Sunday, November 25, 2012

Black Friday: A Survivor's Tale

Hey everyone! If you're reading this, congratulations! You survived Black Friday too. Black Friday is a day of the good, the bad, and the ugly. I happen to love Black Friday, although less than I used to. I started shopping it when I was about 11. My aunt would pick me up in the middle of the night and we would camp out to get great deals and start our holiday shopping. I won't lie to you, I find it thrilling. To me it's like a shopaholic's olympics. You train and develop a strategy for success, you compete against others, and there are certainly spoils for the victor. I know what you're thinking, it sounds so melodramatic and you can find deals all year long if you know where to look. For some of us though, it's a lot of fun. However, there is a dark side to Black Friday, people who ruin it for us. They kick and punch and scream and trample anyone in their way, this is not fun for anyone and those of us who love Black Friday, despise these people.
In my opinion, Black Friday is kind of a sport for professionals and companies are making things worse by increasing the number of amateurs who are out and about. When stores opened at 4 or 6 in the morning, there were only the few (hundred) of us that were dedicated to the sales, but now that many stores open at midnight or earlier, thousands show up, making things unpleasant for everyone.

The last three Black Fridays I have worked at Victoria's Secret and I have opened, meaning I didn't really get to shop. The first two years we opened at 4 am and it was crazy, but exciting. This year we opened at midnight and it was horrible. Due to Massachusetts law, we technically could not be at work until midnight, which meant at the very best our registers wouldn't be open until 12:01. Shoppers were let into the mall at midnight and you could hear the stampede. They came running and screaming in and started pounding on our gate and trying to lift it open. I took a moment to put on some lipstick and perfume since I knew that I wouldn't get another millisecond to do it later, when I heard "Are you kidding me bitch? Who do you have to smell good for? Open this gate it's 12:01!" ... yeah, people were crazy. A few of us tried to explain that the registers weren't open, but they didn't care. It got to the point that my store manager had to come out and tell them to settle down and we would open as soon as possible. When she finally came out with the key to open the gate they came diving under and running in, I hid behind a sales fixture, there was no way I was getting trampled. They filled the store so quickly that some of us were starting to get pushed out of the store. They started tearing down shelves of merchandise and some of us had bruises by the end of the day. We had the head of mall security and police officers from two towns at our door and there were almost a few arrests made, I wasn't able to see if anyone was taken away. We had to have some people removed from the store and we had at least a two hour wait to get in. It became so crowded that we had two customers faint and EMS had to come in. If you want to get a visual of how bad it was, here's some footage of another Victoria's Secret store at opening. I'll be honest, there's was bad, but ours was worse, we had a much larger crowd. Edit: Original video got taken down, but here's another one to give you an idea. This was the insanity.

After working for twelve hours in this madness I stayed awake by going to a different mall to just casually see what promotions were out there. I got a great pair of shoes on clearance, some bath bombs at Lush (not on sale, but I needed the soak. I got a horrible cold and lost my voice that day, when I had been fine the day before and all morning.) and Greg bought me a beautiful cupcake ornament. Honestly, that one little gesture made my day. While I was too tired that night to decorate the tree, we will be doing it tonight, and I'm sure I will find the perfect spot for my cupcake.

I'd love to know, how do you start your holiday season?

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