“First responders reporting from retail stores all across the nation said the record-breaking post-Thanksgiving shopping spree carnage began as early as midnight on Friday, when 13 million shoppers were reportedly trampled, pummeled, burned, stabbed…”
In the United States this weekend, over 42 million are dead in what’s being called the bloodiest Black Friday weekend on record, according to America’s Finest News Source, The Onio—
Oh darn it. Well, fake news sources aside, American Black Friday has always been notorious for crowds, chaos, and contusions—so much that somebody thought it was necessary to dedicate a web domain for it. According to the website’s tally, since 2006 there have been eight deaths and 96 injuries linked to the massive shopping event. Eight deaths and 96 injuries. The discrepancy between eight and 42 million somehow seems irrelevant; it’s still astounding how people are insane enough to put themselves in a stampede for sales, a mosh-pit for discounted merchandise.
Although, for our American friends, Black Friday has been different this year, with headlines dubbing it “Black Lives Matter Friday” and “Black Out Black Friday” as protesters stood in solidarity regarding the Ferguson Mike Brown case. Whatever your stance on the case, it’s hard to dispute that it’s nice to see crowds rioting on Black Friday for something other than selfish consumerism.
For Canadians, our version of Black Friday is of course Boxing Day, and no one has yet claimed a Boxing Day Death Count domain, thank goodness, although last year there were reports of Boxing Day arsenic, and shoppers getting egged and pepper-sprayed.
Personally, I feel the worst for retail employees working Black Friday and Boxing Day. Unlike the swarms of deal-hunters choosing to engage in the event, retail workers don’t really have an option. Usually if you ask your retail employer for the day off on Boxing Day, they just laugh at you.
Throughout the years, I’ve worked a few different retail jobs. I’ve worked as a server, an electronics sales associate, and a barista. During the jobs, I’ve worked holidays, including Christmas, Boxing Day, and New Years. Here are some of my personal “highlights” (maybe you can relate):
The time I worked in electronic sales on Boxing Day. We worked on commission, however we needed to reach a target in sales before the commission broke over minimum wage and would essentially count. I was new to the position and one of my coworkers said that training wage was higher than regular pay, but as soon as I logged on to the network to track my sales, I’d convert to regular pay but probably wouldn’t make much commission because I was new. She suggested I use her account when I rang a sale through. What is it that they say about never trusting a salesperson?
The time I worked as a server on New Years Eve, and again, I was a new hire. The restaurant was semi-fancy, the kind of place where a couple can get away with eating for under $100, but they also serve water in nice glassware. After a night of serving hors d’oeuvres to stuffy customers decked out in their fanciest tie and shawl sets, the owner let me off at quarter to midnight. The owner also fired me and half the other new hires after that night, because apparently “seasonal hiring” can literally mean December 25 to January 1.
The time I worked as a barista on Christmas Day. This actually wasn’t so bad, other than the lineups out the door, the gentleman who thought the intricacy of his beverage had something to do with the lineup cue (I understand that you only want a cup of milk, but you’re still going to have to wait behind people who take five minutes to explain their custom drink), and the lady who handed me a $20 bill, and expected me to count the exact change from her wallet to give her a $10 bill back… (please, I’m paid to steam milk, not do your math).
Overall, though, I think Christmas Day is the best of the winter holidays if you’re working retail, because customers are generally pretty kind. Nobody wants to be a Scrooge, after all. They understand that you’d rather be at home underneath a Christmas tree, cuddling with your pet. I’ve heard people argue that working customer service builds character; it makes you empathetic to other retail workers. In case you’ve never worked one, customer service jobs are trying at best, with low to moderate paying wages.
So this holiday season, be good to your sales associate. Or better yet, consider staying home this Boxing Day, and don’t be another angry mob-shopper statistic.