13 Black Friday Horror Stories Straight from Retail Employees
We know Black Friday tends to cause madness, but these horrific tales really take the cake.
It's that time of the year again. The time for family, feasting, and fighting over a really great deal on a new TV. That's right, what would the holidays be without Black Friday? The day after Thanksgiving is the biggest day of sales at retailers across the country. And where there's money to be saved, there's also a dark side of people that'll make your jaw drop. To get a sense of just how out of control customers get, we gathered testimonies from retail workers about the most shocking things they've seen from customers on the biggest shopping day of the year. Read on for some seriously mind-blowing Black Friday horror stories.
The mom who let her kid use the GameStop floor as a restroom
What do you do when you've been waiting for a sale for hours but your kid needs to use the bathroom? Well, one customer made an unsavory choice at a GameStop, leaving the store manager to deal with the repercussions. "Kid pooped on our floor because his mom didn't want to leave and have to stand in line again," wrote an anonymous Reddit user.
The woman who called the police over a sold-out TV
Black Friday inevitably involves disappointment. And when you don't get the item you want, who are you going to call? One woman apparently thought the police were the right choice!
"We had a lady call the police on our store because we sold out of a TV," wrote another Reddit user "I really wish I was lying… they came, too."
The woman who bit a cop over a Tickle Me Elmo
In some cases, the police are, as it turns out, definitely the right choice. As the following story proves, Black Friday shoppers can get violent!
"My dad was a police officer when the toy of the year was Tickle Me Elmo," recalled Redditor @jennyanydots711. "He responded to a call at Walmart or Target (I can't remember which one exactly) about two women beating each other up over one. When he went to break up the fight, one of the women bit his arm so hard that she actually spit some of his skin and blood out onto the floor. He had to get his blood tested every six months for two years after the incident to make sure he didn't get any diseases from her."
The woman who tackled and punched store employees for a Furby
In addition to Tickle Me Elmo, one of the most notoriously competitive gifts in the 1990s was the Furby, an owl-meets-alien creature that spoke "Furbish" and moved its own mouth, eyes, and ears. And one toy store employee will never forget the madness—and violence—those furry little robots brought out in shoppers.
"We were instructed to pass out numbers rather than the actual toys to the first nine customers in line," recalled Reddit user @CharistineE. "When we opened our doors, it was pretty organized because we had set up lines and it was also a high-end neighborhood. I gave the first person their number and then all of a sudden, I am tackled from behind. This woman slammed into me and knocked me to the floor and ripped the tickets out of my hand, breaking two of my fingers."
As the employee got their finger repaired, they took comfort knowing that the shopper who had pummeled them would be going home empty handed. "The store refused to give her a Furby and tried to detain her until the cops showed up, but she decked our manager and walked out!"
The man who threw a chair at employees because of an iPad
Best Buy employee and Redditor @preternaturous worked on Black Friday in the early 2010s and has a story to prove it. "A gentleman grabbed one of the chairs from the Geek Squad counter and threw it at my coworker, because my coworker informed the man that we sold out of the iPad 2 four to five hours prior," he wrote. "It was the worst 15-hour shift I've ever had to work; the blackest of Fridays."
The label-maker feud to end all feuds
It's not always HD TVs, tablets, and gaming units that set off Black Friday shoppers. "At Staples, I watched two grown men get into a brawling fist fight over a $30 label maker," wrote Redditor @awsnapitsrachel. "It wasn't even the last one."
The Southern belle with a filthy mouth and an aversion to lines
"I work at the largest lingerie retailer in the country," wrote Redditor @kittykatie0629 in 2017. "We had a security guard last night for the beginning of Black Friday. A Southern belle mother decided she didn't want to wait in a 50-person line and was going to cut."
As you can imagine, that kind of behavior did not go over too well with the crowd, or the retailers. "Our security guard asked her multiple times to step to the back of the line or leave," the Redditor wrote. "She proceeded to ream him with every curse word in the book. … This will be my last holiday in retail."
The gamer who incited an angry mob
Black Friday is tough enough when workers have to unlock the doors and let in the crowd already waiting in the early morning hours. But what if you had to prepare for the big day at Walmart while the crowd gathered?
"Because Walmart keeps the store open unlike, say, Target or other stores, we are setting up the merchandise right in front of the customers," wrote Reddit user @LikeMike2224. "It's literally like setting up a buffet in front of hungry bears or something."
And once the products are set out, things can get messy. "When it came time to release the video games, a guy literally jumped over the crowd of people and into the game display, knocking it over," he recalled. "Games went everywhere and it turned into a mob trying to get the games. No one was hurt except for the guy and a couple of COD games."
The guy who army-crawled his way to a microwave
It's not just the violence and aggression that cause chaos on Black Friday; it's the shameless behavior of shoppers who will do whatever it takes for the item they have their heart set on.
"On Black Friday at ASDA (the U.K. version of Walmart) there were these microwaves that were like 70 percent off, but the store was so busy, you couldn't move," wrote Reddit user @VeryLazyLewis. "There were empty shelves all along the aisle up to where these microwaves were and a guy laid down, army crawled along the shelves, grabbed a microwave, and army crawled back with it."
The man who choked a manager over "false advertising"
Black Friday is hard enough to manage when customers know what sales are being offered. But it's even harder when shoppers don't really understand the store's deals. One Old Navy worker described such a situation—and the meltdown that ensued.
"We would usually have several items on a table, but only one would be on sale," wrote Reddit user @CeeDeee2. "It was clear though, there would be like T-shirts, skirts, and sweaters and the sign would say 'T-shirts $5.'" Well, when one customer learned everything on the table wasn't on sale, he "started flipping out about false advertising," the employee recalled. "We wore lanyards and he grabbed my manager's lanyard and started choking her."
The woman who accused an employee of making her sick
Obviously, Black Friday can be a stressful start to the weekend, even for veteran retail employees. But how about if it's your first day on the job? That was the case for one rookie employee who started at Best Buy on the Super Bowl of shopping days.
"I was controlling part of the line since I had zero training to do anything else," wrote Redditor @mammajrocks. "I had a lady saying she was going to faint … I knew she was lying and called my manager over so he could talk to her. He said, 'Ma'am, they told me you were in need of medical assistance, I've got an ambulance on the way.' She freaked out, yelling at my manager about the line being too long and how it was his fault she was feeling sick. She looked at me and said, 'This is all your fault … If you would have just let me cut the line, we'd be out of this mess.'" The new employee's manager told the woman to leave and if she didn't, he would call the cops. Soon enough, she did.
The SKU swapper who deeply discounted a TV
Sometimes even the amazing deals of Black Friday aren't enough for shoppers, so they boldly take matters into their own hands.
"A guy came through my check lane as usual with a huge TV," wrote Redditor @Shamyeh, who knew the item cost anywhere from $300 to $500. "After I scanned it, I looked at my screen and it showed up as $20. I told him there is no way this TV is $20. He was insisting it was," the Redditor continued. "Upon closer inspection, the name of the item on my computer screen was definitely not a Samsung TV. So I looked at the barcode and noticed it was taped on!"
The employee called security and the customer was brought into a back room for questioning. "I hope that guy is happy, he got me a free pie for finding him out!"
The man who fell on purpose so he could sue for big Black Friday bucks
As unhinged as Black Friday shoppers can be, generally you'd like to assume they won't resort to purposely harming themselves to save a few bucks. But one shopper did exactly that, according to an anonymous Redditor.
"A guy came for our Black Friday sale not to buy stuff but to sue us. He intentionally [spilled] food on the floor and walked back over to slip on it," they person wrote. "He gave himself a concussion and started throwing up. He tried to sue until we showed his lawyer the video."