Tomorrow marks my third consecutive year of working at the toy shop on Black Friday. Having survived Black Friday in retail twice, I consider myself a bit of an expert on the subject. If you’re a Black Friday virgin, new to retail or if the idea of people swarming your store’s entrance before sunrise makes you break out in a cold sweat, then this post is for you!
NFred’s Top Tips For Working Retail On Black Friday
1. The most important thing you can do to prepare for working on Black Friday happens on Black Friday Eve. Before you go to bed, ask yourself, “is there any alcohol in my home?” If the answer is no, you best run to the Liquor Store! Trust me, you’ll need something boozy in your system the instant you enter your domicile after your shift is done. Beer, wine, vodka, tequila, it doesn’t matter what you choose, as long as there’s LOTS.
2. The moment you wake up on Black Friday, begin your caffeine consumption. I can not stress enough how important it is to keep your caffeine level dangerously high throughout the day. If you’re vibrating, you’re good. Whatever you do, don’t let yourself fall victim to a caffeine crash. There’s no time to be tired on Black Friday, dammit! Make sure to have an ample supply of caffeine laden drinks in your staff room. You will need them more than oxygen.
3. What you chose to wear for your Black Friday shift is crucial. It may be November and chilly outside, but dress like it’s August in the desert. Your store is going to be full of people and hotter than hell. You’ll be sweating more than Richard Simmons leading an aerobics class in the eighties. If possible, wear a short sleeve shirt and light pants. Tomorrow is not the day to don your new wool sweater or extra cozy flannel shirt. You will melt.
4. Make sure you pack a lunch for Black Friday. Unless you’re The Flash, there’s no way you could zip over to the food court, grab a bite to eat and be back to your store before your half hour break is over. I estimate that there will be at least a quadrillion shoppers out in the malls tomorrow and most will congregate wherever food is sold. The line ups will be insane and I personally don’t want to spend my entire break among the cranky and the hungry. So pack a lunch and a plethora of snacks. My Black Friday Diet Plan will include selections from the chocolate, candy, cake and chip food groups. I feel like a solid amount of junk food will help balance out all of the caffeine in my system. And my dining location? A cozy little nook in the back of my store’s stockroom where I can hide from all of the chaos.
5. Black Friday customers are not your average shoppers. They’re like zombies who feed on bargains instead of brains. They want deals and they want them NOW. They get so drunk on discounts that they often forget how basic human conversation works. Expect to be interrupted, waved over, barked at and my personal favourite, summoned over by aggressive finger snapping. Customers will demand to know what’s on sale and complain about items that are regular priced. This will be ninety-five percent of your customer interactions. So how does one deal with all of the rudeness and lack of manners? Channel your inner Taylor Swift and SHAKE. IT. OFF. When a customer is being particularly horrible to me, I like to remind myself that they must be a very sad and lonely person. If treating me like shit and ruining my day is the only thing that makes them feel good about their crappy little life, well kudos to them for being an asshat. Don’t let negativity ruin your day! Don’t sink to their level! And if all else fails, retreat into your store’s backroom, close the door, go into the corner and SWEAR to your heart’s content. Take a few deep breaths, pound some chocolate and head back out into the trenches with your head held high.
6. My most important tip for working retail on Black Friday is to support your coworkers. Lean on them! Encourage them! Love them! They know EXACTLY what you’re going through. If they’re dealing with a difficult customer, help them out! If you see them yawning, share your caffeine stash! If they need to vent, lend them your ear! Your coworkers will keep you sane during all of the madness.
I hope my top tips will prove useful for all of my brave retail brothers and sisters who are working tomorrow.
I wish you all a happy Black Friday and may the odds be ever in your favour!I
Until we meet again,
P.S. If you don’t work in retail and plan on doing some shopping tomorrow, I strongly suggest that you read this first. It’s by one of my favourite bloggers…