Kiss My Ass, Black Friday

I worked retail for what felt like seventy years, and no matter what job I had it usually involved working the Friday after Thanksgiving. I’d just like to thank everyone involved in making the decisions that led to my working those days. They’re a good chunk of the reason I’m not the good-natured little girlie I was as a naive kid, and that I’m now the misanthropic bitch you all know today.

I worked the six a.m. to two-thirty shift at a local department store for four years in a row, the first two in their Juniors (high school kids) area and the last two in Clinique. While the local and national news may paint a sunny picture of what Black Friday means — bargains! customers! specials! shoppers! doorbusters! money money money in the CEOs’ pockets! — let me stick a red-hot branding iron to this particular bubble of horseshit.

People who shop before-dawn sales are insane. Those of us who are there so we continue to get paid are coming off a family holiday cut short, since we went to bed at eight or nine the night before and got up at four or five to creak around the house and get to work on time. We had to fight to get through the throng of morons waiting at the store’s front doors, as if each of them is looking at some magic item inside that might disappear if they don’t run/waddle right to it the minute the doors open. They seem to think they get extra points if they knock over an employee.

People who shop these sales are cheap assholes. They’ll come in to get a $20 shirt for $18.99 and crow over their bargain while you ring it up. They’ll fling an entire table’s worth of folded clothes to the floor to find their size, as if Bob Barker is standing over them with a giant stopwatch, exhorting them to greater speed. They barge past a line of customers to ask an idiotic question (“Is these all you got left?”) and then push themselves into the line like a tugboat in stretch pants while you answer.

People who shop predawn sales are deliberately and casually rude. “I bet you didn’t get no sleep last night, did ye?” was one I heard at least once a year. “What time’d you have to be here this mornin’? You goin’ shopping yourself or you got to work all day? Do you people get a lunch break? How come they ain’t no more of you workin’ today? I bet you don’t get no break, do ye?” I wanted to bring a gun to work, hanging beneath my nametag, every time one of these showed up. They’d follow every question with a laugh, as if I’d think it was just hilarious that I’d had to pee for forty-five minutes but was instead held hostage by a mouth-breather painting her wrist with seventeen different shades of pink lipstick.

People who shop predawn sales are never so poor they have to show up for the bargains. I never saw more gold cards than I did before eight a.m. the day after Thanksgiving. Gucci wallets were pulled out of Dooney & Bourke purses and hundred-dollar bills were slapped down (never, ever placed in a salesperson’s hand, because as you know, we were all peons who couldn’t afford flu shots and possibly voted for Democrats) to pay for three pairs of socks, never mind that tens and fives were spilling out of the wallet like children from a bus to a playground. I have always loathed rich people. The only positive thing to come from working a succession of Black Fridays was learning that I’d been right to hate them all along.

And so here I’ve sat all day, reading and napping and watching football, refusing to leave the house. I’m allergic to the kind of people I’d surround myself with if I had left the house today. Better to just be thankful I had the day off.

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14 Responses to “Kiss My Ass, Black Friday”

  1. Beautifully stated! I was your sister in the angst of retail workerhood for many years, also.

    Nothing like a great Jammie Day to help ease the memories of past assholery, is there?

  2. thelittlefluffycat Says:

    I just can’t see the point of it–I never could, and then the Internet entered my shopping life, and now I think they’re just all nutjobs. Even if it’s momentary.

  3. My family had our Thanksgiving on Black Friday. I adore my family but it was apropos some of them are nuts. It sounds lie you’re Black Friday was wonderfully celebrated.

    Oh, I’ve tagged you. I hope you don’t mind.

  4. *shudder*

    I think it’s safe to say that people attached to bargain-hunting tend to be rude assholes regardless of the time of year or venue. And there’s a huge difference between prudent shopping and bargain-hunting. The hunter is a species unto him (or more commonly, her)self.

  5. Wanda Rizzuto Says:

    I worked at a large record store when I was in college. I was a supervisor for much of my tenure. I decided to quit right after the Christmas season when I realized that I just couldn’t face another customer.

  6. I’ve only ever been on the receiving end of this mayhem – I’ve never been a black friday shopper.

  7. There is just no fucking way I’m one of those morons waiting in line at 5:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving day for a sale the next morning. There is no deal on Earth that fucking good.

    Also, I have no money.
    Also, I hate people.

    Misanthropic bitches unite.

  8. pandemonic Says:

    It’s retail, it was Black Friday, and it was a full moon. You couldn’t get much worse than that.

    I’m an internet shopper. If I could shop groceries that way, I would.

  9. theanitchrist Says:

    Six AM? Try FOUR AM! We had about 300 people outside our doors when we opened the doors. I had to be at work on Friday at 3:30 A fucking M. What kind of inhuman freaks get up that fucking early to buy a goddamn shirt and some random electronics? I was, to be quite honest, completely disgusted by the abject display of avarice and materialism which heralded the advent of a season that claims to be about peace, love, giving and selflessness.

    Sometimes I wonder if Jesus is standing in heaven saying, “You know, I wasn’t nailed to a tree so you could save 75% on a fucking portable DVD player.”

  10. theanitchrist Says:

    Ok, the comment above says it was made at 10:05 PM. Where the fuck is this site located? That’s fully six time zones away from me, which puts it somewhere in England or Europe. Unless the founders of this site just thought it would be cool to base everything on Greenwich Mean Time.

    I wonder if I’m typing in metric.

  11. There are things in this life worth getting up for at 4am – the sunrise, a frosty morning with the horses, an eagerly awaited road trip. Shopping will never, ever be on that list.

  12. Sometimes I wonder if Jesus is standing in heaven saying, “You know, I wasn’t nailed to a tree so you could save 75% on a fucking portable DVD player.”

    I’m gonna remember that and quote it. Probably to a roomful of relatives, at some point.

  13. midwestocean Says:

    Perfect, this was simply perfect. If this was at the other place I would be tenning you! The thing I hate most about Christmas is the effing shopping because EVERYONE is in a pissy mood. I’m glad I’m not the only person to notice that Repubs are generally a cheap ass lot. I have a Republican friend and I swear to God I usually have to add to her tip in a restuarant. One time her mother, a wicked Repub if I ever saw one, bragged that her daughter tipped too much. Holy hell!

  14. antimother Says:

    ToysRUs wasn’t so bad on Black Friday. No one beat me up.

    However, I wouldn’t have wanted to be working there for anything.

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