Black Friday causes madness at Wal-Mart


Joe Bergman

The crowd lines up waiting for the Black Friday sales to start at the Wal-Mart located on Fashion Place.

Alex Rivera, Reporter


On Nov. 26, as everyone stuffed their faces with turkey and spent time with their families, I had to prepare for the aftermath of Thanksgiving. It’s a day where everyone begins their holiday shopping because of the savings on Black Friday, a day I dread working in retail.

I’m an assistant manager for the biggest retailer in the world, a business that is everywhere: Wal-Mart.

Many of us managers prepare for these holidays months in advance, knowing that many of us will not be spending time with our families as we are trying to keep the business successful.

Once Black Friday comes, it seems that all the preparation that we do goes out the window as the madness and overwhelming amount of people literally come running through our doors.

This year, Wal-Mart tried a couple of new things, one was running all the Black Friday sales that were in store online as well, hoping to deter the amount of people in our stores. We also did a sale at a set time of 6 p.m., no longer doing sales in increments.

Now let me tell you about a day in the life of a Wal-Mart employee on a crazy day like this. Many people have their jokes about Wal-Mart, often mentioning how ghetto it is or having only two registers opened when there are 26 registers throughout the front end. But something that really shocked me that night was that for the first time since I have started working there, my store had every single register open. On the previous Black Fridays that I’ve worked, that was something we had yet to accomplish.

I had always heard about a website called, which is a website dedicated to exposing the strange people and crazy incidents that happen at Wal-Mart through photos and videos. Let me tell you, I felt like I was watching those videos over and over again in real life as I was sitting back and watching the store crumble down.

It’s tough working as an overnight assistant manager. I had to learn how to balance school, work, and try to sleep when everyone else around me is awake. It’s hard to balance my personal life as well, due to the fact that I sleep all day to prepare for a long night’s shift.

I rolled into the store at about 4:50 p.m. and could already hear my store manager freaking out on the walkie-talkie.

During Black Friday, I was in charge of a group of about 30 associates responsible for running the exit doors as well as the 50-inch TV’s that were on sale.

In my head, I was already preparing for altercations with many customers as well as fights that were going to be over silly deals.

Our store had set up a fence that lined people up all the way around the building. Luckily, we had locked the entrance doors on the other side of the building and made those the exit only doors, which I was in charge of.

I had to stand outside in the freezing weather with two other people to help direct traffic and tell them to line up on the other side of the store, because this was no longer an entrance and would only be an exit.

Who knew this would become such a big deal for many thinking they would be slick and try to sneak in? Unfortunately, they were not as smart as some other customers as they came into the store to “shop” at around four o’clock and waited in the store until the sale started, as we are not allowed to kick them outside.

Within the first hour of my shift, I was already being tested and began to hear every excuse in the book so that I would let them in through my doors. Some excuses were as extreme as “my child is in there alone” or “I left my cell phone inside.”

I would not budge with any of the customers that were coming my way, and they all became very angry and even began to swear at me, calling me every name in the book and even going as far as throwing punches at me, leaving no choice but to call security and have them escorted off of the premises.

As each curse word was thrown my way and more threats were made, the angrier I became, and eventually, I decided to be rude back to those who decided not to treat me with respect.

Let me remind you this is all happening within the first hour of my shift. The sale for the store had not started yet.

It finally hit six o’clock, and we opened the doors and people came rushing into the store, becoming something we could not control. Everyone was shoving each other and knocking each other down, trying to get a spot in line for items that were not guaranteed to be there.

It seemed like the purge was happening in my store. With the amount of people yelling and just being trampled on, it was something you always see vines about all over the Internet.

One item I was shocked to see people fight so much over was the Tupperware that was only $7.

Those stupid Tupperware containers were a hot item that people just demolished the pallet for.

From a distance, I began to see a real live tug of war match between customers over, let me remind you, Tupperware, not a TV or Xbox, but Tupperware.

Watching my store manager go through her first Black Friday at a Wal-Mart itself was pure entertainment, as she was just standing in awe with her jaw wide open, not believing what she was seeing happening before her own eyes.

She did not want to believe all of our crazy experiences through the years and vowed that this time it would be different and that we would be prepared.

Once the customers retrieved all of their items, they all headed for the exits at once.

This was the area I had to be at to check every single receipt, verifying each item in the cart was purchased and not trying to be stolen, which was a struggle in itself.

People began to grow irritated and started to use their shopping carts as bumper cars to make their way through the exits, forcing me to call for reinforcements to get the exits running smoothly.

This year was by far my best Black Friday because my store was only busy for the first three hours of the event.

We were able to still have our regular business hours and shut the store down at midnight, but it was still a huge struggle to get the store cleaned to make it look as though the night before had never happened.

So please shoppers, at least think about all of us who are away from our families and missing out on a feast as we get stuck eating the frozen pizza rolls for our Thanksgiving dinner.

I’m hoping soon that Black Friday will become a thing of the past and all of the amazing savings will start to become cyber-based, because for the past three years, I have not been able to spend time with my family during the holidays.