Working on Black Friday

Black Friday has become a priority to many people during Thanksgiving weekend. It is hard to call it Black Friday anymore since most stores open on Thursday evening. There have been many instances over the years involving injuries to these dedicated shoppers trying to get ahold of the best deals. People think of how crazy it is to be out shopping this weekend, but sometimes forget that it is even crazier for the workers at these stores. I for one, a cashier at Kohl’s, still live to tell the tale of surviving my shift on Black Friday morning.

My Thursday was like many other average American Thanksgivings. I spent my evening with my grandparents and cousins catching up on each other’s lives and eating more food than we thought our stomachs could handle. Normally my family’s Thanksgiving carries over into the late evening, but unfortunately I had to make my way back home to get some sleep. By 10, I was at home in my bed with an alarm set for 12:30 a.m. dreading my early morning shift.

I was woken up by my loud radio, and feeling absolutely exhausted. I dragged myself out of bed and began getting ready for work. I could already tell staying awake was going to be a struggle.

As I pulled into the parking lot of the Muskego Kohl’s, there weren’t many cars in the parking lot. That was a good first sign. I had hoped taking a shift from 2-10 a.m. would be less busy.

I made my way to the entrance and immediately noticed all of my fellow associates were wearing red. I quickly asked one of my managers if there was a red shirt memo that I had missed. Yes, I was supposed to wear red and I wore blue. This shift was not off to a good start.

All of the Kohl’s associates that started at 2 were to meet in the break room before starting their shift. We were told to move customers quickly through the checkout line and don’t offer customers to sign up for our rewards cards, because there wouldn’t be time for that. We were also reminded to always be kind and respectful because there would be many crabby customers. My manager was speaking as if we were all going into battle.

Once making our way to the registers, I was confused. Where were all the customers? There was barely anyone shopping at the store. There was an associate on each register just waiting for some customers to be ready to check out. I asked if it had been busy but apparently it had cleared out around midnight, since the store had opened at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

I never thought I would be bored working on Black Friday, but I was. I stood at my register, trying to keep my eyes open, and just hoping for some customers to come check-out to keep my busy. I thought I was going to tip over I was so tired.

By about 7 a.m. things started to pick up a little bit. More customers began flowing in and the next shift of workers came with. By that point I had someone helping me at my register, giving me someone to talk to, and customers ready to check-out their purchases. This helped time go by much faster.

I was very concerned about rude and impatient customers, but that wasn’t an issue for me. All the shoppers were very kind and patient and friendly to talk with. Maybe it was the Christmas spirit that brought out a nice side to these shoppers.

Before I knew it, it was 10 a.m. and by that point the Muskego Kohl’s was bustling with Christmas shoppers. The parking lot was filling up fast and the line was beginning to form around the store. I was leaving at just the right time.

Although waking up in the middle of the night was a struggle, and trying to stay awake was not fun, at least I wasn’t around for the main rush of customers. Black Friday wasn’t as insane as I thought, and if I ever have to work that day again, at least I know what to expect.