The biggest shopping day of the year is approaching rapidly, and Brandon Frisby is breathing a sigh of relief that he does not have to work it this year.
Frisby is a mass communications major at Tyler Junior College, where he does extensive work with the school newspaper, The Apache Pow Wow. In 2010, he was employed at the Gamestop in the Broadway Square Mall and worked a double shift during the most hectic shopping day: Black Friday.
“We had to get there at three in the morning to get ready,” Frisby said. “It was like preparing for the final battle of an epic scale.”
Black Friday is a day of getting great deals rather than sleep, good practice at kick-boxing and a retail employee’s worst nightmare. Shoppers will do practically anything to get a good deal.
“People were literally shoving each other. They were like rabid wolves feasting on video games,” said Frisby.
Last year, several Walmart stores were the sites of extreme violence due to frenzied shoppers searching for the best sales.
In San Leandro, Calif., a man was shot outside a Walmart because he wouldn’t give up his purchases to a band of thieves. Around that same time, all the way across the country in Kissimmee, Fla., two men got into a fistfight over jewelry sales. The police had to intervene and arrest one of the men for trying to resist the officers.
One woman in Los Angeles, Calif., was so determined to get good deals that she was . She sprayed people in two different areas of the store to get to the merchandise before they could. She caused such a riot that she was able to pay for her items and slip out of the store without being caught.
The day after Thanksgiving, stores are often open before the sun has even risen. Last year, for example, Wet Seal, a clothing store, in the Broadway Square Mall opened at midnight, and employee Kati Sigler, a TJC theatre major and student assistant, worked the first shift.
“It was insane. The moment the doors opened, you could hear people screaming and running down the main hall of the mall,” Sigler said.
The store filled with people, and clothes ended up in piles everywhere. There were people climbing on the shelves or someone else’s shoulders to reach items on the top shelves.
Despite all the craziness, Sigler didn’t mind working Black Friday. In fact, she enjoyed it. If she ever had to re-work a shift at Wet Seal, she said she would choose Black Friday.
“It was so crowded, and it was so packed that there was never a dull moment. It just never got boring, and the time just flew by,” Sigler said.
There are ways to make working Black Friday less of a horror story. Sigler said that there was candy in their break room, and anytime someone was getting low on energy they would go back there and get a soda or a piece of candy to revive themselves.
Staff writer: Hannah Johnson