a Black Friday regular I totally get the importance of a door buster. But while you’re out chasing down the perfect cashmere scarf and iPad Air for your boo, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re not the douche customer of the Electronics department.
1. Check the freaking price tag.
You know those pesky signs on the shelves, the price check scanner thingies, and the happy workers milling seemingly aimlessly about the aisles? Well they are all there for you; strategically placed about the store to help you, the discount die-hard who sprinted to the store in your comfiest track suit and K-Swiss, get all your ducks in row before you approach the checkout line. From the horse’s mouth, there is nothing worse than having a disgruntled shopper attempt to barter a price we all know is correct. Do yourself and the folks in line behind you a favor and read the price tag.
2. Newsflash, you’re not the only one who decided to go shopping today and probably needs a parking spot.
As a former cashier I can’t tell you how mind-blowing it is to have customers complain about the long lines and crowds on the biggest shopping day of the year. Naturally you’re the only one in town who found the $15 microwave deal pretty cool. It’s Black Friday; deal with it. If you don’t like it, keep your turkey-filled butt at home and enjoy the Macy’s parade. Cart wars, parking lot brawls and Xbox battles are bound to happen and are half the fun of Black Friday so strap on your Timb boots and coat vest, grab a girlfriend and a magazine, and enjoy the day.
3. They may be mean, some may be weird, but for Christ’s sake, respect the cashier.
Life for a cashier ain’t easy, especially on Black Friday. For the hourly rate of $7.85 these men, women and teens stand on a padded 3’’ x 6’’ mat, enclosed in mini-cubicle hell, as they deal with you, the super shopper who can’t seem to navigate the credit card machine you use on a daily basis. I get it, of course it’s their fault your gift card is expired or your credit card got declined and now a manager must be summoned, but you’re most likely dealing with seasonal employees just trying to make a little extra cash for the holidays so go easy on them. While you’re out and about spending this week’s paychecks, they’re missing Thanksgiving dinner just so you can get grandma the 40’’ flat screen she’ll never learn how to work for the low price of $299. So, in the holiday spirit, cover your mouth when you cough, have the coupons ready, leave the 20 cases of water in your cart, and throw away your own empty Starbucks cup.
4. People actually took the time to make the store look pretty for you so don’t mess it up.
Don’t unfold the clothes! Your sister has worn a medium performance fleece her entire life but for reason when they’re BOGO, you feel the need to grab the “large,” three rows from the bottom, examine it and then have the audacity to toss it on top of the “smalls” stack. Contrary to popular belief, someone actually spent about two hours making sure the V-neck and screen print tees were folded and sorted properly by size and color. Precision folding is harder than it looks folks so neatly find what you need and keep it moving.
5. Lights on, they’re open. Lights off, they’re closed.
This one’s not that hard but for reason shoppers never seem to get it. If the light hoisted 10 feet in the air for the entire world to see is illuminated, they’re open for business, if not, stay the heck away. Just because the cashier is standing behind a register doesn’t mean they’re available to ring up your 50 cans of cat food just yet.
6. Don’t want it? Well put it back where you found it.
So here’s what happens at the end of the night in retail-land. Once the store is clear and the lights have dimmed, workers meticulously go around the store to try to make it look somewhat presentable for the next day. Typically a section takes roughly an hour or two, but when Mary Sue finds toilet paper, slippers and the skateboard you decided not to get, lodged in the skinny leg denim wall, the process takes a little longer. Oh, and that cart you wheeled to your car to transport your screaming child and new toaster oven belongs in the cart rack, not the neighboring store’s parking lot. Do like mama taught you and put it back where you found it. And bring your clothes out of the freaking fitting room.
7. Please be nice to the greeter.
Being a greeter is no joke. They’re typically 60-years-old and up, are the first line of command, meaning they run the risk of getting trampled when doors open, and have the fun of job of being perky for eight hours as cold air blows on them on every 15-seconds. They also have the hard task of knowing where just about every item in the store is so when you run past on your way to the Electronics department, you actually know where you’re going. We know you’re in a rush but dang-it, take the time to say “hi.”